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Born: 1891, Wyburn, Cumberland
Address: 22 Piccadilly, Shipley
Occupation: C F Taylor, Holme Mill, Baildon
Rank: L Cpl
Medals/awards: D.C.M.
Rolls of Honour:
Regiment: Manchester
Fred Richardson
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The Shipley Times & Express reported on 25 June 1915 that L Cpl Fred Richardson had become the second local man, following on from Sgt Major Leahy of Windhill, to be awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal. The paper gave some of Fred’s background: Born in Wyburn near Keswick in Cumberland, it had been “about fourteen years since the family, who are in humble circumstances, settled in Piccadilly, Shipley, with the object of finding employment for their children in the factories there. Fred attended the Church Day Schools both at Shipley and Windhill. “At twelve years of age he had passed the labour certificate examination and was working for Messrs C F Taylor & Co at Lower Holme Mills, Baildon. At this time he also helped the family income by acting as a Bradford Daily Telegraph newsboy. Certificate “Subsequently he found a situation at Preston and it was whilst working at that place that he decided to join the army in 1908, selecting the Manchester Regt. “Fred, whose widowed mother had since moved to 4, Dixon Street, Windhill, had spent several years in India before the war and there had obtained a certificate for reading, writing and arithmetic. “He was in the first Indian contingent despatched to France, being first in action on 26th September. “He has taken part in five great battles, namely, those which took place at Givenchy (Dec 20th), Guinchey (Jan 14th), Neuve Chapell (April 26th and 27th), St
Ober (March 9th) and it will therefore be easily understood that he has had to rough it. “It is nothing short of a miracle that he has come through it all with nothing more serious than a slight wound in the neck for which he was in hospital for five days. “He has had many narrow escapes. During an advance his shovel was struck several times. If the shots had struck him he would have been placed out of action. “His worst experience was at Neuve Chapelle which was a terrible engagement.” The following report of the act for which Fred was honoured, is taken from that piece and a later article which added some more detail of his actions: The award was “For conspicuous gallantry, ability and resource on the 26th April at Ypres in leading his men in the attack after his officers had been wounded and establishing himself close to the enemy’s trenches. “They were advancing from Ypres to St Julien, a distance of 3½ miles, and they had got to within three- quarters of a mile of that place when they had to retire. “The officer of his company, Lieutenant Parminter, was badly
wounded and luckily Richardson was able to get him into a place of safety, although shot and shell were whistling all around at the time. “So terrible was the firing that he rolled into a hole with the officer and remained there for seven hours. “He was certain that the Germans saw him tending the wounded officer but still they went on firing. “The enemy were allowed to fetch their wounded in but did not allow the Allies to do the same. “No man ever more richly deserved the DCM than this brave man.” The paper added: “L Cpl Richardson thinks the German Army is nothing like as strong as it has been and observes that it can no more get through to Calais now than it can fly. There need be no fear, he assured us, that the Huns will ever break the British line. “The German Army he says, is in a shocking state and thousands of them would surrender if they got the opportunity. There is not the slightest doubt that in the long run they will be beaten.” The double award was mentioned at a meeting of Shipley Council with Cllr Reynolds saying that “Shipley people were proud of the fact that two of their townsmen had
won distinction in the fight for freedom and honour. “The D.C.M. was not easily won and it was fitting to show appreciation of the superlative gallantry of those who gained it. “It was the duty of those at home to take a deep interest in the doings of the men who were fighting our battles and in one way or another to show appreciation of the men who were responsible for conspicuous acts of bravery.” Comforts The council sent a congratulatory letter and the Soldiers’ Committee a parcel of ‘comforts’. Fred acknowledged them in a letter written in the trenches: “I think it is as nice a parcel as a soldier at the front could receive,” he wrote, adding modestly that he “had done no more than his duty.” The report in the newspaper added that Fred had had two narrow escapes, “bullets going through the top of his cap,” and he had also received letters of congratulations from his former schoolmaster, Mr Morrell, and other Shipley residents. On 13 August 1915, the newspaper reported that Fred had been given a furlough: “L Cpl Fred Richardson, the second Shipley soldier to receive the Distinguished Conduct Medal for meritorious service in the field, was given a hearty welcome when he arrived home on Friday on a short furlough. “Flags and streamers were flying in Dixon Street near the Carnegie Library, Windhill, where the hero’s widowed mother lives, and in Piccadilly, Shipley where the family formerly resided.”
“So terrible was the firing that he rolled into a hole with the officer and remained there for seven hours.”