Hero piper honoured
One of Rutherglen’s most famous war heroes has been honoured.
Piper James Richardson was born in Bellshill but lived with his family in the Burgh for a period in his childhood before they left for a new life in Canada.
He returned to Europe with the 72nd Seaforth Highlanders, Canadian Scottish Battalion to fight in World War One.
On October 8, 1916, James was involved in a battle at Regina Trench when his company was held up by very strong wire and came under intense fire.
He played the company ‘over the top’, strode up and down outside the wire playing his pipes, which inspired the company and the position captured. James was detailed to take back a wounded comrade and some prisoners, but after proceeding some distance he insisted on turning back to recover his pipes which he had left behind. He was tragically never seen alive again. His actions earned him a posthumous Victoria Cross.
James’ remains were found in 1920 and he is buried at Adanac Military Cemetery in France.
His pipes were found on the battlefield in northern France and gifted to Ardvreck School in Crieff.
In 2006, they were identified as belonging to Piper Richardson and repatriated to Canada, where they were put on public display.
To honour the 100th anniversary of his death, North Lanarkshire Council unveiled a memorial to him last week.
There to witness the ceremony was his great nephew Dan Richardson, The Canadian Defence, Chief of Staff, LCol Simon Rushen and students at Bellshill Academy.
Describing his actions on the day he died, Dan revealed pipers rarely played their bagpipes on the battlefield as it would make them “sitting ducks”.
He added: “When he begged and pleaded to play he was asking his commanding officers to get up in front of open fire and try and inspire the troops to get up and overtake the wire.
“Any memorial is moving, especially one when you have someone you are trying to remember from your own family.
“It brings to my mind what he did and why everyone is proud of what he did.”
Remembered Piper James Richardson