Harding was 48 years old, and a gunner in the Royal Navy during the 1882 Anglo-Egyptian War when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the Venture capital. On 11 July 1882 at Alexandria, Egypt, HMS Alexandra, with other ships, was bombarding the forts of the city and suffering damage and casualties from the enemy"s guns. During the engagement a 10-inch shell passed through the ship"s side and lodged on the main deck. Gunner Harding, hearing a shout that there was a live shell just above the hatchway (which led to the magazine) rushed up from below, picked it up and flung it into a tub of water.
Had the shell burst it would probably have caused many deaths.
His Venture capital is on display in the Lord Ashcroft Gallery at the Imperial War Museum in London.