William Knight Richards

 

Private; 1st Battalion, South Wales Borderers

Killed in action: 10th November 1917, Passchendaele

William Knight Richards was born in Llanishen in 1892 to William John and Florence Elizabeth Richards. The family lived initially in Field Cottage on Fidlas Road, where William’s father worked as a bricklayer and his mother and grandmother as laundresses. His father died in 1907 aged just 37. When William left school he went to work in Llanbradach colliery as an engine greaser, eventually moving back to Llanishen to work in the local post office.

He enlisted in 1917 and was posted to the 1st Battalion of the South Wales Borderers in April of that year. The battalion, as part of the 1st Division, spent the summer posted on the Belgian coast near Nieuport in readiness for an attack along the coast that, due to the failure of the offensive at Ypres/Passchendaele, ultimately never came. In October, they were brought into that terrible mud-soaked battlefield to support the continued push towards the ruins of Passchendaele itself. On the 10th November, as the battle was nearing its end, William was posted as missing in action. He may have been killed by artillery, a stray bullet, or simply as one of the many British soldiers who drowned in the Flanders mud. He was 25 years old.

As his remains were never located, William Knight Richards is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial in Flanders and also on both memorials in St Isan’s Church.