Private 19612 William Joseph Rickward

Rickward William 96 401x500Rickward William Joseph 96 400x527

Died of Wounds Gallipoli on Thursday, 15th July 1915, age 22.
Buried in Grave C. 141. 'Special Memorial' at Twelve Tree Copse Cemetery, Turkey.

9th Bn., Worcestershire Regiment. 39th Brigade of 13th Division.

Son of Mr and Mrs Rickward, of 16 Alexandra Road, Tipton, Staffs.
Born: Tipton, Enlisted: Dudley, Resident: Tipton.

First landed Balkans, 4th July 1915.
Medal entitlement: 1914-15 Star, 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/603487/

Genealogical Data

1901 Census
Blakedown, Worcs.
William Rickward (37, Axle Smith, born Hall Street, Tipton), his wife Nellie (29, born Killarney, Kerry), and their 3 children: Frederick (10, born Limerick), William Joseph (8, born Tipton), and Emily (3, born Blakedown).

1911 Census
Blakedown, Worcs.
William Rickward (48, Chimney Sweep, born Hall Street, Tipton), his wife Nellie (38, born Upper Glosha, Kerry), and their 4 surviving children of 8: Frederick (20, Labourer at Ironworks, born Co. Limerick), William Joseph (18, Moulder, born Hall Street, Tipton), Emily Gertrude (13, School, born Blakedown), and Charlotte (1, born Blakedown).

Personal Data

Grave photograph courtesy Steve and Margaret Moore, 2014.

Action resulting in his death

The 9th Battalion Worcesters were formed in August 1914, as part of the newly formed 13th (Western) Division. They first assembled at Tidworth, then to Basingstoke, and finally to Blackdown in Hampshire.

In mid-June the Division left for Alexandria which was presumably where William landed on 4th July 1915. They then moved to Mudros, and on to their landing at "V" Beach, Gallipoli, on the 13th July 1915. They went into the trenches at Gully Ravine on 14th July alongside the 2nd Hampshires to receive instruction on trench life.

It would have been here that William Rickward was hit in the stomach by a bullet on 15th July, resulting in his death. Although other men of the 9th Worcesters had died in service, William appears to have been the first man of the 9th Worcesters to be killed in action. It is likely he was buried at Geoghegan's Bluff which contained 925 graves associated with fighting at Gully Ravine in June-July 1915, before being re-interred at Twelve Tree Copse Cemetery after the Armistice.

Newspaper Cuttings

Tipton Herald August 7 1915
Mr and Mrs Rickward of 16 Alexandra Road, Tipton, have had the misfortune to lose two sons during the short period of 14 months. They have just had intimation from the War Office that their son, William Joseph Rickward, aged 22, has been killed while serving with the British Expeditionary Force in the Mediterranean. He had formerly worked at the Oldbury Carriage Works, and joined the 9th Worcestershire Regiment as recently as November 23rd last, and was killed about the middle of July.
The parents received the following letter from Lieutenant F.J. Beard writing on the 16th July:
"Dear Sir, I am very sorry to have to record your son's death, which will be a great loss to my platoon. He was one of my best men. Although he joined us rather later than most of the men, and was very unlucky to have such a long time in the hospital (he had pneumonia), he more than made up for it by his extra readiness during our period of training. He was killed by a shot through the stomach, a very unlucky part to get hit. You will be glad to hear that he seemed to feel no pain, death being almost instantaneous."
The deceased, his parents, brothers and sisters came from Blakedown a few years ago and settled in Tipton. Little more than a year ago, a brother, who worked for the G.W.R. Company, met a distressing death. The parents now only have a little boy, aged 3 and a half to remind them of the trio of sons they were once blessed with.
The mother has received the following letter from Company Quartermaster Sergeant T.H. Clee, a Tipton man:
"Dear Madam, I am very sorry to have to report to you the death of your son. He was killed on the second morning that we were in the trenches. He was very cheerful and seemed happy enough before he was killed, as was joking only just before he was shot. You may be glad to hear that his section commander had recommended him for Lance-Corporal that same morning. If I live to return I will let you know as my cousin lives in Alexandra Road. All your son's comrades send their deepest sympathy in your sad bereavement."

Tipton Herald August 28 1915
Official intimation has been received by Mr and Mrs Rickward of 16 Alexandra Road, Tipton, of the death in the Dardanelles of Corporal William Joseph Rickward, (22), 9th Worcesters, who joined the colours as recently as November 23rd last.
The family belong to Blakedown, and 12 months ago another son had the misfortune to meet with a distressing death following a railway accident.

Tipton Herald July 22 1916
In loving memory of Corporal Rickward, second grandson of Mrs Paskin (Hall Street, Tipton), killed in action July 15th 1915. His duty done.
"He gave his life that his friends might live."
He bravely died and he will rest in peace.