Private 9106 Richard Ward

Ward Richard 96 402x600

Died of Wounds on Monday, 15th May 1916, age 20.
Buried in Grave III. H. 1. at Abbeville Communal Cemetery, Somme, France.

2nd Bn., Worcestershire Regiment. 100th Brigade of 33rd Division.

Son of Mrs E. Ward, of 172, Watery Lane, Birmingham.
Born: Tipton, Enlisted: Birmingham, Resident: Birmingham.

First landed France & Flanders, 7th March 1915.
Medal entitlement: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives survived and transcribed.

Not commemorated on any Tipton 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/76421/

Genealogical Data

Birth of Richard Ward registered March quarter 1896 in Dudley.

1901 Census
7 Court 2 House, Lower Trinity Street, Aston, Birmingham.
William Ward (41, Range Fitter, born Birmingham), his wife Elizabeth (40, born Salford), and their 8 children: Alfred (16, Brass Stamper, born Birmingham), Ellen (14, Coffin Furniture Polisher, born Birmingham), Emily (12, born Birmingham), Fred (11, born Birmingham), Fanny (10, born Tipton), Richard (5, born Tipton), Charles (2, born Birmingham), and Harold (6 months, born Birmingham).

1911 Census
2 back of 7 Kingston Road, Small Heath, Birmingham.
William Ward (51, Range Maker, born Birmingham), his wife Elizabeth (50, born Salford), and 5 of their 8 children of 13: James Alfred (25, Brass Polisher, born Birmingham), Fanny Elizabeth (19, Screw Wormer, born Tipton), Richard (15, Brass Worker, born Tipton), Charles (12, School, born Birmingham), and Harold (10, School, born Birmingham).

Personal Data

Richard Ward attested to serve for 6 years with the Special Reserves of the Worcestershire Regiment on 3rd June 1914 at Birmingham. He was 18 years and 196 days old, 5 feet 3 inches tall with a 34-inch chest, and weighed 108 pounds - just less than 8 stones. He had grey eyes, brown hair, and his physical development noted as ‘fair’, he was Church of England and employed as a Carter.

Special Reservists started their service with 6 months full-time training, so it would seem that he would have been in training with the 5th Battalion when war was declared. He was mobilised on 8th August 1914.

Training was not all smooth sailing for Richard. On 19th November 1914 he was sentenced to 10 days detention for an unspecified offence, and on 29th December 1914 was sentenced to 10 days Field Punishment No.2 for “quitting his post when a sentry”.

On 7th March 1915, Richard landed in France and was posted to the 1st Battalion, Worcestershire Regiment. The 1st Battalion attacked at the Battle of Aubers Ridge on 9th May but it unlikely that he had joined his unit by that time. More likely he was one of 92 reinforcements who joined on 13th May when in billets at Laventie, replacing the losses from the Battle of Aubers Ridge.

The War Diary for 14th March records the Worcesters in billets at Laventie with 1 Man wounded, then on the next day they moved back into the line and 2 more Men wounded. Richard received a Gun Shot Wound in the thigh, probably on the latter date, and was treated at No. 25 Field Ambulance at Estaires on 15th March, then at No. 6 Casualty Clearing Station at Merville, before being transported back to England on Hospital Ship St. Patrick.

Richard returned to France on 2nd June, having been ‘Absent Without Leave’ from 30th April to 5th May. He was posted to the 2nd Battalion, Worcesters. Richard was wounded on 26th September 1915 when the Worcesters went into action on the second day of the Battle of Loos, near The Quarries. He received a Gun Shot Wound to the right arm, and was treated at the 2nd Canadian General Hospital before being sent back to England, and then treated at the County of London War Hospital at Epsom from 2nd to 29th October.

After Richard’s death, his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £3/18/8d (3 pounds, 18 shillings and 8 pence); this was paid to his father, William, in August 1916. His War Gratuity was £8/0/0d (8 pounds exactly), this was also paid to his father in September 1919. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that Victor had enlisted in approximately September 1914. Richard’s mother was awarded a Gratuity on 25th January 1917 (sum not recorded) but was not awarded a Dependant’s Pension.

Action resulting in his death

Richard again returned to France on 16th December 1915, re-joining the 2nd Battalion who were in the Bethune area holding the trenches on both sides of the La Bassée canal. German artillery and the explosion of German mines caused a number of casualties in January and February. Especially sad was the death of the Battalion Padre, Rev. J.R. Stewart who was killed by a shell whilst officiating at a burial service on 2nd January 1916 – probably at Woburn Abbey Cemetery, Cunichy. During March and April, the fighting died down, and the Regimental History (Stacke) records that “the Spring months of 1916 brought event of note to the 2nd Worcestershire”.

Despite the relative quietness, Richard was wounded for the third time on 29th April 1916, at Cambrin. The War Diary recorded “A very quiet fine day. A Fokker was brought down on out Right about 11am. No activity except Rifle Grenades which inflicted usual casualties on our Right and Centre Companies”. This casual comment covered Richard being wounded in the Back, Arm and Leg.

Richard was treated at No. 33 Casualty Clearing Station at Chocques, then transported by No. 19 Ambulance Train to No. 2 Stationary Hospital, Abbeville, being admitted on the 30th April. Sadly, Richard died from his wounds at 6.45am on 15th May and was buried in Abbeville Communal Cemetery.

Newspaper Cuttings