Tribute to a Hero
The Life and Loss of Major Paul Harding MiD at Basra
by Paula Harding, Garry McCarthy
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Pub Date 30 Nov 2022 | Archive Date 09 Nov 2022
Pen & Sword, Pen & Sword Military
When a senior army officer is killed in action holding off an enemy attack threatening to overrun his outpost, the confidence of his comrades is rocked. Accolades of courage and eulogies flow freely from politicians and Generals alike. For the briefest of moments, a devastated nation pauses to pay homage to a fallen hero. Fellow countrymen marvel at the heroic endeavours, patriotism courses through everyone’s veins, then all too swiftly life moves on. But for the young family, the fight has just begun.
This powerful story is as inspirational as it is humbling. Major Paul Harding was the most senior officer to be killed in action during the Iraq campaign. A legend of his time with over 30 years service, people like him are not meant to die in combat. His death shocked every soldier under his command and was felt by three decades of army veterans. Caught in the centre of this tragedy, the family courageously battle to come to terms with their grief and fill the void of a talented father and great warrior.
Heart-breaking and awe-inspiring in equal measure, the story recounts the immediate aftermath of Major Harding's death and the incredible journey of his family as they navigate their way through the pain of an unwanted new normal. This intimate account of modern war is like no other. Written by his widow and a junior subordinate, it details the life before, and after the heart-wrenching moments when Major Harding’s family are told that, the fiercest of battles in Iraq had claimed his life. This first-hand account includes the gargantuan effort to steady the family's resolve and help them rebuild a life torn apart by conflict and the fifteen year journey to contentment.