by Stephen Wynn on February 7, 2017
John Spencer Richardson, who became known to his family as ‘Jack’, was born on 22 October 1893 in Croydon. When he was only 2 years of age, John moved with his family to live at Elliot’s Farm in Hutton, Essex, and in 1903 the family moved again, this time to Frith Farm at nearby, Laindon Common.
Shortly before the outbreak of the First World War, John Spencer went to stay and work on a relatives farm in Regina, Saskatwachen, in Canada. When the war began John enlisted in the Canadian Army, rather than return home and enlist in the British Army. He became Private 426921 John Spencer Richardson in the 46th Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force.
After having undertaken his basic training in Canada, he was sent to England and in July 1915 found himself at the Shorncliffe camp in Kent, where he was posted to the 3rd (Toronto) Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force. He arrived in Belgium on 11 September 1915 where John and his comrades quickly found themselves in action at Ploegstreet.
In late March 1916, a number of men from John’s battalion, including him, caught measles. John’s case was so bad he had to be sent back to England to have further treatment, and didn’t return to his battalion until 17 July 1916. Later the following month John found himself on the move again, which after a journey by train, bus and foot, he found himself at Poiziers. Whilst holding positions there, John was wounded in the head by shrapnel on 3 September 1916, and sent to the 44th Casualty Clearing Station at Puchvilliers, which specialised in dealing with head wounds. Sadly his injuries were too severe and he passed away on 9 September 1916 and buried at the adjacent cemetery.