Museum of the Manchester Regiment
The Men Behind the Medals

George Alfred Richards

George Alfred Richards :

George Alfred Richards : (L to R) 1914-15 Star; British War Medal; Allied Victory Medal

(L to R) 1914-15 Star; British War Medal; Allied Victory Medal

George was born in July or August 1882 in Manchester. He was baptised on the 3rd September at St George's Church. His father was called Evan and his mother was Emma. He had 4 older brothers, Adam Reynolds, Cornelius, Evan and Thomas, and a younger sister called Eleanor Victoria.

Evan worked as a coachman when George was born. The family lived at 11 Taylor Street. By 1891 they had moved to 6 Bushton Street in Harpurhey, Manchester. Evan now worked as a carter. Ten years later in 1901 they lived at 7 St Oswald Street in Harpurhey. Evan was now self-employed as a shoe and boot maker. George worked as a packer in a warehouse.

Between July and August 1908 George married Edith Alice Brookes in the Bucklow area of Cheshire. By 1911 they were living at 18 Essex Road in Sale, Cheshire. They had had no children, and we don't believe they ever did. George worked as a warehouseman in a grey cloth warehouse.

The First World War broke out in August 1914 and George joined the Army in early to mid September. He chose to enlist in the 6th Battalion of the Manchester Regiment. This was a unit of the Territorial Force based in Hulme, Manchester. His service number was 2453.

The 6th Battalion was sent to Egypt on the 10th September and trained there until May 1915. On the 6th they took part in the invasion of Gallipoli. George was with them when they went to war, although we don't know whether he had sailed to Egypt with the battalion, or had gone out later.

When George first went overseas he held the rank of Corporal. He was later promoted to Sergeant. This was a rapid rise for such a new recruit. It suggests that George could have had military experience in a Volunteer or Territorial unit before the war, although we cannot know this for certain.

When they arrived in Gallipoli the 6th Battalion took its place in the trenches. The British worked hard to improve their positions, but they only held a small area and were often under fire from Turkish artillery and snipers.

On the 4th June the 6th Battalion took part in an attack on the village of Krithia. This had been intended to be captured during late April when the first Allied troops landed, but the Turks had been able to hold them off. George and the 6th Battalion advanced further than most British units, but this meant when the Turks counter attacked they were cut off and forced to withdraw without capturing the village. They then had to endure Turkish attacks over the next 3 days.

By the end of the fighting around 150 members of the battalion were dead and hundreds more had been wounded. George was one of those lost. He had been killed on the 5th June aged 32.

After the war George's grave could not be found, so his name is one of the 20885 commemorated on the Helles Memorial in Turkey. George's name can be found between Panel 158 and 170.

We know that Edith moved to 'Wansdyke' on Dane Road in Sale at some point around the end of the war, but not what became of her after this. George's medals were donated to the Museum of the Manchester Regiment in February 1987.

Museum of the Manchester Regiment
c/o Portland Basin Museum
Portland Place
Heritage Wharf
Ashton-under-Lyne
OL7 0QA

Telephone: 0161 343 2878
Email: Portland.Basin@tameside.gov.uk
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Trustees of the Manchester Regiment Museum & Archive and Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council