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Richard Wilson was born in Woodplumpton near Preston in 1890 to James and Mary Wilson (nee Whalley). Richard`s parents were married on the 19 July, 1868 in St. Anne`s Church in Woodplumpton and they had at least thirteen children but not all of them survived infancy.

In 1901 Richard was living next door to the Post Office in Woodplumpton with his parents, two sisters Elizabeth (1878) and Annie (1885) and a brother Edmund (1892). Richard`s father was working locally as an agricultural labourer and his sister Annie was a domestic servant.

By the time of the 1911 Census Richard had moved away from home to go and work as a general servant for John and Margaret Ashworth who were farming locally on Bartle Hall Farm. His father had died five years earlier and his widowed mother Mary was living at Rose Cottage in Woodplumpton where she was working as a church caretaker.

Unfortunately Richard`s service papers do not seem to have survived so there is very little detailed information available. However, according to the newspaper article below it states that he enlisted about December 1914 and prior to his enlistment he was still employed by the Ashworth family on Bartle Hall Farm.

He was posted to the 9th (Service) Battalion and allocated the service number 19118. The 9th Battalion were in the 74th Brigade of the 25th Division and they remained in training in England until the autumn of 1915.

On the 24th September 1915 the advance party together with the battalion transport sailed from Southampton to Le Havre while the remainder of the Battalion sailed from Folkestone to Boulogne the following day (25th).

Richard must have done well and impressed his superiors because at some point he achieved the rank of Corporal.

At the beginning of October 1916 the Battalion was in reserve billets around Aveluy on the Somme but on the 5th October 1916 they were moved up to the front to take over a line of front trenches. It was here that Richard was killed when a shell burst nearby and he was hit by shrapnel.

The Preston Guardian later printed the following article.


Richard was awarded the 1915 Star, British War and Victory Medals for his sacrifice for his country. It is not known whether any of his personal effects were ever returned to his family.

After his death Richard may well have been buried behind the front lines but over time his grave was lost and so his name is remembered with honour on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing on the Somme. He is also remembered on his local War Memorial in Woodplumpton.

woodplumptonwm wilson2


Rank: Corporal
Service No: 19118
Date of Death: 10/10/1916
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 9th Bn.

Janet Davis
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