Paul Goad, a resident of Frenchgate and local history enthusiast submitted his research on one of the families from Frenchgate at the time of the Great War.
The Fawcett family lived at 55 Frenchgate, Richmond throughout the First World Ward. John Fawcett, who worked in agriculture and construction, lived here with his wife Elizabeth Grace, daughter Elizabeth Alice and two sons, Christopher and Cyril Edgar. John was born in Castle Bolton in Wensleydale, Elizabeth Grace in Thornton Buckinghamshire and all three children hailed from the small parish of Walburn, Downholme a little way up Swaledale from Richmond.
At the outbreak of hostilities Christopher was 20 and Cyril 14. As the eldest, Christopher was the first to enlist on 27th November 2015, three months shy of his 22nd birthday. Prior to enlistment he worked as a butcher, a profession he continued after the war. In January 1916 he joined the 4th Battalion of the Durham Light Infantry. The 4th DLI were a reserve Battalion and were station at Seaham Harbour from 1915 through to the end of the War. Records confirm that Christopher was based at Seaham from 1916 to June 1918 serving in D Company. A copy of a charge sheet shows that Christopher was late returning from leave on June 12th 1916 for which he was forfeited 1 days pay.
In October 1917 Cyril enlisted at the age of 18 years and 1 month, giving his trade as a Motor Driver. Despite his Attestation papers suggesting that he was interested in joining the Royal Naval Air Service he was posted to the 22nd Battalion Durham Light Infantry. Following initial training Cyril joined his Battalion in France on April 1st 1918. In May as part of the 8th Division the Battalion was moved to a ‘quiet’ part of the front south of the River Aisne. When the Germans attacked on 27 May, the 22nd Battalion, although Pioneers fought as infantrymen. Losses were significant with Cyril being one of the many casualties killed in action. He was posthumously awarded the British War Medal and Victory Medal.
At the time of his brother’s death Christopher was hospitalised in Seaham Infirmary with influenza. In late 1918 Christopher was transferred to the 12th Battalion DLI and joined them in Italy. In July 1919, still in Italy, he was transferred to the 22nd Battalion the Manchester Regiment. He returned to England in October 1919 before being demobilised in November. He too, was subsequently awarded the British War Medal and Victory Medal.
It would seem from his records that he returned to his pre-war employer Sykes and Sons Butchers. Christopher married Edith Bickerdike in the autumn of 1930 and they had two children Margaret and David. Christopher continued to live in Richmond until his death in 1960.
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John Francis Allan (pictured here as a child) was Vicky Hurwood’s great uncle. He was born in Richmond on 7 December 1886, the fifth son of Leonard and Mary Allan. During the First World War he served as Stoker Petty Officer J F Allan K/89 aboard HMS Formidable. Following the outbreak of World War I, the ship was part of the 5th Battle Squadron which conducted operations in the English Channel. The ship and her men were was based at Portland and then Sheerness to guard against a possible German invasion. Despite reports of submarine activity, early in the morning of 1 January 1915, whilst on exercise in the English Channel, Formidable sank after being hit by two torpedoes from U-24. The loss of life amounted to 35 officers (including the Captain) and 512 men from a compliment of 780. She was the second British battleship to be sunk by enemy action during the First World War. Stoker PO John Allan has no known grave and is commemorated on the Chatham Naval Memorial and Richmond War Memorial.
Researched by Will Young. Born on 20th July 1897 at Port Elgin, Ontario, Canada, Evan Kerruish was destined to be burried in distant Catterick at the age of 20. His parents were the Rev. Thomas and Mrs Maria Kerruish of Hamilton, Ontario. He enlisted into 153 (Wellington) Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force on 6th October 1915. He sailed from Halifax, Nova Scotia on the sister ship of the Titanic, the SS Olympic on 29th April 1917 and landed at Liverpool on 7 May. Kerruish was commissioned into the Royal Naval Air Service on 9th October 1917, serving with Torpedo Squadron No 1. The cause of his death on 13th July 1918 and reason for burial at Catterick are unknown.
Paul Goad of Frenchgate told us about his Great-Uncle, Henry Jesse Richardson. Henry was born in March 1889 in Hailsham, East Sussex, where he lived prior to enlistment. In the 1911 census he gave his profession as Mat Making, his Father William, being a Mat Weaver at that time. Hailsham had a vibrant string, twine and rope based industry at the time from which they gained their employment. Henry enlisted in 1916 at Purfleet and joined the 13th London Regiment (Princess Louise’s Kensington Battalion). Henry’s Service medal and Award Rolls show that he served on the Western Front from September 1st 1916 until his death on August 16th 1917 at the Battle of Langemarck. During his time in theatre Henry’s Battalion were in action at the Battles of Ginchy, Flers-Courcelette and Morval in 1916 and the Second Battle of Arras in 1917. Henry’s burial spot is at Ypres, Arrondissement Ieper, West Flanders Belgium. He is also remembered on the roll of Hailsham War Memorial.