Crimea Medal with clasp 'Sebastopol'
Richard was born on the 2nd May 1830 in Devonport, near Plymouth in Devon. We don't know anything about his family or his early life.
Richard's first military experience came when he joined the South Devon Militia. Up until 1852 it was necessary to own or be expected to inherit property to qualify for a commission in the Militia. We don't know whether Richard was commissioned before or after this requirement was abolished.
By 1854 he had reached the rank of Lieutenant in that force and was considered capable enough to transfer to the Regular Army. He was commissioned as an Ensign in the 63rd Regiment of Foot on the 29th December.
At this time it was common for officers or their families to purchase commissions in the Regular Army and then to purchase higher ranks when there was a vacancy. Richard was promoted to Lieutenant on the 9th March 1855. He did not purchase either rank.
The 63rd Regiment was fighting in the Crimean War when Richard was commissioned. It had taken casualties in battle and over the winter of 1854-55 and needed reinforcements. Richard was one of the men sent to join it. He arrived in the Crimea, then in Russia but today part of the Ukraine, on the 7th August 1855.
The British and French had been besieging the Russian Navy port of Sebastopol since October 1854. When Richard arrived the siege was almost over. The British and French attacked on the 8th September and had captured the city by the next day. Richard took part in this attack. He was also involved in the capture of the Russian fort of Kinburn in October.
The Crimean War ended in February 1856, and Richard left the Crimean Peninsula on the 6th May. He was heading for Halifax, in Nova Scotia, Canada. He sailed aboard HMS Andes to Constantinople, now called Istanbul, and arrived there on the 7th May. By the 11th he was in Malta and changed to HMS Himalaya. This took him the rest of the way to Canada and Richard arrived on the 2nd June.
Living conditions in the Crimea were primitive, so when the soldiers arrived in Halifax they did not look very smart at all. The town made them welcome though. Richard and the other officers were given rooms in the Halifax Hotel when they arrived.
Richard stayed in Canada with the 63rd Regiment until 1860. We don't have any details of what Richard did during this time, but the 63rd would have served as a garrison to guard against unrest in the population, as well as being able to defend against a possible American attack. Today this would be unthinkable, but just 10 years earlier there had been tension over the position of the Canadian border and before that Britain and America had fought in the War of 1812.
On the 23rd August 1860 Richard sailed for the UK. He was to join the Depot Company of the 63rd Regiment, which was responsible for recruiting and training soldiers. This was based in Belfast in June 1860.
Richard did not spend long at the Depot. He retired from the Army on the 16th August 1861.
We believe that Richard returned to Plymouth and died in the nearby village of Stoke Damerel between January and March 1865.