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News > Christ College Archive > R D Wade Harley (School House 1930-1933)

R D Wade Harley (School House 1930-1933)

R D W Harley has been added to the Roll of Honour for the Second World War.
Wade Harley. At the Stile. c1933.
Wade Harley. At the Stile. c1933.


The Roll of Honour for this year's Remembrance Service will include one further name.

Richard Darwin Wade Harley joined Christ College at the age of 13 in 1930 from his home in Oxford. He joined School House where his brother, John Verriour Harley, had already been a boarder for a year. He doesn't seem to have been at the forefront of any sport or activity while at school but he was popular and known to be a "bright, debonair, irresponsible youngster, who seemed to radiate happiness and good fellowship on all occasions". In July 1933 he left to join his father and brother in the banking profession.

He enlisted into the army in October 1939 and became a gunner in the Royal Artillery. Early in 1940 he was sent to France with the BEF. Just a few months later, he was wounded during the evacuation at Dunkirk. Gunner Wade was one of more than 40,000 British soldiers who were unable to leave France in the evacuation of Dunkirk. Aged 22, he was captured and became a Prisoner of War. 

He was taken to Camp 344: Stalag 8b, the camp where he was to remain for the remainder of the war, and put to work in a coalmine at Jaworzno, one of the 600 or so working parties attached to Stalag 8b, just inside the Polish border. While working in the mine, Wade contracted tuberculosis. He was repatriated after the evacuation of Stalag 8b in January 1945.

Wade was able to return to work as a bank clerk, but he died in March 1948 at the age of 30 as a result of pulmonary tuberculosis known to have been contracted while a PoW. 

We honour Gunner Wade Harley for the sacrifice he made. Like Geoffrey Shapland (who died in 1924, and whose name was added to the Roll in 2015), his story is a reminder that war doesn’t end with an Armistice. Gunner R D W Harley also represents the many Old Breconians whose names may never appear on a Roll of Honour but whose lives were unutterably altered by their experience of war. 



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