Thomas Hardy originally trained as a blacksmith. He then enlisted in the 1st Dragoon Guards where he served 10 years before purchasing his discharge. After that he joined the Birmingham City Police where he served 22 years.
On the 29th January 1872, PC Hardy left the home where he lived with his wife Eliza and went on night duty. She probably bade him farewell in the usual manner, completely unaware that this would be the last occasion she would be able to hold a normal conversation with him.
At PC Hardy's inquest, it was reported that the manageress of an ale and porter store, Mary Ann Bull, had felt the need to call for a policeman after a customer, Patrick Grady, became violent and abusive. PC Hardy subsequently entered and tried to talk Grady into leaving quietly as he knew the man. Grady refused to leave and continued creating a disturbance, so Hardy left to fetch assistance. Bull reported that Grady immediately followed him and she heard him say "I will let the old ____ know what I know about him".
PC Hardy was shortly after carried back into the premises insensible and with an injury to his nose and blood coming from his ear. A medical gentleman who was present stated he should go to the Queen's Hospital immediately so he was taken there. Grady did not return.
Another witness saw Hardy leave the stores, following by another man who pulled something out of his coat pocket and struck the constable with it. The policeman fell, the man ran away and the witness helped to carry PC Hardy inside.
Several persons said PC Hardy had been hit with a knuckleduster but this witness felt it might have been a hammer.
PC Hardy's wife Eliza visited him in hospital on the 30th January and he was reported to be very ill and delirious, failing to recognise her. He remained in hospital for about seven weeks at which point he was deemed recovered enough to go home. Eliza stated he never became rational, but grew gradually worse - being removed for the Borough Lunatic Asylum 23rd March 1872, where he died on 2nd April 1872. A verdict of manslaughter was delivered against Grady. Below shows the entry in the Lunacy Patients Admission Register for PC Hardy:
Lest we forget.
Sources: Birmingham Daily Post 8th April 1872
Ancestry - Lunacy Patients Admission Registers, 1846-1912