An Introduction to

D.F. Harding

Foresight books - about-the-author

About D.F. Harding

David Harding has an MA degree in English Language and Literature from St Peter's College, Oxford. He served as an officer in 10th Princess Mary's Own Gurkha Rifles, also on attachment to The Queen's Regiment in Belfast, and in The Yorkshire Volunteers. Since 1978 he has worked as a non-fiction book editor in London, to support independent historical research and authorship.

In 1978–80 he edited and largely wrote Weapons: An International Encyclopaedia for the Diagram Group (360,000 copies sold to date, 25 editions in 15 languages).

In 1977–99 he researched, wrote and published Smallarms of the East India Company 1600–1856 (Foresight Books, 1997–99, 4 volumes), the first study of early smallarms to take a comprehensive approach, including not just a catalogue of the many patterns of weapon, but tackling also their design, procurement, inspection, ammunition and ballistics, and full coverage of the forces that used the weapons and how the men were trained to use them. It earned the highest praise from reviewers and won three unsolicited awards, including the prestigious Templer Medal of the Society for Army Historical Research, which is "awarded annually to the author of the book published during that year that has made the most significant contribution to the history of the British Army".

In 2012 he published Lead Shot of the English Civil War: A Radical Study, based on five years' research into lead shot found on a 1640s target practice site in Northamptonshire, and which changes our understanding both of smallarms projectiles and their tactical use in that conflict, and of the ballistics of muzzle-loaders and early breech-loaders in general. This book has recently been awarded The President's Cup of the Historical Breechloading Smallarms Association "For The Most Outstanding Contribution to Smallarms Research" in the past year.

In 2013 he published An Introduction to East India Company Smallarms c1775–1851, an abridged version of his main four-volume work, with over 500 photos, most of them taken specially and showing previously unpublished specimens. This work also serves as a way in to the longer work for readers new to the subject.

He has more than 50 years' experience of shooting, with many types of smallarm. In the Target Rifle discipline he shot for Yorkshire, Oxford University (two Half Blues) and the Territorial Army VIII. With the Service Rifle he shot for Oxford University (captain), 10th PMO Gurkha Rifles (captain), the Brigade of Gurkhas, the Regular Army VIII and the Territorial Army VIII. In 1978 he won Her Majesty The Queen's Medal for the Champion Shot of the Territorial Army, having been runner-up for the Regular Army Queen's Medal the year before. Since 1969 he has shot with antique muzzle-loading muskets and rifles for research.

He has also written many articles and lectured on numerous aspects of British military smallarms and ammunition and the British-Indian armies. He is a member of the Arms and Armour Society, the Historical Breech-Loading Smallarms Association and the Muzzle-Loaders' Association of Great Britain. He was formerly a Trustee of the Gurkha Museum, Regimental Archivist to 10th PMO Gurkha Rifles, a Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society and a member of the now disbanded Gunpowder and Explosives History Group.