HARBORD, The Rev.Frank Robert

Chaplain 4th Class, Frank Robert HARBORD
Aged 49

Queen's South Africa medal with clasps for Orange Free State - Transvaal
King's South Africa medal clasps for 1901 and 1902

Army Chaplains Department - attached 25th Division Chaplain's Division,
Died of his Wounds on Wednesday, 8th August 1917

Frank Robert HARBORD was born in 1867 in Norwich, (Norwich Q4 4B-153), son of William Engledow and Mary HARBORD (née SOUTHGATE). His father was Norwich born, a District Manager of a Life Assurance Association

1871 census...Aged 3, he was at Dereham Road, Heigham with his mother Mary HARBORD [45], born Norwich; brothers Joshua William [18] a clerk born London, Arthur L [17] scholar born Norwich and Ernest J [11] born Northampton; sisters Adeline M [15], Rosa H [14], Edith C [13], Alice P [7] and Gertrude C [6]. All the girls were born in Norwich. His mother died 8th August,1877.

1881 census...None of the family have been identified in this census

1891 census...He seems to have been in South Africa.
He was made a Deacon in 1890 and Priest in 1893 by the Bishop of Bloemfontein. He then held various appointments in the Orange River Colony. Acting Chaplain to the Forces in the Boer War, 1900-02. On the Clergy List of 1897 he was a Minister at Springfontein, South Africa.

1901 census...He was in South Africa where he took Holy Orders and became an Army Chaplain. His father died 20th September, 1910. He married Edith Clara FIELD in Western Cape, South Africa on 6th June 1906

Returning to United Kingdom he was Curate of Yorktown and Camberley 1909.10, Pershore 1910-12, Vicar of Dunchurch from 1912.

1911 census...Aged 43 he was at Southern House, Pershore Holy Cross, Worcs with his wife Edith Clara [35] born Nelson, New Zealand. 1912 Kelly's has him at "Southern House", Broad Street, Pershore. His legatee was recorded as his widow, Edith Clara HARBORD. He was later Vicar at Dunchurch, Rugby where he is commemorated in his former parish church. A plaque commemorates his service in the South African war and a magnificent stained glass window was paid for by his wife in memory of his WW1 service (below), photos courtesy Steve Knox

The Birmingham Daily Post recorded on 18th August 1917

We have received from the Bishop of Worcester the following in reference to the Rev. Frank Roland (sic) Harbord, Chaplain to the Forces, who has been killed in Flanders:-
"In 1912 I selected Harbord, then curate of Pershore, to be Vicar of Dunchurch. He had served two years as Chaplain in the Boer War, and was indeed of the African Church, having been ordained at Bloemfontein in 1900, but he was also a fine example of an English parochial priest. When the present war broke out he felt his call to go, and it could not be withstood, so he was accepted a chaplain and went. In the recent advance in Flanders he had been on duty all day with his batteries, which had been heavily shelled, and had just returned, when he decided to go in front instead back with the wagons, so as to be near his men. In this act of comradeship he was hit by a shell and killed............."

The Leamington Spa Courier of 24th August 1917 reported

The Rev. F.R.Harbord, who succeeded the Rev. C.T.B.McNulty as Vicar of Dunchurch, was killed on August 8th while acting as Chaplain to the Forces in France. A shrapnel bullet, piercing his lung, placed him beyond human aid, and he was buried the following afternoon in a tiny military cemetery behind the "line".
The Rev. F.R.Harbord was a member of a well-known Suffolk family, being the youngest son of William Engledow Harbord, of Manor House, Sutton. He spent many years in South Africa and was instituted to the vicariate of Dunchurch in July 1912. In a letter to Mrs. Harbord an office of the R.A.M.C. writes: "How much we miss him I cannot say. We had known him since August of last year, and had lived with him and out here a constant friend for a year means a great deal............"

An obituary appeared in the Cheltenham Chronicle, Saturday 25th August 1917:
"Rev. Frank Robert Harbord who died of wounds on August 8, while serving with the R.F.A., was vicar of Dunchurch, near Rugby, and prior to that was curate of Pershore. He was 49 years of age, and was the youngest son of the late W. Engledow Harbord, of the Manor House, Sutton. He was preparing for Cambridge when he had a breakdown in health and was ordered to South Africa where he took Holy Orders. For many years he was stationed in the Orange Free State, and for two years was an acting chaplain with the forces in the Boer War. On the outbreak of the present war he volunteered for service but was not called up until August 1916, and had completed exactly a year of service abroad on the day of his death. He had just arranged for a further extension of leave from his parish, and in one of his last letters home wrote:- "I cannot leave the Army when the hardest fighting is to take place."

The New Zealand Nelson Provincial Museum hold papers connected with his stay in South Africa from 1899 to 1905. It appears that F.R. Harbord was the Acting Chaplain to Forces, based at Kronstadt, between October 1901 and January 1902. He was invalided to England on the hospital ship "Avoca". He returned to South Africa and was still there in July 1905, corresponding with Miss Field, "Highfield" Nelson.

The school roll of honour, giving regiments, confirms his school connections.

© IWM (HU 122850)... see here

8th August 1916 he was gazetted Temp.Chaplain 4th Class. There is a conflict in official documents regarding his death, whether killed outright by a shell fragment or later from wounds
His Army records do not place his death accurately

photo:Geerhard Joos

Rev. Frank Harbord is buried in Brandhoek New Military Cemetery , grave 5:A:1
and commemorated in several place, including the East wall of the Royal Garrison Church of All Saints in Aldershot, Hants, the Memorial to the Royal Army Chaplains Department.

click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details