Superintendent Ward Master, Section Leader (St. John's Ambulance Brigade), Transport Duties
John was born on 6th October 1867 in Hayton, Cumberland (now Cumbria). His parents were William Harding and Isabella Harding nee Irving. He was the second youngest of at least three children, his older siblings being Thomas (born c.1856) and Mary (born c.1858), and younger brother William born in 1873.
In 1871 the family lived at Shaw House in Hayton, where William was a farmer of four acres, with oldest son Thomas working as a farm servant.
The farm grew over the next ten years, with the 1881 census documenting Shaw House as being six acres. Thomas and Mary had left the family home by then.
By 1891 John had moved to Keighley. Like many of our VAD men from elsewhere in the country, he was working as a railway signalman. He was boarding with a family called Beckwith at 98 Lawkholme Lane.
On 11th February 1896 John married Hannas Hewitt at St. Michael and All Angels Church in Haworth who was from Kirby Stephen in Westmoreland, and on 3rd August that year they had a daughter, Edith.
At the time of the 1901 census they lived at 9 Neville Street in Keighley.
They were still at this address in 1911. John was still a railway signalman. Edith was working as a shirt and blouse maker.
John worked as a VAD from May 1915. He was a member of the St. John's Ambulance Brigade and was a Superintendent Ward Master at Spencer Street Auxiliary Hospital and Morton Banks War Hospital for an hour per day, as well as being in charge of the ambulance van, transport duties and loading at the railway station. He was on call during the night and day.
Electoral registers show the family living at 4 Bronte Street for several years, though by the time of the 1939 Register they had moved to 32 Hospital Road in Riddlesden. John had retired by then. Edith had married a tailor named John Wilson in 1920 but was widowed in 1938 and she had returned to live with John and Hannas. She was working as a worsted cloth weaver.
Hannas died in 1941 in Keighley, and Edith died in 1948. John died during the second quarter of 1952 aged 84/85.
England and Wales, Civil Registration Birth Index, 1837-1915
1871 England Census
1881 England Census
1891 England Census
1901 England Census
1911 England Census
West Yorkshire, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1813-1935
West Yorkshire, England, Electoral Registers, 1840-1962
1939 England and Wales Register
England and Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1916-2007