26 November 2006

Victoria Cross: J. C. Richardson

JAMES CLELAND RICHARDSON

Piper, Canadian Scottish Regiment (Princess Mary’s)

Born: 25 November 1895, Bellshill, Lanarkshire, Scotland

Citation: For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty when [on 8 Oct 1916, at Regina Trench], prior to attack, he obtained permission from his Commanding Officer to play his company "over the top."
As the company approached the objective, it was held up by very strong wire and came under intense fire, which caused heavy casualties and demoralized the formation for the moment. Realising the situation, Piper Richardson strode up and down outside the wire, playing his pipes with the greatest coolness. The effect was instantaneous. Inspired by his splendid example, the company rushed the wire with such fury and determination that the obstacle was overcome and the position captured.
Later, after participating in bombing operations, he was detailed to take back a wounded comrade and prisoners.
After proceeding about 200 yards Piper Richardson remembered that he had left his pipes behind. Although strongly urged not to do so, he insisted on returning to recover his pipes. He has never been seen since, and death has been presumed accordingly owing to lapse of time.

(London Gazette Issue 30967 dated 22 Oct 1918, published 18 Oct 1918.)


Note: Piper Richardson's pipes were recovered from the battlefield by a British Army chaplain and have been on display in a school in Scotland. They were recently returned to British Columbia. See here and here.

2 comments:

ron said...

Am particularly interested in this article as Pte Richardson.s regiment were fighting next to my uncles regiment on the day he died.

My uncle lost his arm that day, and I cannot help but wonder if he heard the strainS of the pipe tune Richardson played.

Seemingly, Pte Richardsons pipes may have beEn found recently. A representative from the regiment has travelled to Scotland, where they had been held by his old school.

They are to be returned to Canada.

Have visited his memorial at Adanac Military Cemetary in France, only at the time, I thought it was his actual grave and that he was buried there, apparently not.

Dan Richardson said...

For your info, you can look into the War Diaries of the Regiments, on the internet, and find out exactly where all the troops were on any particlar day. Who knows, they could have been fighting along side each other.

If you're interested in more information on Richardson, let me know, I'm part of his family.