THE ODDBALL HERO

JACK HARMAN VC

The extraordinary exploits of Jack Harman are charted by Steve Snelling

He was a self-styled misfit, the son of the millionaire ‘King of Lundy’, who helped turn the tide during the battle of Kohima.

Jack Harman was an enigma. On the face of it, he was obvious officer material: well-spoken, well-travelled and, to a degree, welleducated. He had the easy self-assurance associated with wealth and privilege, but had a strange otherworldly quality which, coupled with an unwillingness to conform to convention, made him appear something of a misfit in uniform.

Unpredictable and untidy, he was also thoroughly unreliable – until the shooting started, at which point the 29-year-old gentleman ranker had few equals. Major Donald Easten, his company commander in the 4th Battalion, the Queen’s Own Royal West Kent Regiment, considered him to be his best man, but even he struggled to make sense of him.

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