Private 5833 Joseph Edwin Richards

Richards Joseph 96 429x600Richards Joseph 96 369x700
Grave photograph courtesy Derek and Maureen Ashton.

Died Gallipoli on Wednesday, 1st September 1915, age 24.
Buried in Grave B. VII. 1. at Pieta Military Cemetery, Malta.

1st Bn., Royal Munster Fusiliers. 86th Brigade of 29th Division.
Formerly 3130 Lancers of the Line.

Son of Simeon and Elizabeth Richards, of 19, The Inhedge, Dudley.
Born: Dudley Port, Enlisted: Nelson, Lancs., Resident: Dudley.

First landed Balkans, 11th July 1915.
Medal entitlement: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Commemorated on the Dudley Clock Tower Memorial.
Commemorated here because identified as Tipton on 'Soldiers Died in the Great War'.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/115775/

Genealogical Data

1901 Census
34 Vauxhall Street, Dudley, Worcs.
Simeon Richards (34, Insurance Agent, born Woodsetton), his wife Elizabeth (35, born Woodsetton), and their 3 children: Sarah E. (11, born Woodsetton), Joseph E. (9, born Woodsetton), and Simeon (5, born Tipton).

1911 Census
19 Inhedge, Dudley, Worcs.
Elizabeth Richards (46, Head, Boarding House Keeper, born Coseley), and 2 of her 3 surviving children of 4: Joseph E. (19, Tailer's Cutter, born Regent Street, Woodsetton), and Simeon (15, Clerk at Co-operative Society, born Horseley Road, Tipton).

Personal Data

Joseph Richards' connection to Tipton is tenuous; 'Soldier's Died in the Great War' records his place of birth as Dudley Port, but the 1911 Census shows his birth very specifically as Regent Street, Woodsetton. His parents were living in Dudley, but Joseph had moved to Nelson, Lancashire for a new job. It appears that Joseph was already a member of the Worcester Territorials, and at the outbreak of the war he became attached to the 12th Lancers before joining the Royal Munster Fusiliers.

Joseph's brother, Simeon, was killed in action on 27th August 1917 serving with the 1/7th Worcesters; he is buried in Tyne Cot Cemetery, near Ypres.

After Joseph's death, his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £3/18/10d (3 pounds, 18 shillings and 10 pence); this was paid to his mother and sole legatee, Elizabeth, in March 1916. His War Gratuity was £3/0/0d (3 pounds exactly), this was also paid to his mother in August 1919. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that Joseph had enlisted in the 12 months before his death.

Action resulting in his death

The 1st Munsters were part of 29th Division and had landed at Cape Helles, Gallipoli in April 1915. Joseph arrived as a reinforcement on 11th July 1915 having missed the early battles, but in time for the action at Chocolate Hill on 21st August.

Conditions in the Gallipoli peninsula were generally poor and disease was commonplace, and Joseph contracted dysentery. Joseph was evacuated back to Malta where there were significant medical facilities, he arrived at the Valetta Military Hospital. Joseph is shown as 'Died' on 1st September 1915, although the letter from the R.A.M.C. orderly suggests that he died on August 31st. Joseph is buried in the Pieta Military Cemetery, Malta.

Newspaper Cuttings

Dudley Herald September 25 1915
Information has been received of the death of Private Joseph Edwin Richards, a Dudley man belonging to the Royal Munster Fusiliers. For several years he was employed at Mr. Jesse Ainsbury's, High Street. He left there to take up a position in Nelson, Lancashire, and subsequently joined the 7th Battalion Worcestershire Territorials. At the outbreak of the war he became attached to the 12th Lancers, and transferred to the Royal Munster Fusiliers. He has also a younger brother with the British Expeditionary Force in France. He is in the 7th Worcesters.
A pathetic circumstance connected with Private Richards' death was the fact that he always carried with him a photograph of his mother, and it was by this that an R.A.M.C. man in the hospital was able to communicate with Mrs. Richards. On the back of the photograph were the words: "I always carry this with me, so that if I get "popped" I hope they will send it back to you.
The member of the R.A.M.C. mentioned above wrote to Mrs. Richards as follows: "It is with regret that I have to inform you that your son passed away on August 31st. He was admitted to the ward in my charge suffering from dysentery. When he was admitted he was seriously ill, and it was my duty to try and find his next of kin. I found the photograph, which I enclose, and when he died I remembered the request written on the photograph, so made it my business to send it to you."
Private Richards was a well-known member of the Dudley (King Street) Wesleyan Church. The following notification has been received by Mrs. Richards: "The King commands me to assure you of the true sympathy of His Majesty and the Queen in your sorrow. Kitchener."

Dudley Herald October 4 1915
RICHARDS.- Private Joseph Edwin Richards, Royal Munster Fusiliers, dearly beloved son of Mrs. E. Richards, The Inhedge; died August 31st 1915, from dysentery, at the Valetta Military Hospital, Malta; aged 24 years. Dearly mourned by his loving Mother, Brother and Sister.