Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 1917, Lieutenant Victor Richardson M.C., 4th Battalion, the Royal Sussex Regiment, attached to 9th Battalion, King's Royal Rifle Corps, died as a result of wounds received two months earlier during the fighting at Arras in France.
The eldest son of a dental surgeon, he was educated at Uppingham School where he met two other pupils who would become his closest friends, Edward Brittain and Roland Leighton. Edward’s sister Vera wrote about them in her memoirs, published as “Testament of Youth”, which in 2014 was made into a film, with Northern Irish actor Colin Morgan portraying Lieutenant Richardson.
He joined the school’s Officers’ Training Corps and then went on to Emmanuel College, Cambridge, abandoning his studies at the outbreak of the Great War. In 1915 Lieutenant Richardson suffered an attack of cerebral meningitis and spent several weeks in a sanatorium. It had been thought he might not be passed fit enough for service overseas, and his convalescence did prevent him going to Gallipoli. However, after serving on the home front, he arrived on the Western Front in September of 1916 and was transferred to the King’s Royal Rifle Corps. He wrote that things were quiet and not as bad as he had been led to believe, and he appreciated what he called the “truly charming spirit of good fellowship”.
On the 9th of April in 1917, Lieutenant Richardson was grievously wounded during an attack at Arras. He had been leading his platoon when he was shot in the arm, but after having it bandaged he carried on, only to be shot in the head. He was treated at first in the hospital at Rouen, and then sent to the No. 2 London General Hospital. The bullet was still embedded, he had lost his left eye and the sight in his right eye. One of his friends visited him and reported that he was cheerful and “perfectly sensible in every way” – he intended to learn Braille and revisit an old desire to enter the church. Two months after having been shot, Lieutenant Richardson suffered a ruptured cerebral abscess and died.
He was posthumously awarded the Military Cross, and his commanding officer wrote to his parents: “He was a very fine officer, wonderfully keen, and just now we badly need his like”. Lieutenant Richardson lies buried in the Hove Old Shoreham Road Cemetery, and is remembered on the war memorials at St. Barnabas Church and the public library, both in Hove.
Victor, from Hove in East Sussex, was 22 years old.