Robert Ingram Richards
Across the road from Alexander and Cherry’s, and just down from Arscott’s grocers, Robert Ingram Richards son of the Chemist Harry Richards, lived at 17 Salisbury Street Blandford. Born in September 1898 Robert was one of the pupils of Blandford Secondary School who went on to Milton Abbas Grammar School as he was commemorated on both memorials.
2Lt Robert Richards, 1st Battalion (City of London Regiment) Royal Fusiliers attached ‘D’ Company 2/4th London Regiment (Royal Fusiliers) died of wounds 27 October 1917 during the battle of Passchendaele and has no known grave. He is commemorated at Tyne Cot Cemetery. The unit War Diary for 2/4th London Regiment tells us what impossible circumstances faced the Battalion on the day before:
October 26th Bn (Battalion) attacked as per attached operation orders. Weather and ground absolutely filthy. Objectives not taken, ‘D’ Coy (company) under Captain C A Clarke held foremost posts. Capt. Clarke recommended for Military Cross, Sgt (English?) and Pte Roberts recommended for Military Medal. Casualties 2Lt Langton killed, 2Lt Richards died of wounds 2Lts Jones and Taylor wounded and missing. Capts Dickens and Bookman, 2Lts Lester, Stevens, Dodds and Small wounded. Other ranks killed 18, wounded 183, missing 115, wounded and missing 52. Total (casualties) Officers 11 OR (other ranks) 368. Relieved in the line by 2/7th London Regiment at about 10.15 pm
From the operation order dated 25 October 1917
“The word RETIRE will not be used on any account. Anyone using this word will be treated as an enemy and shot.”
He was not with his battalion for long as can be seen by comparing the publication of his commission in the London Gazette and his Officer Record held in the National Archives. So much so that unlike other officers’ records it holds nothing other than correspondence regarding his death in service- giving us no real extra insight into his service. He was 19 years old.
Royal Fusiliers’ Roll of Honour