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Grave of Ltn. Victor Richardson M.C.


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#1 MichaelBully

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Posted 29 November 2009 - 02:25 PM

I would welcome advice please : I am researching the life of Ltn. Victor Richardson,4th Battalion Royal Sussex, attached 9th K.R.R.C. most remembered as 'Victor' or 'Tah' from Vera Brittain's 'Testament of Youth', 'Chronicle of Youth' and related material.
Victor died on 9th June 1917, after being seriously wounded at Arras on 9th April 1917. Victor lost his eyesight after being wounded and was also suffering from delirium before he died.
Victor was from Hove, where I live. I have found his grave at the (Hove) Old Cemetery, and visit at times. The headstone has fallen from the grave, which is very overgrown . For some reason, Victor was burried away from the Great War graves which are at a different part of the cemetery.
The Great War graves are well looked after in their own section. I would like to ensure that Victor's grave is treated with the same respect but have no idea how one goes about trying to get the headstone put back up and generally maintained with the respect it deserved. Also just cutting the plants back- it's not like I am a relative or have any official sanction to even tidy it up- can anybody appoint themselves to do this? I have not see any signs that someone else visits the grave, and I have been on the anniversary of Victor's death, on Rememberance Sunday, on 11th November, amongst other dates.

#2 burlington

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Posted 29 November 2009 - 02:57 PM

Michael

It does seem as though this is a family grave, and as such is the responsibility of the family.

In extremis you may want to contact the CWGC, but as this does seem to be a family grave they may feel unable to help.

I don't know. Why not contact them?

FYI, there is a pic of the grave HERE.

Good luck

Martin

#3 Paul Reed

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Posted 29 November 2009 - 03:07 PM

It's an official war grave, so if it has fallen into disrepair I believe CWGC will now replace it. Victor's family lived in Hove, so I suspect he is not buried with the other wargraves as he was buried in a plot of their choosing.

I last visited it in the 1980s, when it was in sound condition. Can you post any photos to show what it is like now?

#4 MichaelBully

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Posted 29 November 2009 - 03:10 PM

QUOTE (burlington @ Nov 29 2009, 02:57 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Michael

It does seem as though this is a family grave, and as such is the responsibility of the family.

In extremis you may want to contact the CWGC, but as this does seem to be a family grave they may feel unable to help.

I don't know. Why not contact them?

FYI, there is a pic of the grave HERE.

Good luck

Martin


Hello Martin - thanks for the picture and the advice.
That is not Victor Richardson's grave in the picture, and the picture does not look like being part of the HA section of the Old Cemetery !

Victor's headstone, the part that is remaining ,reads

'In proud and loving memory of Ltd. Victor Richardson M.C.

4th Batt. Royal Sussex Attd. 9th K.R.R.C.

Elder son of Frank and Carrie Richardson

Died 9th June 1917 of wounds received

In the battle of Arras 9th April 1917

Aged 22 years'


Regards
Michael





#5 Geoff Greensmith

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Posted 29 November 2009 - 04:05 PM

The Hove Old Cemetery is council owned they maybe able to help.
Most Cemeteries have groups (friends of cemeteries) again maybe able to help.
Has for clearing the weeds in the plot and surounding area that would be OK.
Anthing else you would have to check if any relatives are still living they may have even left the area.
If no relatives are alive you would need to contact the council sometimes it is the council who lay down the head stone because it became unsafe.
Also another place for advice would be the local undertaker.

Geoff

#6 MichaelBully

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Posted 29 November 2009 - 04:18 PM

QUOTE (Geoff Greensmith @ Nov 29 2009, 04:05 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The Hove Old Cemetery is council owned they maybe able to help.
Most Cemeteries have groups (friends of cemeteries) again maybe able to help.
Has for clearing the weeds in the plot and surounding area that would be OK.
Anthing else you would have to check if any relatives are still living they may have even left the area.
If no relatives are alive you would need to contact the council sometimes it is the council who lay down the head stone because it became unsafe.
Also another place for advice would be the local undertaker.

Geoff



Good advice- appreciated Geoff. The headstone was probably laid down ( possibly by Council staff) rather than fell, thinking about the angle it is resting in.
The whole question of how far Ltn Victor Richardson's memory became public via 'Testament of Youth' ( and with a film version on the way interest in his life could increase ) balanced with the need to be sensitive to the wishes of his family is an important consideration. There seemed to be a particular reason why he was not burried amongst the Great War graves section -perhaps to be nearer to his mother's grave, who died before the Great War.

