South Oxford Community Centre

Lake Street, Oxford, OX1 4RP 01865 242666

66 men - William Richardson

William Ernest RICHARDSON

William (or Billy or Willie) Richardson was born in the summer of 1899 in Bicester, the only son of Ernest and Louise Richardson. Ernest was a butcher who had been born in Stratton Audley near Bicester in 1871/72. Louise had been born in Nash in north Buckinghamshire in 1872/73. The couple married in 1896/97 and lived at 193 Crumps Butts in Bicester. They had three children: Mable [sic] (born in 1897/98), William (1899) and Elsie (1903/04). By 1911 the family were living at 83 Ship Street in Bicester.

William enlisted in High Wycombe and became a Lance Corporal with the 2nd/7th Battalion of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, service no. 26856. His battalion was sent to France and he was killed in the last month of the War, on 24 October 1918, during the Allies' final advance through France. The 2nd/7th Battalion had moved towards the village of Sommaing, north-east of Cambrai. The assault was successful and the village was captured the following day. The battalion crossed the River Ecallion during the assault, an indication of the ‘open warfare’ which had now been re-established.

William was 19 when he died. He was buried at the Canonne Farm British Cemetery, Sommaing. On his gravestone is inscribed 'Death divides / but love and memory / cling forever' at the request of his mother. William's parents moved to 31 Edith Road in Grandpont in 1916 or 1917, and although he may not have lived there himself, this seems to be why he is commemorated on the St Matthew's war memorial.

On the British Legion's Every Man Remembered website Jo Swigoniak has written:

My Grandmother wrote to Billy during WW1, her letters and photograph from him have only just come to light. He was known to her daughter as the love of her life. It seems only fitting that he should be remembered, as like many young soldiers he was the only son of Mr & Mrs Richardson, in my Grandmothers letters was also a letter from his mother, thanking my Grandmother for her kind words on the news of his death.

Back to the main 66 Men of Grandpont page