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Edmund Frederick Richardson

 

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Died : 2nd June 1915

 

Edmund Richardson

 

Shown on the Ringmer War Memorial as Ernest Frederick Richardson and popularly known as 'Fred', the young man was in fact Edmund Frederick Richardson, born at Firle on 8th September 1895. His parents Edward and Elizabeth evidently moved about quite a lot for his two brothers, who also served their country, were born in Chiddingly and Alfriston.
'Fred', a single man, joined the Royal Sussex Regiment early in September 1914. He trained with the 3rd Battalion at Dover before his posting to the 2nd Battalion in France. As a Private with number G/1647 young Richardson was to see plenty of action with that Regular Army battalion before his untimely death the following June. Together with his younger brother Edwin Arthur, he fought at Aubers Ridge on 9th May 1915. It was here eighteen year old 'Arthur' was wounded for the first time. 'Arthur' was to receive a further injury in October 1916 but he seems to have survived the War.
During the first three days of June 1915, the 2nd Royal Sussex took over front line duties. They relieved the 60th Rifles [King's Royal Rifle Corps] and were responsible for the area to the right of the Bethune to La Bassée road. All four Companies were in the front line trenches and suitable support was organised. It was standard practice to name trenches, both British and German, and contemporary maps showed those names. Army Orders and general communications used not only a specialised form of map co-ordinates but also referred to trenches by name. The origins of the names is not always obvious but often had a local connotation.
Two trenches nearby to the 2nd Sussex at this time were Etna and Vesuvious. They were subjected to a vicious bombing on 1st June and in the evening the Bosche bombarded the 'B' Company lines and one man was killed. More bombings occurred the following day but no deaths are specifically mentioned. On 3rd June the Germans initially scored a 'home goal'. They set off an underground mine, which was intended to destroy our positions. Happily for us they blew in their own parapet by miscalculating how far to dig towards us underground! Later that day they fired another mine under a nearby battalion and buried several British soldiers.

Edmund Richardsons Grave

Edmund Richardson's Grave

  During the three days 2nd Battalion Royal Sussex Regiment was in the line here, they had four men killed. It is not clear at which point Private Richardson met his death. As no casualties are implied for the 2nd June, the day he officially died, I think it likely he was the man referred as to being killed in the evening of 1st June 1915. He was buried close by in Cambrin Churchyard Extension, probably by men of the 2nd Field Ambulance, who wrote to his parents describing his grave. In addition to appearing on our village Memorial, Fred is also commemorated by name on Lewes War Memorial and on the plaque in the Church of St. Thomas at Cliff in Lewes. His next of kin were to receive his 1914-15 Star, British War & Victory Medals.
The parents of Edmund Frederick, viz. Edward Edmund and Elizabeth, evidently had a partiality for the initial 'E' in names, for the entire family had it. It is no surprise the second name of each was popularly used. In addition to Edwin Arthur who served with Edmund Frederick, there was also Edward John, who was named after his father. It is no wonder the stone mason who carved the War Memorial was confused! Edward (junior), the eldest son and born in Chiddingly, was a Regular Soldier with the Royal Field Artillery and served as a shoeing-smith. Edwin Arthur was also in the 2nd Sussex having worked pre-war at Arches Farm, Ringmer. The family at one time lived in Gote Lane, Ringmer and elements of it moved to 17 Malling Street, Lewes. It seems however that at least some of them had moved back to Ringmer by 1918. None of the brothers appear to have been educated in Ringmer at any time.

 

Adapted from Valiant Hearts of Ringmer by Geoff Bridger: Ammonite Press, 1993