Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthAugust 7, 1890
Place of BirthKenora, Ontario
Marital StatusMarried
Next of KinJean Logan Richardson (wife), 298 Landsdowne Avenue,Winnipeg, Manitoba
Trade / CallingPhotographer
Service Details
Regimental Number147264
Service RecordLink to Service Record
Battalion78th Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Place of EnlistmentWinnipeg, Manitoba
Address at EnlistmentWinnipeg, Manitoba
Date of EnlistmentJuly 1, 1915
Age at Enlistment24
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details

Richardson, William Herbert

Corporal William Herbert Richardson enlisted in July 1915 and served for three and a half years in Canada, Great Britain and France. He was wounded at the Somme and he returned to Canada in October 1918.

William was the youngest son of John Richardson and Betsy Ann Stubley. John was a carpenter and millwright and he and his wife were both born in Lincolnshire, England. They were married in 1875 and their six oldest children were born in Lincolnshire: William Henry, Walter, Arthur Edwin, Albert (died at age two), Mary Elizabeth and Albert John. The family immigrated to Canada in 1887, arriving in May on the SS Vancouver with their destination listed as Winnipeg. By the following year they were living in the town of Keewatin in northwestern Ontario.

John and Betsy’s daughter Edith was born in Keewatin in July 1888 and sadly their oldest son, William, drowned a month later. William Herbert was born on 7 August 1890 and at the time of the 1891 census his family was still in Keewatin. Within a few years they had moved to Manitoba and settled in the RM of Brenda, southwest of Brandon. The youngest child, daughter Eva, was born there in 1895. When the 1911 census was taken William was living in Winnipeg, where he worked as a photographer in a studio. He was married in Winnipeg the following year, on 7 November 1912. His wife, Jean Logan Calder Bowman, was born in London, England in 1894, the oldest daughter of Edmund and Elizabeth Bowman. She had immigrated to Canada with her family in January 1906.

William and Jean lived in Winnipeg and their only son, Hugh Herbert, was born on 22 January 1914. The war started later that year and William enlisted the following summer, signing up on 1 July 1915 with the 78th Battalion (Winnipeg Grenadiers). The recruits trained at Camp Sewell (later called Camp Hughes) during the summer and moved back to Winnipeg for the winter. They headed overseas in the spring, embarking from Halifax on the Empress of Britain on 20 May 1916 and arriving in Liverpool nine days later. In August William was sent to France with the 78th Battalion and they became part of the 12th Brigade in the new 4th Canadian Division.

The Battle of the Somme had started in July and the Canadians were sent there that fall. The offensive ended on 18 November and battalions in the 4th Division were kept in the area to reinforce the front line. William’s unit had two rotations in the trenches in November. During the second one, which lasted three days, the battalion had 20 casualties. William was one of the wounded, suffering a gunshot or shell wound to his hand and severe contusions on his back and upper extremities. He was sent to a field ambulance on 26 November and admitted to No. 10 General Hospital in Rouen two days later. On 14 December he was transferred to the Canadian Base Depot and he rejoined his unit in the field in mid-January 1917.

Early that spring the Canadian Corps began preparing for the Battle of Vimy Ridge (9-14 April 1917). After the ridge was captured the Canadians stayed in the area, holding the new front line. Late in June William developed cellulitis on his right hand and he was sent to a field ambulance on 1 July. From there he was moved to No. 56 General Hospital in Г‰taples. It was the end of August before he was well enough to return to the field. He spent September and October with the 4th Entrenching Battalion and rejoined the 78th Battalion on 6 November, during the Battle of Passchendaele. The unit had just moved from Ypres to Borre, France and the next three days were used for training, sports and recreation. On 10 November William was given two weeks leave in the UK and he returned near the end of the month.

In the spring of 1918 the Canadians were in the Lens-Arras area, holding the front line. William suffered an accidental contusion to his ribs around 25 March and he was out of action for a week. He was promoted to Lance Corporal on 8 April and to Corporal on 7 July. The final period of the war started on 8 August with the Battle of Amiens but William was sent back to England a few days before that, with the view of being returned to Canada as an instructor. He was posted to the Manitoba Regiment Depot and he embarked for Canada at the end of September, sailing on the City of Poona and arriving in Montreal on 7 October. Back in Winnipeg William was assigned to the 1st Depot Battalion, Manitoba Regiment and he served for another two months. The Armistice ended hostilities on 11 November and he was discharged on 4 December, ‘having seen front line service.’ His conduct was described as very good and he was entitled to wear one gold (casualty) stripe.

William and his wife lived in Winnipeg for another five years, and he worked for a railway company and at Eatons. They moved to the U.S. in 1923 and settled in Chicago, Illinois, where William was employed as an electrician at a steel mill. When he filed his WW2 draft card, at age 50, they were living on Dorchester Avenue. William’s date of death and place of burial are not known. His son Hugh worked as a power plant supervisor for U.S. Steel in Chicago and Gary, Indiana. He served with the U.S. Air Corps in the Second World War and he passed away in Arizona in October 2000, at age 86.

By Becky Johnson

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