Richardson W G T G

Private 28227 William Gladstone Thomas George Richardson, 7th Battalion Yorkshire Regiment

W%20G%20Thomas%20George%20Richardson.jpg

Killed in action 13th May, 1917

William Gladstone Thomas George Richardson was born in Stokesley in 1889.   He was the son of Isaac George Richardson and Anne Dorothy Alderson and therefore the brother of Stephen Ernest Harold Richardson.   (See Richardson S.E.H. for further details of his family).

In 1911 William G. Thomas George was an assistant in his father’s shop (the West End Stores or IGR’s as it was known) which occupied the building which until recently was the Victoria Wine Stores, opposite Handiside's in the town. He was a religious man, a Methodist Sunday School teacher and a member of the Methodist chapel choir. He would no doubt have been proud to know that in 2013, more than ninety years after his passing, his grand-daughter would be choir leader and organist at his chapel.

In 1913 WGTG  married Adelina Stockdale Clarkson the daughter of Thomas Edward Clarkson, an elementary school teacher.

Thomas Clarkson was originally from Whitby and his wife, Florence was from Malton.  However, they were settled in Stokesley by the time of the 1891 census. Adelina (known as Dora) came from a huge family, and at her marriage she had 9 surviving siblings: Herbert, Florence Maud, Thomas Edward, Beatrice Annie, William Ernest, Charles, Blanche, Vera Eileen, Harold Robert. 

Thomas George and Adelina soon had 2 children of their own: Thomas George born 1914 and William born 1915.  The outbreak of war seems to have precluded any further growth in their young family.

Despite his impressive array of Christian names, WGTG Richardson seems to have enlisted simply as Thomas George Richardson and became Private 28227 T.G, Richardson of the 7th Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment,  which became part of the 50th Brigade, 17th (Northern) Division of the 3rd Army.

According to the Book of Remembrance Thomas was sent to France some time in 1916 but after only 2 weeks was wounded  badly enough to be sent  to hospital in Aberdeen. He returned to the front in April 1917.  This was at a time when his division was engaged in the Arras Offensive and in particular the action known as 2nd Battle of Scarpe (April, 1917)  which ended with the capture of Roeux (13th and 14th May).

According to Sir Douglas Haig's reports the weather at his time was cold, with heavy snowstorms and wind.  This was followed by fog and then more gales. The bad weather hindered relief and movement of troops. Haig noted with pride that his troops carried on with the “utmost gallantry.”

Throughout April the 17th Division saw action while providing relief for the 37th Brigade.  which had suffered many casualties, the 17th being one of only 2 divisions covering the whole line from north of the Cojeul River to the south of the Scarpe (17th held the north).  The British defences were stretched for lack of numbers, even before having to undertake an attack  to the north of Roeux.  In fact, in April, the British objectives had been largely met, but  it was then decided to continue with attacks in order to prepare the way for a French initiative which was due to commence on 5th May. 

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (see “The British Campaign in France and Flanders Vol iv” at www.gutenberg.net.au) has pointed out that the incessant and countless attacks by the German defenders during this time was an indication of the scale of the importance that they attached to the area.  Certainly great strains had been placed on all the regiments involved in the fighting in this sector, and afterwards they were given rest and relief as soon as possible, and before the next big push at Passchendale. 

WGTG Richardson’s death occurred as this bitter struggle was being conducted, and he is recorded as dying on 13th May 1917 He was one of four brothers who served in the Great War, and one of the two who fell.

Private Richardson was 28 years old when he died, leaving a widow and two children.  He was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.  He has no known grave but his name is commemorated on Bay 5 of the Arras Memorial, Pas de Calais.

His widow Adelina died in 1925 in Amersham, Kent, but their sons were raised by two of WGTG's sisters, and 'William Gladstone' Richardson still has descendants in the town

Go to next soldier: Richmond A.

Back to The Fallen - the Dead of 1914-18

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License