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Richard Derbyshire was born in Westhoughton on 11th July 1882 and was the son of George, a Wigan-born fireman in a coal mine, and Mary (nee Smith). The couple had married at St Bartholomew’s church on New Year’s Day 1874 and Richard was their (fifth child). His siblings were;

  • William Henry Derbyshire (b. c1875)
  • Merriam Derbyshire (b. c1877)
  • James Smith Derbyshire (b. c1879)
  • Mary Ann Derbyshire (b. c1880)
  • Richard Derbyshire
  • John Derbyshire (b. c1884)
  • George Derbyshire (b. c1886)
  • Jane Derbyshire (b. c1888)
  • Robert Derbyshire (b. 1891)

In 1891 the family were living at 6 Leigh Common and Richard was still in school. In 1901 the family was found at 129 Wigan Road – he was 18 years and worked as a labourer (underground) in a colliery. Ten years later, at the time of the 1911 census, he 28 years old and still living with his parents but now at 113 Church Street.

Unfortunately Richard’s service papers do not appear to have survived, but it is known he enlisted for service with Kitchener’s Army shortly after war broke out and joined the 10th (Service) Battalion of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment with the number 19574.
After a period of training in the UK the 10th Battalion embarked for Boulogne on 31st July 1915 and arrived the next morning.
Richard was killed on 3rd August 1916. The war diary for this date shows the Battalion were in the vicinity of BECOURT WOOD on the Somme and were practicing bombing up and down the trenches.

The war diary makes no mention of casualties yet at least two other men were also killed on this day.

  • 12983 Private Edward Kenyon
  • 13312 Private Richard Morley

Service records for both Kenyon and Morley exist and have been checked, but no further details about their deaths are apparent. Two days before they were killed BECOURT WOOD had been heavily shelled.

The three men were not recovered from the battlefield and as such they are remembered on the Thiepval Memorial to the missing. Richard is also remembered on his parents headstone in Westhoughton cemetery*

Rank: Private
Service No: 19574
Date of Death: 03/08/1916
Age: 34
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 10th Bn.

* The family headstone spells their surname as Darbyshire although this spelling was not used by them on census returns or any other surviving document I have found.

Paul McCormick
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