University of Oxford
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Memories of Hardwick Hall

online resource
posted on 2024-06-05, 19:24 authored by Their Finest Hour Project Team

Evelyn and Harry met in Derbyshire in Hardwick Hall, Chesterfield during the war.

Evelyn was born in Derby in 1920. Henry was born in Preston, Lancashire, in 1919.

They met in Chesterfield because the parachute regiment was based in Hardwick Hall. Henry joined the parachute regiment in 1943. He had signed up for the war in 1939 at the age of 19 years.

The 'individual report for Harry Leaming' records reports of his military service in various locations including Dunkirk, France (1940), and Faroes (1942-43). On his return from Faroes, he joined the parachute regiment in 1943. Among his medals for service issued by British Government are the 1939-43 Star, and the 1945 France and Germany Star.
At the end of the war in 1946, he was discharged as unfit for service because of disablement from wounds. He applied for assessment to no effect- because pension payments depend on the degree of assessed disability. He got wounded at some of the main points of the war, for example, in Dunkirk on D-Day. He was in the parachute regiment which had started only during the war. The contributor feels that he must have been tough and very brave as it involved guerrilla warfare behind the lines.

Evelyn joined Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS), the women's side of the army, in May 1939. She was a clerk and trained in Catterick, Yorkshire. Then she was based in Hardwick Hall where she met her future husband.

They were from different areas and would not have met if not for the war. The war ended in May 1945 and they got married in June. They went on to have four children.
According to Evelyn, Henry was a mess when he came back. He could not sleep with lights on and had to drink to calm himself sometimes. There were long-lasting effects.

Henry passed away in 1985 and Evelyn in 1992.


Item list and details

1. Individual report for Harry Leaming 2. Individual report for Evelyn Adcock Leaming 3. Portrait of the couple in uniform 4. Wartime photos of both parents in uniform 5. Henry's wartime certificate of education (1938) 6. Henry's parachute regiment cap badge 7. Evelyn's soldier service and paybook 8. Evelyn's national registration and identity card 9. Evelyn's ATS and VAD release book (1945) 10. Henry's war records from the army personnel center 11. Copy of marriage certificate (1945) 12. Telegrams of congratulations from fellow soldiers 13. Henry's personal appeal tribunal assessment (1949) 14. Henry's two-page final submission in the ongoing appeal process (1978)

Person the story/items relate to

Evelyn Adcock Henry"Harry" Leaning

Person who shared the story/items


Relationship between the subject of the story and its contributor

They are the contributor's parents.

Type of submission

Shared at National Sikh Museum, Derbyshire on 12 November 2023.

Record ID

117350 | NSM004