Rock Ferry Sergeant Killed
Tragic Scene in France
Chum’s Tribute to “Dear Old Charlie”
Mrs Richardson, who resides at 5. Bedford place, Rock Ferry, has been notified by the War Office that her eldest son, Sergeant Charles Richardson, of the 9th Cheshire Regiment,* has been killed in action in France. A letter has been received from Lance-Corporal Evans of the same regiment, in which he says;
I was your son’s chum in the trenches at Givenchy, but I am now in hospital.
On Saturday morning we received the order to charge the German positions, which we did, and I am pleased to say we took them, but it cost an awful lot of life. Dear old Charlie twice saved me from certain death by the bayonet, and once I did the same for him
We took the trench, and we were just about to go over and take the next when ‘bang’ came a ‘Jack Johnson,’** which dropped straight in front of the trench, and blew it in, burying 24 of us. I myself was dug out an hour and a half afterwards, almost dead, and unconscious – saved again by my old chum Charlie.
This time I could not thank him, for he was killed instantly by a piece of shell which struck him in the head. How fearful it was, God only knows. 24 men buried and one left alive, thanks to my pal, who was on top of me with his legs sticking out of the ground. Someone saw him and pulled him out, and then they saw my hand underneath which was warm, so they dug me out.
In another letter the soldier says:
I will never forget coming to, and finding myself cared for, and my pals all killed and buried… My home is at Ellesmere Port, so in a week or so I shall come to see you.
Sergeant Richardson, who was in his 28th year, was employed as a tramcar conductor before he joined the fighting forces.
. . .
* Most likely meaning 9th Battalion.
From my own research I have found that Sergeant Charles Richardson was killed in action on 25th September, 1915, when the 9th Battalion fought in the Action of Pietre. This was a diversionary action on the German lines, aiming to draw their forces away from the main British attack at the Battle of Loos.
The only claimant present on Charles’ index card is his mother, Louise Richardson, who was 63 at the time of his death.
** ‘Jack Johnson’ was a Texan boxer who held the World Heavyweight title from 1908 – 1915. His name was used by British soldiers to describe 15cm German heavy artillery shells.