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George Richards a World War 1 Christleton Hero

George Richards

King's Regiment
George Richards
Birth Place:
Liverpool in 1891
The King's (Liverpool Regiment)
12th Battalion
Death Date:
16th August, 1917
Tyne Cot Memorial at Ypres Panel 31 to 34 and 162 and 162A and 163A.
His place on the Tyne Cot Memorial means that his body was never recovered.
He is also commemorated on the Church & Institute Memorials at Christleton.
A Memorial Service was held at St James’ on October 25th 1917, when the Rector G M V Hickey comments “he was married to a family with lots of representatives in the army”

George was connected to Christleton by his marriage to Mary Pritchard Griffiths (24 years) at St James’ in March 1916. His address on the Marriage Certificate is given as 9 Clarence Grove, Everton and his father Thomas, a Master Butcher. It is believed that Mary his wife, was one of two Griffiths sisters living in the village, the sisters of Captain John Griffiths. Royal Irish Rifles killed on the Somme at Beaumont Hamel on July 16th. 1916. Captain John had stayed in the village to re cooperate from injury received in an earlier battle, but died a month later on the first day for the Battle of the Somme at Beaumont Hamel.

Both sisters are actively involved in the village war effort, and their names are almost always present at any Memorial Service for the fallen at St James’

The battles around Ypres had been temporarily suspended in August 1917 due to torrential rain and bad weather. The Germans were well dug in and held all the high ground around this key city, which by this date was almost a complete ruin. Plans were being put down to try to retake the high ground with force, and this began in June 1917 with an attempt to capture the Messines Ridge. In another effort, teams of brave tunnellers laid mines & explosives to try to blow up the German positions from underground. It was also about this same time that a huge effort was being made by armies from across the British Empire to capture further parts of the lines, in what has become known as the Battle of Passchendaele. Men from Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India, Newfoundland, South Africa and the UK were involved. A quote from a soldier fighting in this battle states “The Whole thing became a drawn out nightmare.. The shelling had destroyed everything. As far as you could see, it was like an ocean of thick brown porridge.”

It was in conditions like this that George led his “Liverpool Pals”. The first phase of this operation lasted until August 15th, and had been undertaken in continuous rain, and more than 30.000 men had become casualties. It is said that in places the mud was 10ft deep, and horses as well as men were lost in this sea of mud. No wonder that many bodies were never recovered. George died on August 16th, and is commemorated at Tyne Cot a most moving Cemetery & place of Commemoration. There are 11,953 graves of which 8,366 are unidentified, and there is Memorial Wall where a further 35,000 soldiers with no known grave are commemorated.

  • The Kings Liverpool Regiment

    The Kings Liverpool Regiment

  • Tyne Cot Memorial

    Tyne Cot Memorial

  • Tyne Cot Memorial

    Tyne Cot Memorial

George Richards a World War 1 Christleton Hero