Private William Richards Memorial Garden
Open to the public Saturday and Sunday
When the gates are open.
All other times by appointment
William Richard 1890 - 1917, His Story - So Far
William was born in 1895, the third of 6 children, His father, Theophilus, was aged 30 and his mother, Sarah, was aged 26.
We know that he lived in the Rhondda Valley the son of a coal miner. Below are some details from the Census’s covering that period.
The 1901 Census shows the family, parents and 5 children, Sarah, Mary, William, John and David,living at 3 Danygraig Place Ferndale.
The 1911 Census he is shown as living at 25 Edmund St Tylerstown along with his parents, sisters, Mary and Athel, and 3 brothers, John, David and Theophilus. He is working as a collier/hewer.
In August 1914, at the age of 19, he joined the Army and in September 1915 his Battalion went to France.
21 June 1916, after he had been in the field for 9 months, he was admitted into the No31 casualty clearing station with an abdominal complaint, as yet undiagnosed.
24 June 1916 he was moved to No4 Canadian with an ailment described as debility, there are two types of debility, the first is a physical disability i:e muscle weakness, the second Nervous Debility i:e nervous break down. We have no information on which type of debility had caused him to be removed from the front.
May 10 1917, at the registry office in Pontypridd, he married Miriam Palfrey, age 19.
Just over 4 months later, 26 September 1917, he took part in the attack on Polygon Wood where he was killed in action and never seen again
The picture below shows, what is believed to be the 7th K.S.L.I at their first muster, if this is correct it is more than likely that William is amongst them.
The 7th (Service) Battalion of the Kings Shropshire Light Infantry was formed on the 22nd September 1914 and in September 1915 left for France.
On October 9th the Battalion moved into the front line in the Ypres Salient, their first casualties were on the night of October 13th 1915.
On July 1st 1916 the battalion moved south to the Somme and took part in an attack on Bazentin Ridge, 14th July 1916.
On 13th November 1916 the battalion took part in the Battle of the Ancre.
In April 1917 the battalion took part in the battles of Arras and the first and second battles of the Scarpe and in May 1917 the third battle of Scarpe.
The Battalion was heavily involved on the Somme until 4th September 1917 when they moved back to Ypres where, for the next 18 days, they were hard at work practising for their part in the advance, to be made by the 3rd Division, from Ypres on the 26th September.
The following extract is taken from, The History of the Kings Shropshire Light Infantry in the Great War 1914 - 1918, by Major W. deB.Wood
The Battle of Polygon Wood Sept 1917
The 8th Brigade attacked with the 2nd Royal Scots on the right, and the 8th East Yorks on the left, the 1st Royal Scots Fusiliers in support of the Royal Scots and the 7th KSLI in support of the 8th East Yorks on the left. The attack commenced at 5.30 am on the 26th.
The 8th East Yorks captured the front line and the 7th KSLI, passing through them, assaulted and carried the German 2nd line, capturing 70 prisoners, 8 machine guns and one 77mm gun. A strong counter attack by the enemy at 6.30pm forced a retirement, of some 200 yards, of the troops on our right and left.
The battalion, retaining its ground, swung out defensive flanks and maintained touch. Total gain 2500 yards.
The line was consolidated and held until 28th when the brigade was relieved by the 9th brigade. The 7th KSLI proceeded to Ypres and on October 1st returned to Toronto camp.
Casualties were 6 officers, RAMC (attached) wounded 5, other ranks killed 36, wounded 237, missing 27.
Pte William Richards was one of those listed as missing, it is not known how long it was before he was posted as Killed In Action.