Information submitted by Liz Thompson, a resident of Richmond.
Michael Joseph Kavanagh (Liz’s Great-Uncle) was born in Walsall, Staffordshire on 20 February 1879. He joined the South Staffordshire Regiment, serving in the Boer War in the Cape Colony, the Transvaal and at Wittegbergin. At the outbreak of the First World War he reenlisted into the same regiment as a Private and advanced to the rank of Colour Sergeant. He was Commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in January 1915 and promoted to Lieutenant in September of the same year.
He was wounded twice during the Battle of the Somme and was awarded the Military Cross. The citation published in the London Gazette stated “For conspicuous gallantry during operations. Though knocked over and wounded by a shell, he took over command of a machine gun company two days later, and, suffering from shock and considerable pain, stuck to his command and did good work”. He was promoted to Acting Captain on 8 March 1918. On his retirement in November 1919, Michael Joseph Kavanagh was granted the full rank of Captain.
In later life Captain Kavanagh moved into local politics, being elected to the position of Mayor of Walsall in 1945. During the Second World War he served as Platoon Commander of No. 21 Platoon of the 27th Staffordshire Home Guard.
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Photographic research by Stuart Hodgson. Charles Organ had a long career in the army before arriving at Richmond Depot and acting as Recruiting Officer during the First World War, as his record from our museum catalogue recounts: Born at Woolwich 13th October 1853. Charles Organ joined as a Private 13th January 1873, Corporal 11th October 1873, Sergeant 15th August 1874, Colour Sergeant 27th August 1875, promoted to RSM on the 20th April 1882 and QM 1883, Hon. Captain 8th August 1893, Hon. Major 29th November 1900. He served in Bermuda, Halifax, Malta, Egypt, Cyprus, Egypt, Gibraltar and South Africa. He was employed as the Regimental Transport Officer 12th Dec 1900 – Sept 1902. Retired on 1st September 1902 but was then appointed QM the Royal Hospital Chelsea October 1903 – 1st September 1912, Created a MVO by King Edward July 1905. He served in the Nile Expedition 1885, Sudan Frontier Force, 1885-6, Boer War 1899-1902 including operations around Colesberg, actions at Paardeberg, Kitchener’s Kop, Proplar Grove and Drifontein and the occupation of Bloemfontein, was with the advance on Dewetsdorp, and action at Leuukop, in the march to Pretoria, actions at Brandfort, Kroonstadt, Vet and Zand rivers, and Johannesburg: took part in the advance eastwards, including the battles of Diamond Hill and Belfast – mentioned in despatches. He served with the Depot between August and November 1914 and then appointed as Staff Recruiting Officer in December 1915 becoming the Sub Area Commander for Gosport on the 19th February 1916. Died at…
George William Cattermole was born in Tudhoe County Durham in 1889 to George, a colliery worker, and Mary. He had two elder sisters called Sarah and Elizabeth. By 1906 he had left school and became a farm labourer. Aged 17 he travelled to Richmond and enlisted into the Yorkshire Regiment, 23rd April 1906. He was initially posted to the 3rd battalion and remains with the Yorkshire Regiment, recorded as living in the barracks at York during the 1911 census. By September 1918 Pte Cattermole is serving with the 2nd Battalion who were deployed near Arras. The war diaries describe the battalions involvement in an attack on the village of Epinoy on 27th September 1918 during which 5 officers and 127 other ranks are recorded as missing, possibly including George. Shortly after the regimental gazettes record George as a prisoner of war. He is released from captivity after the armistice on 11th November 1918 and returned to England.
Arthur John Buchanan Richardson Arthur was born in Guisborough North Yorkshire in the first quarter 1895. He was the eldest son of Colonel William Richardson, a solicitor of Guisborough and his wife Averil Mary, daughter of Arthur Buchannan, also a solicitor of Guisborough. Arthur entered Rugby Public School, Warwickshire, in 1909 and left in 1913. In August 1913 he entered as an Articled Clerk in the firm of Solicitors founded by his great grandfather and carried on by his grandfather. He received his Commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 4th Battalion, The Yorkshire Regiment in June, 1913, and went to camp with them in August, 1913. He was again in camp in August 1914, at Colwyn Bay, when War broke out. The Regiment was recalled into training at Darlington, when he was given the command and a new Company of Signallers. He next went with the Battalion to Newcastle on Tyne, on coastal defence. Arthur would not die leading his men over no-man’s-land or in some heroic fighting. He would die of meningitis, contracted on service, in his billet at Newcastle on 4th January 1915. Three months later, the Battalion went out to France. Arthur was just 19 years old. A local newspaper report, headed “Cleveland Mourns the Death of a Gallant Officer”, provides details of a military funeral at Guisborough Church attended by local dignitaries: ‘The coffin was borne by men of the 4th Battalion, with fellow Officers Colonel Bell, Captain Charlton and Lts Williams and Jervelund present….