Nicholas Hardinge, who died on 16 July 1984, followed in his father’s footsteps when, on leaving Harrow, he joined the 7th Hussars on a short service commission at Barnard Castle in 1948.
The Regiment, following the war and a long period of overseas service, was much depleted. However, Nicholas, with the other newly-joined subalterns entered with enthusiasm into the training of the various Yeomanry Regiments to which the 7th Hussars were hosts. His excellent company and sporting accomplishments were immediately appreciated both by his fellow officers and in the Zetland Country.
Much of the subalterns’ spare time at Barnard Castle was spent exercising their dogs and extracting food for them from the Regimental cookhouse. This latter task was made much harder after Nicholas’s famous lurcher, Paddy, killed the Cook Sergeant’s cat.
It was when the Regiment moved to Luneberg that Nicholas really blossomed. With Marcus Fox as a forceful ‘A’ Squadron Leader, Nicholas was an outstanding Troop Leader. Greatly loved for his flair and compassion by his troop, he showed considerable ability and initiative in the long periods of field training that the Regiment undertook. The Mess at Luneburg, presided over by Colonel Bill Rankin, was indeed a happy place for, apart from first-rate military training, sport abounded.
Nicholas was blessed with a good eye he was an excellent shot, a good Regimental cricketer and a fine tennis player. The shooting expeditions around Luneburg and on the North Sea coast after duck and geese were perhaps his happiest days. He made many friends among the German farmers and with a nondescript pointer called Asser, purchased from a Sergeant Major, spent many memorable days pursuing deer, hares and partridges.
Like many of his contemporaries and knowing nothing about it, he took up polo and we all went twice a week to play at Munsterlager. Nicholas ended up playing for the Regiment. He also enjoyed hunting with the RA hounds at Verdin. Falls did not deter him. His tour of extra Regimental Duty as ADC to General Sir Charles (‘Splosh’) Jones, was also a great success and proved him a capable administrator. This was confirmed when on leaving the Army he rose rapidly to the highest echelons of the Royal Bank of Canada.
But Nicholas will always be remembered first and foremost by his friends as a Regimental soldier and brilliant troop leader.
He was a friend who made days whether spent in a tank on Luneburg Heath or out in the country with a gun and a dog – that much more fun than they would otherwise have been in his absence.
The presence of so many 7th Hussars at his Memorial Service twenty-five years on from his regimental days is proof that his memory will not be forgotten. To his family all, I know, will join in sending their sympathy at this untimely loss.