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WW1 Heroes
3 William C Richings
Private 2nd Battalion Grenadier Guards William Charles (Bill) Richings was born at Westonbirt in April 1892, the youngest child of four born to William Richings, a cattleman born at Sopworth, Wiltshire (1864-1949) and his wife Catherine (Kate) Hudd, born Horsley (1860-1939). At the time of the 1901 census, the whole family was living in Westonbirt Village, close to the Hare and Hounds Hotel but by 1911 had moved to Avening, with William senior becoming a successful farmer and publican at The Rising Sun on Old Hill. William was a farm labourer and we may never know, but it may have been a meeting between him and Frederick Fletcher, who had left regular service with the Grenadier Guards in June 1910 (see Avening Roll of Honour No. 2), that encouraged him to sign on for service with the same regiment on Monday the 13th of March 1911. Following a medical examination in Stroud that day, he "signed-on" for twelve years, three years service and nine on the reserve. He completed his final military examinations at Reading on the 15th. He was 18 years and 321 days old. His attestation form describes him as being 5ft 9in tall (1.76m), weighing 10 stone 5lbs (65.8 kgs) with a fresh complexion, grey eyes and light brown hair. He also carried scars from a double hernia operation. He completed his regular service on the 13th of March 1914 but was recalled to his regiment from the Reserve five months later on the 5th of August. As a recently full time serving man Bill was allocated to the 2nd Battalion. By the 26th of that month he was with the Expeditionary Force in France and survived a number of skirmishes in which the 2nd Battalion of the Grenadiers was involved. For the first nine days of March 1915, the battalion rested, being billeted at Béthune where concerts and boxing competitions were held, but for the next few days was part of a reserve brigade for the Allied move at Neuve-Chapelle. However, on the 12th of March, the battalion relieved the Irish Guards at Givenchy, where the apparently new trenches were shallow with parapets that were not bullet proof. Numerous attacks were made by both sides, all preceded by artillery bombardment and it was during one of these forays that William was killed on Wednesday the 17th of March. His parents, still living at the Rising Sun, Old Hill, Avening (later at Longmans Farm) were informed twelve days later. He is buried at the Guards Cemetery, Windy Corner, Cuinchy, his grave being tended by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. He was unmarried but is survived in the village by his brother's descendants.
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3 William C Richings
Private 2nd Battalion Grenadier Guards William Charles (Bill) Richings was born at Westonbirt in April 1892, the youngest child of four born to William Richings, a cattleman born at Sopworth, Wiltshire (1864- 1949) and his wife Catherine (Kate) Hudd, born Horsley (1860-1939). At the time of the 1901 census, the whole family was living in Westonbirt Village, close to the Hare and Hounds Hotel but by 1911 had moved to Avening, with William senior becoming a successful farmer and publican at The Rising Sun on Old Hill. William was a farm labourer and we may never know, but it may have been a meeting between him and Frederick Fletcher, who had left regular service with the Grenadier Guards in June 1910 (see Avening Roll of Honour No. 2), that encouraged him to sign on for service with the same regiment on Monday the 13th of March 1911. Following a medical examination in Stroud that day, he "signed-on" for twelve years, three years service and nine on the reserve. He completed his final military examinations at Reading on the 15th. He was 18 years and 321 days old. His attestation form describes him as being 5ft 9in tall (1.76m), weighing 10 stone 5lbs (65.8 kgs) with a fresh complexion, grey eyes and light brown hair. He also carried scars from a double hernia operation. He completed his regular service on the 13th of March 1914 but was recalled to his regiment from the Reserve five months later on the 5th of August. As a recently full time serving man Bill was allocated to the 2nd Battalion. By the 26th of that month he was with the Expeditionary Force in France and survived a number of skirmishes in which the 2nd Battalion of the Grenadiers was involved. For the first nine days of March 1915, the battalion rested, being billeted at Béthune where concerts and boxing competitions were held, but for the next few days was part of a reserve brigade for the Allied move at Neuve- Chapelle. However, on the 12th of March, the battalion relieved the Irish Guards at Givenchy, where the apparently new trenches were shallow with parapets that were not bullet proof. Numerous attacks were made by both sides, all preceded by artillery bombardment and it was during one of these forays that William was killed on Wednesday the 17th of March. His parents, still living at the Rising Sun, Old Hill, Avening (later at Longmans Farm) were informed twelve days later. He is buried at the Guards Cemetery, Windy Corner, Cuinchy, his grave being tended by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. He was unmarried but is survived in the village by his brother's descendants.
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