#7 Soren1915

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Posted 29 November 2009 - 04:19 PM

A little unrelated, I started the group of the 3 musketeers a little while ago:

http://1914-1918.inv...i...=129175&hl=

#8 burlington

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Posted 29 November 2009 - 04:23 PM

QUOTE (MichaelBully @ Nov 29 2009, 03:10 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Hello Martin - thanks for the picture and the advice.
That is not Victor Richardson's grave in the picture, and the picture does not look like being part of the HA section of the Old Cemetery !


Michael
TWGPP have the pic but it has not yet been uploaded. The image you see is a 'holding' image and, as you will have read, the full image is available if you want it.

Paul
So far as I know, and I quote from some advice I have been given:
'Families had the choice or erecting there own headstone which was known as a PM or Private memorial but in doing so forfeited the right to have it maintained by the CWGC where they would have erected a CH (Commission Headstone). The CWGC , if contacted, would erect a CH now if the family gave permission.'

If, indeed, it is a CWGC headstone then of course it should be replaced, renovated or whatever. However, there are very many 'War Graves' in the UK that have now fallen in to disrepair, or indeed, never had a grave marker because of family wishes.

I can quote you examples of 'family' grave markers whose condition causes some concern. In fact, in a recent talk I gave there was one family grave causing concern containing 2 WW1 'death in service' burials whose family said 'we never looked upon them as war graves!' Eventually the grave marker will be gone for ever.

Martin

#9 MichaelBully

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Posted 29 November 2009 - 05:04 PM

Thanks for your feedback.

Martin- oops, I didn't read all the small print on the CWGC link that you posted before responding. Sorry. See what you mean about the 'holding image'.

Paul- I don't have a digital camera but could try and borrow my partner's so perhaps could go up there and take some pictures, but in the next day or two I will order the photo from CWGC.

Soren1915 -thanks for the link to the drawing of the 'Three Musketeers'. Magnificent.





#10 Geoff Greensmith

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Posted 29 November 2009 - 05:25 PM

QUOTE (MichaelBully @ Nov 29 2009, 04:18 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Good advice- appreciated Geoff. The headstone was probably laid down ( possibly by Council staff) rather than fell, thinking about the angle it is resting in.
The whole question of how far Ltn Victor Richardson's memory became public via 'Testament of Youth' ( and with a film version on the way interest in his life could increase ) balanced with the need to be sensitive to the wishes of his family is an important consideration. There seemed to be a particular reason why he was not burried amongst the Great War graves section -perhaps to be nearer to his mother's grave, who died before the Great War.



With what you have just stated am sure such a cemetery has this one will have a supporting group.
From a history point of view the council would not want this famous man,s head stone in such a state but again maybe powerless without getting permission from family members. bit catch 22 am afraid.

Geoff

#11 Paul Reed

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Posted 29 November 2009 - 06:20 PM

I may be wrong but I thought the CWGC had changed its policy on graves in UK burials grounds. An email to them, showing the poor condition of the grave, will no doubt give confirmation one way or another.

#12 burlington

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Posted 29 November 2009 - 06:46 PM

Paul

You may indeed be right.

However, surely the argument must be what the family wanted AT THE TIME. It was they who suffered the torments of bereavement and loss, not the current generation or friends of a cemetery.

As an example, if the family did not want any burial marker in, say, 1917, who are we (and really I not being personal here) to gainsay their wishes?

If the present members of the family have asked for help, then of course we as a community should help them. If not, then perhaps we should let the grave disappear, as indeed so many pre-1914 are doing.

What I am going to do now is to post this comment on it's own thread because I do feel that it raises issues beyond that which were originally intended.

Regards

Martin

#13 Paul Reed

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Posted 29 November 2009 - 08:22 PM

The only thing is that whatever marks the grave, it is still a recognised war grave, otherwise it would not be in CWGC's database (as Victor is). If we leave it untended and don't attempt to redress, then it weakens the case when local authorities move in and try to move marked graves upon the closure of burial grounds and cemeteries. The latter would apply not just to UK, but anywhere.

#14 MichaelBully

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Posted 30 November 2009 - 02:41 PM

Thanks again for all the posts and useful advice.

