Private Gordon Richardson



Gordon Richardson was born on 30 December 1891 at Derryinver, Lurgan, County Armagh, the twelfth of thirteen children of weaver and retired soldier William Richardson and his wife Sarah (nee Sergeant). At least two of his brothers also served in the army - one was killed in the Boer War and another died while serving in India. By 1911 he was living at 6 Young Street, Lisburn, with his parents and three sisters, and serving an apprenticeship as a compositor with the Lisburn Standard. By then all of his six brothers had passed away, as had one of his six sisters.

Richardson enlisted in the North Irish Horse at Lisburn on 20 August 1910 (No.530). He embarked for France with A Squadron on 17 August 1914, seeing action on the retreat from Mons and advance to the Aisne. Later that year the Lisburn Standard reported:


Trooper J. Gordon Richardson ... went out with one of the first detachments, since when no news of his whereabouts has been forthcoming.

Trooper Richardson just this week would have completed his seven years' apprenticeship in the "Standard" Office. All the boys in the shop naturally feel proud that at least one of their number is in the fighting line.

Trooper Richardson comes of a good fighting stock. His father, Mr. William Richardson (of Laganvale Terrace), is an old Crimea veteran who saw much hard fighting in the defence of his country during his twenty-one years' service. His only regret is that he is now too old to shoulder a rifle against the Germans. All his three sons became connected with the Army. One of them was killed in the South African War, and another died while soldiering in India. Now the youngest, and only surviving son, has gone to the front to uphold the family reputation.

That he will prove himself a Britisher to the backbone we have no fear, and all in the works wish Gordon, should the "Standard" by any means reach him on the battlefield, the best of good fortune and a safe return.

On 19 January 1915 the Belfast News-Letter reported that:

A number of women and girls connected with Sloan Street Presbyterian Church, Lisburn, have formed a sewing circle for providing comforts for the soldiers at the front. Two good parcels, containing socks, shirts, chocolate, fruit cakes, &c., were despatched before Christmas to the care of Gordon Richardson, a member of the congregation, who has been serving since the beginning of the war with the Expeditionary Force as a private in the North Irish Horse. A letter has just been received by Miss Maud Gamble, secretary to the sewing circle, in which Private Richardson says – "Indeed it was very kind of you and other ladies, too, to send the generous gifts for my comrades and myself. I have not much time to say much, but I can tell you there were a few pals in bad need of shirts, and when I had handed them round I had not one left for myself. I would like if you would thank the ladies who had subscribed towards the making up of the parcels." Private Richardson is barely 19 years of age, and has been in several engagements. A brother served in the Boer war and died in South Africa. His father served in the Abyssinian war, and is still living.

Richardson's period of service (four years plus a 12 month extension on the declaration of war) expired on 19 August 1915. He elected to leave the army and return home, thus becoming the first North Irish Horseman to become 'time expired' during the war. His record of service was marked as 'good'.

In May 1918 he applied for an Army Pension, but this was rejected.


Image from the Lisburn Herald kindly provided by Nigel Henderson, Researcher at History Hub Ulster (