Lance Corporal William Arthur Leslie Richards

Service number 894
Ranks Held Lance Corporal, Private
Birth Place Australia: New South Wales, Newcastle, Islington
Death Date 1917-02-28
Death Place France
Final Rank Lance Corporal
Service Australian Imperial Force
  • 35th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • 35th Australian Infantry Battalion
Conflict/Operation First World War, 1914-1918

Lance Corporal William Arthur Leslie Richards (894, 35th Battalion) was a clerk with the Northumberland Building Society in Newcastle, NSW, who enlisted in January 1916. Will was working as a batman and orderly for Captain Connell, who had been his teacher at school in Newcastle for several years. Captain Connell nicknamed Will “Gunner” and looked on Will as a younger brother. About 11 pm on 28 February 1917, a shell exploded in the company headquarters dugout in the trenches at Houplines, badly wounding Will in the lower body and legs. He died within minutes in the captain’s arms. Will was buried in the Cite Bonjean Military Cemetery, Armentieres, France. He was 16 years 7 months of age.



Date of enlistment 05 January 1916
Date of embarkation 01 May 1916
Date of death 28 February 1917
Date returned to Australia 28 February 1917