Lives Lived and Lives Lost - Portsmouth and the Great War

The branch of the Richards family of which Maurice Tom was a member seems to have originated in Gosport, at least that is where his father Thomas Edward Richards was born in 1866. Records don't show exactly when Thomas moved to Portsmouth but it was almost certainly associated with his enlistment in the Royal Marines Artillery as he was listed in the 1881 census, when he was just 15 years old, at the RMA Barracks at Eastney where he was a bugler.
Thomas was probably serving overseas in 1891 as he does not appear in the census of that year, but he had certainly returned to the UK by 1893 as in that year he married Caroline Fanny Oakley. By 1901 Thomas and Caroline were living very close to the barracks at 32 Henderson Road, Eastney which is probably where their first two children, Margery Fanny (b. 1895) and Maurice Tom (b. 1896) were born.

In 1908 Maurice Tom was sent to the Secondary School in Victoria Road North, Southsea where he stayed for three years. School records list his main attributes as being on the sports field but do not mention his academic achievements. Perhaps it was his poor performance at the latter that caused his parents to move him to a private school in 1911. The Census of that year shows the family had moved to 231 Francis Avenue and had expanded by the addition of three sisters for Maurice - Dora, Winifred and Stella.
' the outbreak of war [Maurice] joined the Naval Division in training at the Crystal Palace. He afterwards trained in the Machine Gun Course at Grantham and Blandford, and transferred to the 188th M.G.C. [Machine Gun Corps] and then to the 189th M.G.C. He spent two years on active service in France and rose to the rank of Lieutenant, M.G.C. He was mortally wounded on September 23rd, 1917, died shortly after at No. 19 Casualty Clearing Station, and was buried in the British Cemetery at Duisans.
Reports from senior officers shew that he was a conscientious, smart officer, popular with his men for whom he showed great care, and very efficient in his gunnery.'
Further Information
The photograph reproduced is from a memorial booklet published by Southern Grammar School from which extracts also appear above.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) website lists Lieutenant Maurice Tom Richards Machine Gun Corps (Infantry), date of death, 23/09/1917, aged 21, Buried in Duisans British Cemetery, Etrun. Son of Capt. T. E. and Mrs. C. F. Richards, of 73, Devonshire Avenue, Southsea, Portsmouth.
Maurice Richards is remembered on the Southern Grammar School WW1 Memorial and the Cenotaph. He is not listed in 'The National Roll of the Great War'.