Looking specifically at Victor Richardson : In 1917 Victor's family seemed to want Victor burried in the section of the cemtery where the 'civilian' graves are, to be near his mother's resting place. In 1933 Vera Brittain's 'Testament of Youth' was published, and now Victor's life entered into many more people's consciousness. Subsequent books such as 'Chronicle of Youth' ( Vera 's War diaries), a TV series in 1979 ( in which Victor was depicted ), now a 'Testament of Youth' movie in which Victor is expected to be portrayed, is on its way and so Victor's life will again to the attention of a large number of people, plus a book containing some of Victor's letters has been published.

Hopefully my own research will also generate some interest into his life , particularly in Hove.

On Rememberance Sunday this month I went to Victor's grave for 11 AM as there is a small civic presence in the main War graves section at the time, but not near where his grave is, ,and I also marked Victor's grave with a wooden British Legion cross for the time period 11 AM Rememberance Sunday ( 8th November) until just after 11 AM on 11th November 2009. Wooden crosses are placed on the War Graves in the cemetry for this time, as to me it is fitting that Victor is remembered at the time. Victor gave everything he possibly could in a war that ( according to what correspondence survives) that he felt should have been fought.

What I intend to do is to take up the issue of maintaining the grave but hope that in doing so I might be able to trace any of Victor's family and consult with them.

Will keep the 'Forum updated. Thanks again

#15 MichaelBully

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Posted 03 December 2009 - 08:18 PM

UPDATE : I have received a photo of Victor Richardson's grave from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, which was taken in 2004. Am trying to work out how to upload it on to here.......it certainly looks very different now. Will try to organise some up to date pictures.

#16 Geoff Greensmith

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Posted 03 December 2009 - 09:36 PM

Michael.

Please PM me the out come .

Thanks.

Geoff

#17 TERRY WORLEDGE

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Posted 17 January 2010 - 06:22 PM

I was there this afternoon. The cross has fallen off the top and broken above the crosspiece but the grave is in pretty fair condition really. Victor, mother and father named on the grave. He is named as the eldest son so maybe there are family members around. Looks like a private grave to me. Pictures at http://cid-93e2e44a6.......on^4s grave It would be nice to get the cross repaired and replaced but I don't think I'd like to interfere in private grief.



#18 MichaelBully

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Posted 19 January 2010 - 10:07 PM

QUOTE (TERRY WORLEDGE @ Jan 17 2010, 06:22 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I was there this afternoon. The cross has fallen off the top and broken above the crosspiece but the grave is in pretty fair condition really. Victor, mother and father named on the grave. He is named as the eldest son so maybe there are family members around. Looks like a private grave to me. Pictures at http://cid-93e2e44a6.......on^4s grave It would be nice to get the cross repaired and replaced but I don't think I'd like to interfere in private grief.



Hello Terry, thank you for posting these pictures.Appreciated. I am still trying to trace Victor Richardson's surviving relatives. Victor had a younger brother Maurice Richardson ( born 1899) who fought in the Royal Navy during the Second World War. I know that Maurice Richardson married on 30th August 1933 to Muriel Angus ( source 'Chronicle of Friendship' -Vera Britain's Diary of the Thirties'. From reading the Vera Brittain biography by Mark Bostridge and Paul Berry (1995) it seems that Maurice Richardson was still alive in 1975 ; if Maurice Richardson had descendants, I presume they would be the closest relatives.
Victor's father Frank Richardson re-married after Victor's death.

#19 TERRY WORLEDGE

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Posted 19 January 2010 - 11:31 PM

QUOTE (MichaelBully @ Jan 19 2010, 10:07 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Hello Terry, thank you for posting these pictures.Appreciated. I am still trying to trace Victor Richardson's surviving relatives. Victor had a younger brother Maurice Richardson ( born 1899) who fought in the Royal Navy during the Second World War. I know that Maurice Richardson married on 30th August 1933 to Muriel Angus ( source 'Chronicle of Friendship' -Vera Britain's Diary of the Thirties'. From reading the Vera Brittain biography by Mark Bostridge and Paul Berry (1995) it seems that Maurice Richardson was still alive in 1975 ; if Maurice Richardson had descendants, I presume they would be the closest relatives.
Victor's father Frank Richardson re-married after Victor's death.



