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Richard Hall Ward was born at the Shuttleworth Arms Public House in Broughton near Preston in 1891 the son of Thomas and Anne Ward (nee Hall). Thomas and Anne married in St. Anne`s Church in Great Eccleston in 1882 and they went on to have six children including Richard, the others being; Ada Nellie (1886), May Beatrice (1887), James Henry (1888), Thomas Edward (1889) and William Rossall (1896).

In 1891 Thomas Ward was a farmer and also the Licensed Victualler of the Shuttleworth Arms in Broughton. Thomas and Anne, daughter Ada and sons` James, Thomas and Richard all lived at the public house and the family also had six servants; Elizabeth Parkinson 21, Alice Crabtree 23, Jane Parkinson 13, John Bamber 23, Henry Fowler 34 and Thomas Glover 24, the latter two both being employed as grooms. Richard and his family were still resident at the Shuttleworth Arms when the 1901 Census was taken although the number of servants had been reduced to three; John Birchall a farm man, Jane Blackburn a servant and a young lady named Sarah who was a barmaid.

At some point between 1901 and 1911 Richard and his parents together with Ada, Thomas and William had moved to the Pack Horse Hotel in Garstang which was later renamed the Temperance Hotel. When the 1911 Census was recorded it shows Richard working as a barman at the Bourne Arms Hotel in Knott End near Fleetwood. The hotel had nineteen rooms and was being run by John W. Smith and his wife Hannah. Later information states that prior to his enlistment into the Army Richard had been employed by Messrs. Magee, Marshall & Co. Ltd, a brewery company in Bolton.

Richard enlisted into the Army on the 9th November 1914, joining the 4th Battalion Loyal North Lancashire Regiment. He was issued with the service number 3210 which would later become 200984. He was quite tall standing at 5`11” and he had a chest measurement of 38”. He confirmed that he was single and had no previous military experience. He stated that his occupation was a barman and gave his home address as The Temperance Hotel, Garstang. For official purposes he named his father Thomas Ward of the same address as his next of kin.

On the 23rd June 1915 Richard was promoted to Lance Corporal and posted to the 42nd Provisional Battalion. Further promotions quickly followed; Corporal on 7/8/15 and Lance Sergeant by 8/10/15. He signed his agreement to serve abroad at Herne Bay on the 24th January 1916 and a month later he was transferred to the 3/4th (Reserve) Battalion. By November of 1916 Richard had been granted 1st Class Proficiency Pay and then on Christmas Day 1916 he sailed for France. He only spent four days at the Base Depot before being posted to the 1/4th Battalion, joining them in the field on the 29th December 1916 and was subsequently attached to “B” Coy. His promotion to the rank of Sergeant came on the 3rd April 1917.

Sadly, Richard`s war came to an end when he was killed in action on the 31st July 1917, the first day of the 3rd Battle of Ypres (Passchendaele).

“At 03:30hrs on 31st July 1917 the British opened up a heavy artillery barrage on the enemy. Later, the 1/4th Bn, part of the 164th Brigade were tasked to seize and secure the Gheluvelt-Langemarck line.

Midway into their advance towards the objective, casualties began to get particularly heavy, owing to enemy sniper fire, machine-gun fire and shelling from two sides. A number of Officers had also been killed. The Battalion continued to push forward and succeeded in securing their objective by 11:40hrs. The line was held up until around 14:30hrs, until the enemy successfully counter-attacked and forced the Brigade to fall back.

Casualties had been high, just over 50 men from the 1/4th Bn killed; and another 250 men were wounded or missing during the attack”.

The following article was printed in the Preston Guardian not long after the news of Richard`s death had reached his family in Garstang;

200984-sergeant-richard-hall-ward

There is nothing in Richard`s service papers to indicate whether any of his personal possessions were returned to his parents.

After the war Annie Ward signed for her sons` British War and Victory Medals that he was entitled to. However, with regard to his Memorial Plaque, Annie penned a letter to the Military Authorities dated the 15th December 1921 enquiring as to whether she was entitled to receive one.

200984-sergeant-richard-hall-ward-2

Presumably, she did eventually receive Richard`s Memorial Plaque and Scroll in recognition of his sacrifice for his country.

As Richard`s body was never recovered and he has no known grave, his name was later added to the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial to the Missing. His name is also remembered on the War Memorial Plaque in his home town of Garstang.

garstang-memorial

Rank: Serjeant
Service No: 200984
Date of Death: 31/07/1917
Age: 26
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 1st/4th Bn.
Memorial: YPRES (MENIN GATE) MEMORIAL

Janet Davis

Janet Davis

Janet Davis has been researching her family history for many years and through this she discovered many relatives who served in WW1. This interest then led Janet to do many walking the battlefield tours with her husband. In April 2013 she discovered this website and volunteered to help. Janet believes that there are lots of stories still to be told, most of them very sad but at the same time they are a fascinating insight into the men, their families, what they did and where they came from.
Janet Davis

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