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Hardy trained at the École Militaire in Brussels, from where he deserted aged around 21 and fled to Edinburgh with his wife. He trained in botany and geography under Patrick Geddes and graduated from Edinburgh University in 1903. A variety of jobs followed. He was assistant in botany to Patrick Geddes at Dundee University College, studied at the Sorbonne, managed estates in Mexico and Panama and was tutor to an Indian Prince.
After World War I, Hardy returned to Britain and advised Lord Leverhulme on the prospects for commercial agriculture on the Isle of Lewis. In early 1920, he was nominated as one of the five representatives on the Reparations Commission, which had been set up to calculate the sums Germany must pay the allies, in recompense for the expenditure they had incurred in waging World War I. Hardy's task was to report into the state of German agriculture. Hardy subsequently settled in Berlin.
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