Thanks for the info Michael. I was wondering who the younger son implicit in the title on the gravestone was. I couldn't find the family at 15 Cambridge Road in the 1911 census. Might try Uppingham School for Victor and the others. I wonder if I can track down any descendants via my family history sites. I'll certainly try. Good luck with the quest Terry.

#20 MichaelBully

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Posted 20 January 2010 - 10:18 PM

QUOTE (TERRY WORLEDGE @ Jan 19 2010, 11:31 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Thanks for the info Michael. I was wondering who the younger son implicit in the title on the gravestone was. I couldn't find the family at 15 Cambridge Road in the 1911 census. Might try Uppingham School for Victor and the others. I wonder if I can track down any descendants via my family history sites. I'll certainly try. Good luck with the quest Terry.



Hello Terry, have PM you but will post here as I know that there are other people who have read 'Testament of Youth' : The Richardson family moved to 65 Wilbury Avenue Hove before the Great War, which is the address of Victor's father, Frank Richardson, in Victor's war service records.

With regard to Uppingham school, Victor Richardson , along with Vera Brittain's brother Edward Brittain, and Roland Leighton, who Vera was engaged to, were all in the OTC at Uppingham School until 1914. I have no idea what sort of records were kept by schools of the stature of Uppingham, but the OTC seemed to have played quite an important part in preparing young men of that generation for possible military service. Vera's writings about attending speech day at Uppingham school in 1914, a few weeks before the Great War broke out, are particularly poignant.

I know that Uppingham school had its war memorial to the 'old boys' who died in the Great War. Looking at records of former pupils could be an interesting line of research.



#21 TERRY WORLEDGE

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Posted 21 January 2010 - 09:08 AM

QUOTE (MichaelBully @ Jan 20 2010, 10:18 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Hello Terry, have PM you but will post here as I know that there are other people who have read 'Testament of Youth' : The Richardson family moved to 65 Wilbury Avenue Hove before the Great War, which is the address of Victor's father, Frank Richardson, in Victor's war service records.

With regard to Uppingham school, Victor Richardson , along with Vera Brittain's brother Edward Brittain, and Roland Leighton, who Vera was engaged to, were all in the OTC at Uppingham School until 1914. I have no idea what sort of records were kept by schools of the stature of Uppingham, but the OTC seemed to have played quite an important part in preparing young men of that generation for possible military service. Vera's writings about attending speech day at Uppingham school in 1914, a few weeks before the Great War broke out, are particularly poignant.

I know that Uppingham school had its war memorial to the 'old boys' who died in the Great War. Looking at records of former pupils could be an interesting line of research.

Hi Michael.

I looked up 65 Wilbury Avenue in the 1911 census. Only the two servants there at that time. I haven't been able to find Frank in that census yet. Found him in 1901. Dentist living at 5 Powis Villas, Hove. Emily and the two boys with him. Cook and Housemaid as well. Seems quite a wealthy person. Powis Villas are all flats now but the houses are very large. Number 5 had twelve rooms including the kitchen but minus halls. bathrooms and such according to the 1911 occupant. Yes the OTC was a big thing in the "Letters from a Lost Generation." book. I must get "Testament of Youth." I haven't read that one yet.

Yours Terry.

#22 MichaelBully

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Posted 21 January 2010 - 10:07 PM

QUOTE (TERRY WORLEDGE @ Jan 21 2010, 09:08 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Hi Michael.

I looked up 65 Wilbury Avenue in the 1911 census. Only the two servants there at that time. I haven't been able to find Frank in that census yet. Found him in 1901. Dentist living at 5 Powis Villas, Hove. Emily and the two boys with him. Cook and Housemaid as well. Seems quite a wealthy person. Powis Villas are all flats now but the houses are very large. Number 5 had twelve rooms including the kitchen but minus halls. bathrooms and such according to the 1911 occupant. Yes the OTC was a big thing in the "Letters from a Lost Generation." book. I must get "Testament of Youth." I haven't read that one yet.

Yours Terry.



Hello Terry

Another source for what we know about Victor Richardson is from Vera Brittain's war diaries which were published as 'Chronicle of Youth' -from 1913- 1917 ( the last entry is a few weeks before Victor's death)
The entry for 'Chronicle of Youth' Sunday March 16th 1916 describes a visit Vera made to 65 Wilbury Avenue
"We went to Wilbury Avenue, where they have quite a small house with rather a dreadful view to the back of some blind and shutter works."

