Topic: Francis Richards

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Francis Leonard Richards (Service no. 6/128) was a First World War soldier with links to New Brighton

Francis Leonard RichardsFrancis Leonard Richards was born on 19th July, 1894. He was brought up in Belfast by his parents, Elizabeth Miriam (nee Gooding) and Richard Sampson Richards, who had married in 1881. He went to Belfast School. When he was 16, he started doing farm work. At some stage he was employed at the Otira Tunnel Works. When he enlisted, he was working on the Gillanders’ farm in Waddington. He was of average height, with black hair and hazel eyes, and was an Anglican.

There is a story told by Francis’ great-nephew, Roger Innes, that Francis once bought a tram ticket at Sumner and then walked across the Sumner bar to Southshore. The tram ticket was his proof of a tricky feat!

He enlisted on the 17th August, 1914, one of the first men to sign up. Before that, he had served in the Territorials, in the 13th Regiment (North Canterbury and Westland). His parents were, by then, living at 110 Seaview Rd, New Brighton. While at Addington Camp, and also in Egypt, he was orderly to Major Row, who was in command of A Company, Canterbury Regiment. He left New Zealand with the Main Body on 16th October that year, arriving in Egypt on the 4th December.

He was part of the Gallipoli landings on 25th April, 1915, and survived the first few days, but on 9th May, 1915, while fighting in the Second Battle of Krithia at Cape Helles, he received a gunshot wound to his abdomen, was taken to a casualty clearing station, but died that same day, aged 20.

He was buried in Lancashire Landing Cemetery, Cape Helles, Turkey. He was posthumously awarded the 1914-15 Star, the British War Medal, and the Victory Medal. His name is on the Sheffield War Memorial, and there is a memorial for him on the family grave Block Block 17 Plot 39 Linwood Cemetery, Christchurch.

In July, 1915, his parents were presented with an enlarged photo of their son by the officers of the New Brighton Reserves, and Mrs Richards said that ‘they would never forget the kindness and sympathy of the New Brighton people.’ His parents were also given a medal from the Sheffield District. These were given to ‘those soldiers who had enlisted from the Sheffield district. The medals were of gold, in the shape of a heart, and bore the inscription of “Amor Patriae”, with the initials of the recipient’.


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Francis Richards

First Names:Francis Leonard
Last Name:Richards