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Richard Richardson (1887-1915)

Stanley man served with the 10th DLI

Richard Richardson was born in Hutton Henry in 1887. His father was James Richardson, born in Cassop. His mother was Hannah Richardson, born in Middlesbrough. Richard’s parents married in 1875 and had a total of nine children together, with one of these children passing away in infancy.

At the time of the 1911 Census, Richard was still living at home with his parents, three brothers and sister in-law. Richard’s younger brother Adam had married, but still lived with his parents, along with his wife. The address of the house was 10 Lane Street, South Moor. At this time, Richard was working as a coal miner, along with every other male in the family.

On the outbreak of war Richard joined the 10th Battalion of the Durham Light Infantry, and served as a private in France until his death on 11 September 1915. He was awarded the 1914-15 Star for his service in France, as well as the Victory Medal and the British War Medal.

This article from the Auckland Chronicle on 9 September 1915 describes Richard Richardson’s war experience:

Pte. Richard Richardson’s Experience.
In a letter to his wife, Pte. Richard Richardson, of Stanley, a bomb thrower, attached to the 10th D.L.I, tells an interesting story of his life in the trenches. He says:
Three days after our arrival in camp, that was in the early morning of the 30th July, we were ordered to stand to in readiness to be rushed up to the line, so as to reinforce if necessary. The Germans were making a desperate attempt to break through. When we arrived at the line we found two brigades holding out gallantly, and simply defying all attempts of the Germans to break through, although they were rather weakened as regards number in doing so. The 43rd Brigade relieved and reinforced as far as they could, and took up the position against the enemy on Friday, 30 July. As soon as we arrived in the trenches terrific bombardment commenced from both sides, which did not quieten down until day break the next day.
Our Shells Three to One
It was rather rough I can assure you, yet it must have been terrible in the German lines. Our artillery was simply magnificent, I think they would just about send over three shells to every one of the Germans. It wasn’t a case of firing at random either, as the Germans must have discovered to their enormous cost. They were right on the mark, and proved magnificently their vast superiority over the German artillery. Their artillery bombarded pretty vigorously, yet our lads stuck it well. That constituted the first night’s developments, and although it was rather rough and trying it was nothing compared with the following night.
On this particular night the heavy bombardments from both sides commenced about six o’clock. This continued for an hour or two, at which time the Germans made an attack. I didn’t witness the attack, as our company along with another company of the 10th were in the support trenches, which I may say received the biggest majority of shells. However, we are told the Germans simply moved down by our artillery, aided by the grand work of the K.R.R’s and the Rifle Brigade, into whom the Germans ran unknowingly. They came on en masse, whilst our artillery unceremoniously rained shells into the midst of them.
Gallant Durham Lads
During this the German artillery shelled the Durhams, who were in support, very heavily indeed. It was simply grand the way Kitchener’s boys of County Durham upheld the fine fighting reputation of the Durhams. The stretcher bearers are certainly worthy of special praise. They worked like Trojans, and came through it with flying colours. They took practically no notice of the enemy’s shells while rescuing and attending the wounded. Kitchener’s armies are certainly giving the Kaiser a big shock. As far as I can learn all the Stanley lads came through all right. Coxon and I were together shortly after things had quietened down. First him and then Paddy McVay were seen by me all right. Harry Salkit and Mick Shayley, Sam Wheskers and Jack Platts all came safely through it. The rest of the Stanley boys I have not seen as yet, although I heard on good authority they are quite all right.
After the second night’s work we were sent back into the dug-outs in a wood where we are now awaiting relief.
‘When in actual fighting,’ continues Pte. Richardson, ‘the one thing that is most thought of is giving the Germans twice as much as they give us; but when one comes out of it and thinks about the thought that seems to strike right home is that Almighty God must severely punish heavily the persons who caused the shedding of so much blood’.
He adds that the officers have risen to the occasion, and by their brave action inspired courage in the men. Sergt.-Major Noble, of West Stanley, actually cracked jokes with the men whilst the earth was being practically rent asunder by violent explosions of shells’.

Civil Parish: Stanley

Birth date: 1887

Death date: 11-Sep-1915

Armed force/civilian: Army

Residence: 10 Jane Street, South Moor (1911 Census)

Employment: Coal Miner

Family: Father – James Richardson
Mother- Hannah Richardson
Brothers- James Richardson Jun, Adam Richardson, Joseph Richardson
Sister in-Law- Mimmee Richardson

Military service:

Enlisted in the 10th Battalion D.L.I as 19264 Private

Medal(s): 1914-15 Star, Victory Medal, British War Medal

Gender: Male

Contributed by Steven Fraser | Intern- Durham County Record Office

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