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Charles Douglas "Dick" Richardson

C.D. Richardson, 1910
C.D. Richardson, 1914
C.D. Richardson, ca. 1912-13
C.D. Richardson. Graduation photo, 1915. Courtesy Manitoba Archives.



Richardson, Charles Douglas "Dick", Grenfell, Saskatchewan, B.S.A. (1915). Military Service: Lance Corporal, Reg. No. 475465, 4th University Co., PPCLI, Attestation Papers and Personnel File. Diary References: “He told me that C. D. Richardson died of wounds during the battle,” 4:12 Apr ’17; “Found out a few things about poor Dick Richardson’s end. He was hit in the abdomen one piece piercing the bladder. Died in fearful agony. Wrote to his mother,” 4:7 May ’17; “Two [letters] from home, one each from Mary, Mac[William] and C. D. Richardson’s sister Mrs. [Cora] Shearer,” 5:3 July ’17.


Additional Biographical Information:

L/Cpl. Charles Douglas Richardson was originally from Grenfell, Saskatchewan. He enlisted in October 1915 with the 4th University Company and went overseas in the spring of 1916 after graduating from the Manitoba Agricultural College (M.A.C.) with a B.S.A. Richardson served with the P.P.C.L.I in Belgium, where he was wounded at the Battle of Sanctuary Wood on 2 June 1916. His death occurred in France less than a year later as a result of wounds sustained at the Battle of Vimy Ridge.
See University of Manitoba, Roll of Honour 1914-1918 (Winnipeg: University of Manitoba, 1923), 97.

L/Cpl. Richardson was the son of Benjamin Parkin Richardson and Margaret Ethel Austin of Grenfell, Saskatchewan. Benjamin came west in 1883 and homesteaded on Sec. 18, Township 17, Range 8. According to local sources, his farm was located north of Grenfell in the Weldon District., where he remained with his family until sometime after 1891, when he moved into the Town of Grenfell and established a notary and insurance business.   Apparently, he continued to operate the farm using hired help until his death sometime after 1906. However, it is not clear at this point in the research whether his sons took over the management of their father’s farm holdings.

Charles Douglas Richardson, born 28 Dec 1891, was the fifth of seven children born to B. P. [Benjamin Parkin] Richardson, lawyer, and M. E. [Margaret Ethel, née Austin] Richardson. C. Douglas had three brothers George, Albert, and Clifford, and three sisters, Clara, Ethel, and Cora [later Mrs. Shearer].  1901 Census, Assiniboia N.W.T., District 203, Assiniboia East, Sub-District (North) S.1. Unincorporated Village of Grenfell, p.2.

C. D.  Richardson, aged 14, was listed with his parents, Benjamin P. and Margaret E. Richardson, and his six brothers and sisters. The family had 11 horses, 2 milk cows, 1 other horned animal.  1906 Census, Saskatchewan, Dist. of Qu’Appelle, Sub. Dist. 28, 31 July 1906, p.22.

Charles Douglas was a public school teacher lodging with George Henry Vincent, farmer, and his family in the Moose Jaw area. His brother George was a bookkeeper in a hardware store in Broadview, and brother Albert, assisted by two young hired farm labourers and a housekeeper and her daughter, was farming on 3-17-7. Their mother, Margaret E. Richardson, was now a widow living in Grenfell with her youngest children, Cora and Clifford.. 1911 Census, Saskatchewan, District 211, Enumeration District 7 in Township 20, Range 27, p.7.

1915-1917, and 21 August 1921
For a detailed account of his war service, see Lance Corporal C.D. Richardson's attestation papers and personnel file (links above).

Graduate, C. D. Richardson, 4th Univ. Co., P.P.C.L.I (Killed in Action).
University of Manitoba, Archives and Special Collections, Managra, v. XI, No. 1 (Nov 1917), 6.

During the spring of 1917 there appeared among the casualties for Manitoba the name of Dick Richardson. Probably there has not been a name to appear in the casualty lists which has caused more deep regret or true mourning among the students of the M.A.C. than has that of Dick Richardson. Dick was a member of the ’15 class, and in the year 1914 he graduated, leaving behind him a clean, untainted college career. During his final year he edited the M.A.C. Gazette, and further still he took an active interest in all that makes college worth while.
University of Manitoba, Archives and Special Collections, Managra, v. XI, No. 1 (Nov. 1917), 2.

See also the Canadian Letters And Images Project – Richardson, Charles Douglas for sixty-seven letters written either by C. D. Richardson or about him, including the letter written by Frank Whiting to Richardson’s mother, as well as a photograph, and obituary from the Manitoba Free Press, 5 May 1917.

Richardson, Charles Douglas: BSA ‘16; Enlisted 4-10-15; Pte. PPCLI; L/Cpl; Reverted in order to go O/Seas; Service in France; wounded 2-6-16; Killed in Action 9-4-17 (Plate I).
University of Manitoba, Roll of Honour, 1914-1918 (Winnipeg: University of Manitoba, 1923), 24, 97 (Plate I).

We first came across “Dick Richardson” while annotating Frank Whiting’s war diary. Frank made references to Dick’s death at the Battle of Vimy Ridge and to a letter he had written afterwards to Mrs. Richardson. Subsequent research uncovered additional biographical information and photographs relating to Richardson’s time at the Manitoba Agricultural College, all of which attested to the character of this remarkable young man. Next we discovered over sixty letters online at the Canadian Letters and Images Project, including a typed copy of the letter that Frank wrote to Dick’s mother! We were astonished at our good luck. But there was more. In early June 2010, we discovered four pictures of Dick in the Edna Chapman Collection at the Manitoba Archives. We were ecstatic. Finally, while returning from a brief trip to Regina with his family on 3 July 2010, Raymond Shirritt-Beaumont had to respond to his 4-year old daughter’s urgent appeal for a bathroom break. The very next town was Grenfell, Saskatchewan, and Raymond suddenly remembered that this was the home town of Dick Richardson, the soldier he would be representing at the Historica-Dominion Institute Battlefields Tour, July 12-24. While mother and daughter were in the washroom, he spoke to a couple of people at the gas station, and Mrs. Ethel Reiger, a local resident, referred him to the museum, which just happened to be open. The next stop, no more than five minutes away, was “Adare”, an interesting old house dating back to about 1901, which is worth seeing in its own right. However, it was the Annex to the museum that contained the real treasure.  While his sons became engrossed in the swords, shells, bombs, and other military paraphernalia on display there, Raymond looked for something on C. D. Richardson. With the help of a local volunteer at the museum, he found what he was looking for and more. Among the treasures that had been donated to the museum was Frank’s original, hand-written letter to Dick Richardson’s mother. The last piece of the puzzle had been found. It doesn’t get much better than that!


Date of Death: between 9 April and 10 April 1917. See casualty details, Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Buried at Lievin Communal Cemetery Extension, Lievin, Pas de Calais, France. Grave reference: III. C. 1.


Lievin Communal Cemetery Extension, Lievin, Pas de Calais, France


Lievin Communal Cemetery Extension