|Date of Birth||November 5, 1897|
|Place of Birth||Alexander, Manitoba|
|Next of Kin||George Richardson, Decker, Manitoba|
|Trade / Calling||Farmer|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Battalion||1st Battalion, CE|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Address at Enlistment||Decker, Manitoba|
|Date of Enlistment||February 16, 1916|
|Age at Enlistment||18|
|Theatre of Service||Europe|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Decorations and Medals||Military Medal|
|Date of Death||19660407|
|Age at Death||68|
|Buried At||Lake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario|
Ford McQuinn Richardson was born on 5 November 1897 in Alexander, a small community in southwestern Manitoba. His father Joseph Milo Richardson was from Fredericksburg, Lennox and Addington County, Ontario while his mother Annie Eliza Sager was from nearby Tyendinaga, Prince Edward County. Both were residing in Sophiasburg, a community about 35 kilometres south of Tyendinaga, at the time of their marriage in 1887. Children born to the family while in Ontario were Ross (1888-1941), David Jay (1890-1961), Jesse Charles (1892-1980), and Rose May (1895-1898). By the time of Ford’s birth in 1897 the family had moved west to farm, found in the 1901 Canada census in Whitehead in the District of Brandon, Manitoba. By 1906 the family was listed as farming in the District of Marquette, Manitoba with the 1916 census placing them in Shoal Lake, Marquette. Children born to the family in Manitoba were Joseph Allan (1900-1954), Lola Grace (1902-1911), and Mable Lucy (1905-1973). Ford received his education in Decker and Hamiota, small towns found in the farming area.
Ford signed his attestation papers in Winnipeg on 16 February 1916. His attestation papers gave his year of birth as 1898 and his next of kin as father George Richardson back in Decker. Ford’s occupation was given as farmer. With blue eyes and light brown hair, he had a farmer’s dark complexion.
The 107th Battalion had been organized in Winnipeg in November of 1915. With a strength of 32 officers and 965 other ranks, its cap badge was the timber wolf. The 107th Battalion was originally an infantry unit but once in France was redesignated as a Pioneer Battalion. Pioneer battalions were infantry, all members classified as A1 (fit for active service in terms of health and training), but were composed of a variety of men with skilled and semi skilled trades such as carpenters, miners and road men, joiners, bricklayers and masons, engine drivers and fitters. They provided manpower to the Engineer Field Companies; they built the dugouts, the roads in forward areas, laid the barbed wire, and were the main force behind trench construction. At the same time they could be called upon to assume combat roles.
With the 107th Battalion Private Ford Richardson embarked from Halifax aboard the Olympic on 18 September 1916. The battalion trained at Witley Camp before proceeding to France in late February of 1917.
According to Steven Bell in his article entitled ‘The 107th Timber Wolf Battalion at Hill 70’, from late June to mid July of 1917 the 107th held a section of the front line ‘running the same trench warfare housekeeping and fighting routines as any other infantry unit while at the same time providing large semi-skilled work parties to conduct engineering battlefield preparation works.’ He goes on to say that in August of 1917, at the battle of Hill 70, the 107th followed the assault troops across no mans’ land with the mission to dig, under fire, communication trenches linking the newly captured enemy front lines. ‘Each pioneer carried a load of personal ammunition, food, water, and weapons often totaling 60 to 80 pounds. Each group’s standard load would have included 27 spools of barbed wire, 200 sandbags, 100 shovels/picks/axes, 12 large wire cutters, and an ammunition stock of 6000 rounds.’ The three companies of the 107th spent the entire first day in no mans’ land with a high cost: 21 dead and 130 badly wounded. On the night of August 17th/18th, the 107th was ordered to the rear to rest but one company of the 107th took on the role of rescuers, staying behind to search for the wounded and bury the dead.
In late August of 1917 Ford was on command to anti air craft duty at Isbergues, returning to the 107th in mid October. By November of 1917 the 107th was at Passchendaele and Private Ford Richardson was awarded the Military Medal on 23 December 1917 for his actions while there. In late 1917, first suffering with PUO, fever of unknown origin, Ford was invalided sick to England in mid January of 1918 to be later diagnosed with trench fever. Transmitted by body lice, trench fever symptoms included high fever, severe headaches, rashes, pain/inflammation of the eyes, and soreness of the muscles of the legs and back. He recuperated in the Military Convalescent Hospital at Woodcote Park, Epsom, and was discharged in mid March. From there he was posted to the Canadian Engineers Training Depot and then to the Canadian Engineers Reinforcement Depot at Seaford in May. By early September he was back in France with the 1st Battalion Canadian Engineers and appointed Lance Corporal on 25 January 1919. Returning to England in late April Lance Corporal Ford Richardson arrived in Halifax aboard the Empress of Britain on 4 May 1919, on his way home to Decker.
Ford moved to Fort Frances, Ontario in 1922 to work for Western Grocers. On 15 April 1924 he married Dorothy Nevill in Carnegie, Manitoba. Dorothy was the daughter of Thomas and Henrietta (née Varrelman) Nevill who over the years farmed in the RM of Daly, District of Brandon, Manitoba. Ford and Dorothy went on to give birth to two children, daughter Bertha and son Ross. In 1940 Ford left the employment of Western Grocers and joined the Ontario Provincial Police, moving to Kenora for his first posting. He served in the Kenora and Dryden districts as a constable until 1953, was promoted to Corporal that year in Port Arthur, and moved to Schreiber in 1954. Upon his retirement in 1962 Ford and Dorothy returned to Kenora.
Predeceased by his mother Annie in 1940 in Decker, his father Joseph in 1944 in Hamiota, and some of his siblings, Ford McQuinn Richardson passed away on 7 April 1966 in Kenora. He is interred in the Lake of the Woods Cemetery. He was survived by his wife Dorothy, daughter and son-in-law Bertha and Robert Morton and their two children, all in Kenora, and by son Ross. Following in his father’s footsteps, Ross was serving with the Royal Canadian Air Force at Portage la Prairie at the time of his father’s death.
In his younger years Ford had been active in running and track and field sports and became a strong supporter of amateur sports. In Schreiber he was past president of the Lions Club and treasurer of the YMCA. He was a member of the Ontario Civil Servants Association, the Ontario Provincial Police Association, the Royal Canadian Legion, and Knox United Church in Kenora. Dorothy died in 1997 in Kenora and is interred along side him.
Ford’s brother Jesse Charles signed his attestation papers in Brandon in April of 1916 while his brother David Jay signed up at Camp Sewell that July. The brothers embarked together from Halifax on the Lapland with the 45th Battalion on 1 April 1916. Once overseas the 45th was absorbed by the 11th Canadian Reserve Battalion in early July of 1916. David served with the Canadian Machine Gun Corps, returning to Canada in March of 1919. Details of Jesse’s service are unknown; he returned to Manitoba.
by Judy Stockham
photograph of Ford courtesy of his daughter Bertha Morton