Hero piper hon­oured

Rutherglen Reformer - - News - Dou­glas Dickie

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

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.