Earlier this year, Desmond Burton contacted me to enquire if I’d post his research on the subject of a chap called Richard Anson, a Rushall lad who sadly gave his life in battle on the Somme in September 1916 – I was happy to do so, for it’s a fine, exemplary and fascinating piece of research.
If you’ve not read that, it’s worth perusing it now, as Demond has updated it.
Since then, I’ve been contacted by reader Graeme Clarke, who’s got additional material to add, regarding how Richard fell and the terrible events of the battle, as well as pictures of the family grave in Rushall.
I’ve held this back for Remembrance Sunday as it seems appropriate.
Thanks to Graeme for a wonderful expansion, once again proving that we really can explore our communal history here through the generosity and community spirit of the readership. Thanks to all.
Desmond is still interested in tracing any surviving relatives of Richard, and he’s also trying to contact a researcher called Paul Heath who also appeared to be researching the same family.
Can you help? Please do comment here, or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com.
Graeme Clarke wrote:
I was most interested in the article regarding Richard Meanly Anson.
I also have researched this soldier and attach my research relating to his military service, much of it not covered in the article.
Drafted to France from England on Wednesday 22 September 1915, Richard was mortally wounded in action on Saturday 16 September 1916 and removed to the 44th Casualty Clearing Station at Puchevillers where he succumbed to his injuries.
On the night of Friday 15 September 1916 his battalion moved into the front line trenches near Pozières Cemetery, La Boiselle and received orders to capture and consolidate Mouchet Farm to their fore. The Germans heavily bombed their positions during Saturday 16 September 1916 and at 3.15pm and 5pm they retaliated by bombarding the Germans positions.
At 6.35pm this date a bombing party attacked the German positions resulting in the farm being taken and consolidated, this task being completed by 2am the following morning.
Casualties amounted to 3 officers wounded, 14 other ranks killed and 68 other ranks wounded. A letter to Richard’s parents stated, ‘Three wounded men were lying out in the open in front of the line. Your son, together with his Company C.O. and another officer, at once volunteered to bring them in. They had lifted one on the stretcher when your son was hit, and I regret to say, rather seriously wounded in the abdomen.’
A sister at the hospital also wrote, ‘He was admitted with a severe wound in the abdomen. An operation was performed immediately and a great deal of internal damage was found. He
only lived till 2am on the next morning.’
The War Diary records, ’16 September 1916 – H.Q. in Pozieres Cemetery during this period enemy activity was marked in the vicinity of Mouquet Farm and points mentioned. Enemy bombarded Point 59 very heavily during the day. Our Howitzers bombarded 50 yards each side of Point 42 between 3.15pm and 5pm with excellent results compelling enemy to evacuate Point 42 and High Trench and take shelter in dug outs between Points 31 and 42 and a chalk pit about 75 yards north of Point 59.
‘At 6.35pm bombing parties attacked Point 31 under leadership of Lieutenant J. Foord, bombing the dug outs between that point and 42 which effectively disposed of all German attempts to retake the position. Casualties inflicted on enemy during this operation are at least 500 and it is regretted that owing to the obstinacy of the Germans and short space of time for consolidating, no prisoners were taken.
‘Our casualties amounted to 1 officer killed, 3 officers wounded, 14 other ranks killed and 68 other ranks wounded.’
Richard is buried in Puchevillers British Cemetery, 11 miles north east of Amiens, in Grave IV.D.18 and is also commemorated on the family grave at Rushall Parish Church. He was 24 years of age.
I attach pictues of the family grave,