Samuel Jabez RICHARDS


RICHARDS, Samuel Jabez

Service Number: Officer
Enlisted: 26 October 1914, Brisbane, Queensland
Last Rank: Major
Last Unit: Army Medical Corps (AIF)
Born: Launceston, Tasmania, 7 February 1864
Home Town: Mount Morgan, Rockhampton, Queensland
Schooling: Launceston Public School and University of Sydney
Occupation: Physician/Surgeon
Died: Died of Illness (Pneumonia), Gallipoli, 21 July 1915, aged 51 years
Cemetery: No known grave - "Known Unto God"
No known grave - At sea (HS Sicilia)
Tree Plaque: Not yet discovered
Memorials: Australian War Memorial, Roll of Honour, Lone Pine Memorial to the Missing
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World War 1 Service

26 Oct 1914: Enlisted AIF WW1, Major, SN Officer, Brisbane, Queensland
5 Dec 1914: Involvement AIF WW1, Major, SN Officer, 1st Australian Clearing Hospital, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
5 Dec 1914: Embarked AIF WW1, Major, 1st Australian Clearing Hospital, HMAT Kyarra, Melbourne
25 Apr 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Major, SN Officer, Army Medical Corps (AIF), 'ANZAC' / Gallipoli
21 Jul 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Major, Army Medical Corps (AIF), 'ANZAC' / Gallipoli
21 Jul 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Major, SN Officer, 1st Australian Clearing Hospital, 'ANZAC' / Gallipoli

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Biography contributed by Paul Trevor

Samuel Jabez Richards, a doctor and surgeon in practice at Mount Morgan, Queensland in 1914, applied for a commission in the Australian Imperial Expeditionary Force aged 50, 26 Oct. 1914 and was appointed a major. He embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAS A55 Kyarra on 5 Dec. 1914 and was attached to the First Australian Clearing Hospital in Egypt, 23 Jan.-1 Mar. 1915 and Gallipoli, 6 Mar.-13 July 1915. He died of pneumonia at the Dardanelles, on hospital ship Sicilia, 21 July 1915 and was buried at sea.

'Samuel Jabez Richards felt that because the Australian Imperial Forces were really short of doctors, he would take himself off to the War at the age of 50. So he set up the first casualty station on the beach of Gallipoli on the 25th. "He set up the hospital and from that moment on he didn’t sleep for three days and two nights – just attending to all of the troops that had to come through after being wounded. It was their decision to make as to whether the wounded soldiers would either have a band aid put on their finger or they would be sent to Malta or back to Alexandria for treatment.

"He was one of eight doctors. One of the doctors who was in charge died fairly early on, he then became the doctor in charge and after three months he himself fell quite ill and was taken by ship to Malta but he never survived the voyage. He died at sea and is buried at sea.” Doctor Richards was one of three in his family to go to the war – with two of his sons also involved in the Gallipoli Campaign. "Both of his sons went to the Western Front," Peter said. "One of his sons was a doctor, one was a dentist. Both came home." from Mount Morgan Argus 7th-21st May 2015 (


Major S. J. Richards, writing from Gallipoli to Mrs. Richards says:—
'I came ashore with the advance party of the Clearing Hospital as a part of the landing party on the first morning on the 25th of April. I have not been hit, although we get plenty of shrapnel about here, and we landed in a perfect hail of it. All the wounded pass through our hands so you can imagine how busy we are. You will have heard of all the great doings of the Australians through the papers, and they are following up well all the early achievements. They are magnificent fellows, and are heroic in their sufferings.

The triangular bandages sent to us by the Mount Morgan Sewing Guild have proved to be indispensable, and we shall be thankful for some more. The Light Horse are coming here dismounted in very welcome, numbers, and are doing well. The Second Light Horse (Queensland) made a gallant fight when they got into a death trap, but they lost fearfully from machine guns. Major Graham was killed and Captain Birkbeck wounded. Lieutenant Boyd was using a periscope, trying to get a shot at the Turks with his revolver over the sandbags, when he was hit in the arm. He was progressing favourably when I last heard of him before his ship left for Alexandria. He was very pleased to see me as he had heard that I had been blown out, and as I had heard the same from other sources, when men arrived from Egypt, I thought I had better send you the cable, I did, letting you know that I was well.

I have been told that Mr. Boyd was much liked by all the men under him. The Turkish word for water is 'su,' and 'hekim' means doctor, and the knowledge of these words I found very useful during the last few days in dealing with Turkish prisoners who had been brought in wounded. Private Liddell was shot in the hip and another missile broke his arm. He was in bathing with about twenty others when the Turks pumped about twenty shells into the water, only, however wounding three. Young Russell, from Stanwell, strained himself a little in carrying Liddell out of the water; and I sent him to Lemnos for a week's spell.

I have met and had a chat to Lieutenants H. McLaughlin, D. Rutherford.and T. Fargher, Sergeant Jack Orr, Corporal Locke, Privates C. Hennegan, Percy Gooch, Narkerris, J. O'Connor, Roy Swain, Alan Williams and Claude Smith. Trumpeter Stan Simmonds, and Sergeants Crain and Harry Foster, and they were all looking and feeling well. I also saw Sapper Stronghead and his fellow party of miners from Mount Morgan. I also saw Jack Donnelly, who used to be in command of the Rockhampton Squadron. "I cannot find time to write to anyone else as we are very busy indeed, but please remember me to all friends and give them my kind regards." from The Capricornian 24 July 1915 (


Our Mount Morgan correspondent also writes:— "Mrs. S. J. Richards has received the distressing intelligence that her husband, Major S. J. Richards, has contracted pneumonia at Gallipoli and that his condition is serious. Mrs. Richards has cabled for further information, which the very large circle of friends of the major and his family trusts will be satisfactory." from The Capricornian 31 Jul 1915 (