Battalion 21st Battalion
Regiment West Yorkshire Regiment
|Royal Army Medical Corps
William Rowson Richardson was born in Leeds on the 1st January 1892, the son of George and Maria Richardson.
In 1911, William is listed in the census return as a student living in the Weslyan School House in Thorner with his father who is a school master, his mother, a younger sister, Elsie and a visitor, Mary Rowson, probably William's grandmother.
William was educated at Leeds Modern School, Leeds University and Oxford, and in 1913 he was a Cadet in the Oxford University Officer Training Corps.
On the 28th September 1914, William enlisted, initially in the 2nd west Riding Field Artillery, but soon, on the 19th January 1915 he transferrer as a Private to the West Riding Casualty Clearing station of the Royal Army Medical Corps. On the 26th March 1915, he was appointed as a Lance Corporal in the same unit, and on the 13th April 1915, he embarked at Southampton on the 'Monas Queen' for France. William disembarked the following day in Le Havre and started his overseas service.
On the 14th July 1915, William was himself admitted to the West Riding Casualty Clearing station, but his record does not mention why. By the 20th July, he had recovered and was discharged from hospital. William was granted 7 days leave in the UK from 24th March 1916 to the 30th. Having returned to France, William was nominated for a commission and was posted back to the UK, where, on the 27th May 1916 he was admitted into No. 8 Officer Cadet Battalion at Lichfield Barracks.
After officer training, William joined the West Yorkshire Regiment between the 7th and 17th October 1916. We do not know where he was posted immediately, but the war diary for the 21st Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment, on the 27th July 1917, while at the Triangle reported: "Work on CORONA-CUSP SWITCH. 2nd Lt. W.R. RICHARDSON reported."
Around the start of April 1917, William suffered an eye injury caused by the explosion of a shell, and he was evacuated back to the UK, embarking in Calais on the 7th April 1917 on the Slad Antwerpen, arriving in Dover the same day. It is probable that William was wounded on the 29th March 1917 near Arras, as the war diary records: "Work under XVII Corps at ETRUN, St.CATHERINE and St.NICHOLAS. Casualties - 4 men killed. 2/Lt Richardson and 4 men wounded." In the UK, William was treated at the 2nd London General Hospital and was declared fit for home service on the 17th May 1917. Finally on the 15th August 1917 in Tynemouth, William was declared fit for general service and was told to rejoin his unit.
Back with his unit, William was again injured, this time a gun shot wound to his left arm near Arras on the 5th April 1918. At the time the war diary records:
4th April. X Coy work in front line of 10th Bde
Y Coy work in EFFIE TRENCH for 12th Bde
Z Coy work in CASTLE LANE for 11th Bde
5th April. Work as above. Lt Richardson and 3 men Z Coy wounded.
William was treated at the Casualty clearing station and then No. 14 General Hospital in Vimereux before again being evacuated back to the UK, from Boulogne, arriving in Dover on the 11th April 1918. This time his record shows he returned from the 21st Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment to the 1st Northern General Hospital in Newcastle.
This injury was clearly serious and took some to heal. William underwent medical boards on the 17th May and the 17th July 1918. The first of these found him fit to category C1, but unfit at categories A and B and stated that he needed a further 2 months to recover. The second that he was improving from a wound to his left arm but needed another month to fully recover. Finally on the 16th August 1918, at a further medical board, he was passed fit at category A and that he should rejoin his unit, the 21st Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment.
After his war service, William was finally released from service on the 2nd April 1919.
William, in 1920, joined the Board of Education as a Class 1 Clerk. His career as a civil servant must have blossomed, and, in the New Year's Honours list of 1948, he became a Companion of the Order of St. Michael and St. George.
William Rowson Richardson died in Surrey on the 1st October 1978.
Biography last updated 23 January 2020 19:03:22.
1911 Census. The National Archives. Class RG14 Piece 25960
First World War Medal Index Cards. The National Archives (WO372).
First World War Medal Index Rolls. The National Archives (WO329).
First World War Officer's Service Records WO339/62426 The National Archives.
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