Museum of the Manchester Regiment
The Men Behind the Medals

Frederick Richardson

Frederick Richardson :

Frederick Richardson : (L to R) Distinguished Conduct Medal; British War Medal; Allied Victory Medal

(L to R) Distinguished Conduct Medal; British War Medal; Allied Victory Medal

We don't know anything about Fred's early life or family.

He joined the Manchester Regiment in around 1908 and was given the service number 1228. We don't know anything about his service until 1914.

In this year Fred was a member of the 1st Battalion, who were stationed at Jullundur in India. He was one of a number of soldiers who took and passed a course in sanitation, first aid and stretcher bearing during 1914. This will have given them the knowledge to help their wounded comrades on the battlefield.

On the 4th August the First World War broke out. The 1st Battalion was quickly mobilised and set sail for France on the 27th. It arrived on the 26th September and after another month they were in combat around Fromelles.

Conditions on the front line during the early part of the war were bad. It was wet, cold and dangerous, and for soldiers used to the heat of India things must have been even worse.

Fred served in France and Belgium with the 1st Battalion until December 1915. He saw combat at Givenchy in December 1914, Neuve Chapelle in March 1915 and the 2nd Battle of Ypres in April.

During the fighting at Ypres (now called Ieper) in Belgium, Fred carried out an act of great bravery. He was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal in the London Gazette of the 5th August. This is his citation:

For conspicuous gallantry, ability and resource on the 26th April 1915, at Ypres, in leading his men in the attack after his officers had been wounded, and establishing himself close to the enemy's trenches. He subsequently went back under a heavy fire and moved his Company Commander, who had been wounded, to a place of safety, afterwards rejoining his Company.

The rest of 1915 was much quieter, although conditions in the trenches were still difficult and dangerous. In December the battalion sailed to Mesopotamia, now Iraq, to fight the Turks. We believe Fred went with them; there is no record of him leaving the 1st Battalion at any point.

The 1st Battalion arrived in Basra on the 8th January 1916. They took part in attempts to relieve the British forces trapped in Kut al Amara. They were not successful and Kut was captured by the Turks on the 29th April. The rest of the year was fairly quiet and the British did not resume their advance until early 1917.

Fred and the 1st Battalion spent the summer of 1917 in reserve near Baghdad, which had been captured that March. They returned to the front in early November to take part in the attack on Tikrit.

The war in the Middle East ended in October 1918. By then Fred and the 1st Battalion had advanced into what was then called Palestine and is now part of Israel. He had been promoted several times and ended the war with the rank of Acting Sergeant.

The 1st Battalion returned to the UK during 1919. We don't know how long Fred remained in the Army, or what he did when he left.

In late 1955 a note appeared in the Old Comrade's Association section of the Manchester Regiment Gazette. It noted that Fred lived at 16 Emerson Avenue on the Haworth Road Estate in Bradford, Manchester. Sadly he was 'crippled with rheumatoid arthritis'.

Fred had died by November 1963, when his medals were donated to the Museum of the Manchester Regiment. He was also awarded the 1914 Star with the clasp '5th Aug.-22nd Nov. 1914' for his Army service.

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