With regard to Uppingham school I have tried to research some of the other ex-pupils who would have been contemporaries of Victor Richardson, Edward Brittain and Roland Leighton, but not got very far as yet. The exception is that I have seen Maurice Ellinger's war service records, who was expelled from Uppingham in 1913, and whose family were friends of the Brittain family, living fairly close by to them in Buxton.
Maurice Ellinger did not manage to get to the 'Front, and left the army after taking a deliberate drug overdose. Maurice appears more in 'Chronicle of Youth' then 'Testament of Youth'.

Regards

Michael



#23 TERRY WORLEDGE

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Posted 22 January 2010 - 08:30 PM

QUOTE (MichaelBully @ Jan 21 2010, 10:07 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Hello Terry

Another source for what we know about Victor Richardson is from Vera Brittain's war diaries which were published as 'Chronicle of Youth' -from 1913- 1917 ( the last entry is a few weeks before Victor's death)
The entry for 'Chronicle of Youth' Sunday March 16th 1916 describes a visit Vera made to 65 Wilbury Avenue
"We went to Wilbury Avenue, where they have quite a small house with rather a dreadful view to the back of some blind and shutter works."

With regard to Uppingham school I have tried to research some of the other ex-pupils who would have been contemporaries of Victor Richardson, Edward Brittain and Roland Leighton, but not got very far as yet. The exception is that I have seen Maurice Ellinger's war service records, who was expelled from Uppingham in 1913, and whose family were friends of the Brittain family, living fairly close by to them in Buxton.
Maurice Ellinger did not manage to get to the 'Front, and left the army after taking a deliberate drug overdose. Maurice appears more in 'Chronicle of Youth' then 'Testament of Youth'.

Regards

Michael


I'll have to pop along and get a pic of Wilbury Avenue. It seems to be a hodge podge of different sized buildings looking from the birds eye view in Bing Maps. Hopefully it hasn't been renumbered. These people seem to encapsulate the tragedy of this war so well. See you later Terry.

#24 MichaelBully

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Posted 23 January 2010 - 06:40 PM

QUOTE (TERRY WORLEDGE @ Jan 22 2010, 08:30 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I'll have to pop along and get a pic of Wilbury Avenue. It seems to be a hodge podge of different sized buildings looking from the birds eye view in Bing Maps. Hopefully it hasn't been renumbered. These people seem to encapsulate the tragedy of this war so well. See you later Terry.



Hello Terry, am hoping to go up to see Victor's grave again tomorrow (Sunday 24th January 2010) weather permitting.

Yes , I find through research that I am continually surprised how poignant the impact of the Great War becomes when looking at the life of one individual even though they were just one of so many casualties; like Victor Richardson who lost his eyesight, his sanity then finally his life as a result of wounds endured at Arras or like Maurice Ellinger who desperately aspired to be an officer but underwent what would now be regarded as 'breakdowns' and didn't even make the 'Front.
Hope next time at the National Archives to see what other files survive from those who left Uppingham school in the Summer of 1914.

Regards

Michael




#25 TERRY WORLEDGE

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Posted 26 January 2010 - 07:14 PM

QUOTE (MichaelBully @ Jan 23 2010, 06:40 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Hello Terry, am hoping to go up to see Victor's grave again tomorrow (Sunday 24th January 2010) weather permitting.

Yes , I find through research that I am continually surprised how poignant the impact of the Great War becomes when looking at the life of one individual even though they were just one of so many casualties; like Victor Richardson who lost his eyesight, his sanity then finally his life as a result of wounds endured at Arras or like Maurice Ellinger who desperately aspired to be an officer but underwent what would now be regarded as 'breakdowns' and didn't even make the 'Front.
Hope next time at the National Archives to see what other files survive from those who left Uppingham school in the Summer of 1914.

Regards

Michael
Yes it's very sad to think about all the misery of that time. I remember sitting in a mine crater on the Wytschaete Messines ridge in the 1960s. My cousin remarked how peaceful it was. Regrown with grass and bushes with birds singing and the insect noise. I said they should have kept the place as it was. People should have seen it. I hate the way wars just pass and everyone just gets on with apart from a few minutes a year. But I don't know the alternative. Somehow though it seem obscene that those fields and lanes are not consecrated somehow. I brought the Royal Sussex Organisation up to speed on the grave and they now have pictures and mention of the literary connection on their Hove Old Cemetery page.

See you later Terry.