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Richard Stevenson was born in Preston in October 1889 to James Archer and Jane Stevenson.

On 15th September 1914, Richard enlisted in the Territorial Force at Preston and joined the 1/4th (Territorial) Battalion of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment with the number 2554.

Until this point he had been living at 216 Selbourne St, Preston with his mother and father and was working as a labourer.

Richard was embodied the same day and attended a medical assessment where the surgeon recorded that he was 26 years 4 months old, stood 5ft 4.25 in tall with a 34.5in chest. Somewhat bizarrely, four days later he went into the recruiting office in Garstang and enlisted into the Royal Artillery, telling them he was a time expired solider that had served from 1906 – 1910 (unconfirmed).

He was accepted into the Artillery and underwent another medical examination from where he was declared fit for service and posted into their Depot. Richard didn’t do that though, he returned to the Loyals and three days later signed the agreement that would enable him, as a Territorial soldier, to serve overseas. The only reason I can think for his attesting into both the Lancs and the Artillery is that he was keen to get overseas as soon as possible.

After a period of training in the UK he sailed for France on 4th May 1915 with the main body of the 1/4th Battalion and would be involved in their first major action a month later at the Battle of Festubert, the great bayonet charge. During his time overseas, Richard incurred Regimental entries for drunkenness, fighting and being AWOL. The last of these unauthorised absences was clearly the last straw for the Military Authorities who charged him with desertion and ordered he be shot at dawn in late 1916.

Private Richard Stevenson was shot for desertion on the morning of 25th October 1916. His mother, Jane, later received the notification of his death.

Richard was 26 years old and was buried in the Poperinghe New Military Cemetery.

National Arboretum, September 2016

National Arboretum, September 2016

Rank: Private
Service No: 2554
Date of Death: 25/10/1916
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 1st/4th Bn.





Paul McCormick
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