Lancelot Lytton (Lance) RICHARDSON MC

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RICHARDSON, Lancelot Lytton

Service Number: 66
Enlisted: 24 September 1914
Last Rank: Captain
Last Unit: Royal Flying Corps
Born: Grenfell, New South Wales, Australia, 18 October 1895
Home Town: Barraba, Tamworth Municipality, New South Wales
Schooling: North Shore Church of England Grammar School, New South Wales, Australia
Occupation: Grazier
Died: Killed In Action, France, 13 April 1917, aged 21 years
Cemetery: Bois-Carre British Cemetery, Thelus, France
II. C. 14.
Memorials: Barraba War Memorial, Northbridge (Shore) Sydney Church of England Grammar School Memorial Cricket Ground Roll of Honour
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World War 1 Service

24 Sep 1914: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 66, 6th Light Horse Regiment
21 Dec 1914: Involvement Private, SN 66, 6th Light Horse Regiment
21 Dec 1914: Embarked Private, SN 66, 6th Light Horse Regiment, HMAT Suevic, Sydney
27 Dec 1915: Discharged AIF WW1, Sergeant, SN 66, 6th Light Horse Regiment
28 Dec 1915: Enlisted British Forces (All Conflicts), Second Lieutenant, Royal Flying Corps
20 Jul 1916: Wounded British Forces (All Conflicts), Second Lieutenant, Royal Flying Corps, GSW both arms and thigh (severe)
1 Jan 1917: Promoted British Forces (All Conflicts), Captain, Royal Flying Corps
13 Apr 1917: Involvement British Forces (All Conflicts), Captain, Royal Flying Corps
11 May 1917: Honoured Military Cross, For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He attacked a formation of five hostile scouts, and brought two of them down. On another occasion, although himself wounded, he destroyed two hostile machines, and drove down, damaged, at least two others.

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Biography contributed by Stephen Brooks

Lancelot Lytton Richardson was the youngest son of the late Mr. William Richardson, Bogolong, Grenfell, and Mrs. E. G. Richardson, Bereen, Barraba. He volunteered on the outbreak of the war at the age of l8, just after leaving the North Shore Church of England Grammar School, where he was captain of the football team, stroke of the eight, and captain of boxing. He joined up with his older brother, Rupert Noel Richardson who had joined the regiment in 1908. Like his youngest brother, Rupert had attended Shore (1903-1907) and played in the 1st XV. Rupert was commissioned as a Lieutenant in the 6 Light Horse AIF, and the brothers embarked HMAT Suevic together on 19 December 1914 for the Suez Canal and Egypt. Lancelot was sergeant in the 6th Light Horse at Gallipoli, and was invalided to Malta, thence to England. His brother Rupert, then a Captain was killed when ay 9pm on Tuesday 16 September, a Turkish 75mm shell struck the parapet at Ryries Post. Captain Rupert Richardson was hit (‘shrapnel wound head’) and died soon after at 1 Australian Casualty Clearing Station. 

Lancelot Richardson joined the 25th Squadron Royal Flying Corps in France flying the FE aircraft. He became an ‘ace’ on 20 July 1916 when he claimed his fourth and fifth aerial victories during which action he was severely wounded in both arms and thigh. After spending 7 months recovering in England he returned to France, having been gazetted Captain.

The citation for his Military Cross, gazetted in May 1917, may refer to this encounter: 

“For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He attacked a formation of five hostile scouts, and brought two of them down. On another occasion, although himself wounded, he destroyed two hostile machines, and drove down, damaged, at least two others.” 

During February and March 1917 Richardson shot down another two German aircraft bringing his total score to seven. At 6.40pm, nine 25 Squadron FEs took off on a bomb raid against Henin-Lietard. Taking the air, the German pilots were too late to stop the attack, and the air battle began while the FEs were still dropping their bombs. The clash came over Henin at 1930, the FE crews claiming no fewer than four Albatros DIIIs destroyed as the running fight ensued. Hans Klein of Jasta 4 attacked the FEs at the front of the stream that were now heading for home. The first FE to go down went under the guns of Klein, A6372 falling near Vimy, having almost made it, piloted by Captain Lancelot Lytton Richardson.

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