Gunner 154295 Edward Harold Richards

Richards Edward Harold 96 436x600

Killed in Action on Monday, 27th May 1918, age 40.
Buried in Grave II. F. 1. at Warloy-Baillon Communal Cemetery Extension, Somme, France.

Royal Garrison Artillery, 2nd/1st Lancs.

Son of Edward and Hannah Richards, of Tipton, Staffs; husband of Ada Louise Richards, of Barrow Hill House, Franche, Kidderminster, Worcs.
Born: Tipton, Enlisted: Tipton, Resident: Unknown.

First landed France & Flanders, post 31st December 1915.
Medal entitlement: British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Commemorated on the Tipton Library Memorial.
Commemorated here because he appears on a Tipton memorial.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/74954/

Genealogical Data

Birth of Edward Harold Richards registered December quarter 1877 in Dudley.

1901 Census
12 Park Lane West, Tipton, Staffs.
Edward Richards (48, Clerk with Tipton School Board, born Tipton), his wife Hannah (47, born Tipton), and their 2 children: Edward H. (23, Commercial Clerk, born Tipton), and Horace W. (21, Commercial Clerk, born Tipton).

Marriage of Edward Harold Richards and Ada Louise Bates registered September quarter 1904 in Dudley.

1911 Census
23 Castle Road, Tipton, Staffs.
Edward Harold Richards (33, Clerk to Iron Founder, born Tipton), his wife Ada Louise (31, born Coseley), and their son: Thomas Harold (2, born Tipton).

Personal Data

After Edward's death, his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £9/16/2d (9 pounds, 16 shillings and 2 pence); this was paid to his widow and executrix, Ada L., in October 1918. His War Gratuity was £4/0/0d (4 pounds exactly), this was also paid to Ada in December 1919. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that Edward had enlisted in approxiamtely April 1917.

Action resulting in his death

The 2nd/1st Lancs were the 2nd Battery of the Lancashire Heavy Brigade, Royal Garrison Artillery, originally based in Liverpool. This was a second-line Territorial unit, created to allow the original Territorial unit (the 1st/1st) to serve abroad.

Royal Garrison Artillery units are more difficult to research as in some cases they were attached at a higher level in the army hierarchy, often at Corps or Army level. Their movement and action are often difficult to determine.

In May 1917 they were in action at the Battle of Arras, and in November 1917 at the Battle of Cambrai. By March 1918 they had moved to the Somme area where the initial thrust if the German Spring Offensive was felt, they were in the Albert and Puchevillers areas.

In April they appear to be in the Warloy-Baillon area (5 miles west of Albert), as 2 men of the 2/1st Lancs were killed and buried there. In May they seem to be in the same area, as Gunner Edward Richards was killed in action on 27th May and is also buried in the Warloy-Baillon Communal Cemetery Extension.

By 27th May, the German Spring Offensive had long since subsided in the Somme area, but the area was rarely quiet. It is possible that Edward’s death resulted from German counter-battery fire, aiming to neutralise our artillery units.

Newspaper Cuttings

Tipton Herald June 8 1918
Gunner Harold Richards R.F.A., elder son of Mr Edward Richards (former Secretary of the Tipton Education Committee), has been killed during the course of the great German offensive. The younger son, Mr Horace Richards is also in France. The deceased gunner was for many years in the employ of Messrs Chatwin Ltd., and leaves a wife and little son to mourn his loss.