|19th March 1916. Mervyn Richardson, D Social, 1908. Capt, 1st Bn, Royal Welsh Fusiliers. Died of wounds received in an unknown engagement.‘Tracker’ Richardson was one of the young officers mentioned in Siegfried Sassoon’s diary, which became his fictional Memoirs of a fox-hunting man. At Radley he was Captain of the Boats, and rowed twice at Henley in the Ladies’ Plate, rowing No. 6 in the winning heat v. University College, Oxford, in 1912. He was a member of the Leander Club. After leaving school, he attended Sandhurst, then went straight out to the Western Front in 1915. He was Mentioned in Despatches. A letter from the Regimental Chaplain to his parents describes the scene of his funeral:CHAPLAIN’S LETTER, March 22 (Wed.).
DEAR SIR,-You might care I think to know the details of your son’s burial and last resting place from the Chaplain of the Regiment?… Your son was the most gallant and best loved of a gallant band of young officers… I have been with the battalion a year, and through more than one action, yet I do not remember so solemn a funeral or such real quiet grief. It took place on Tuesday night at 9.45. The little burial ground lies in a slight hollow only 100 yards behind the front lines. The nearest village is Reanite, near Albert, but from there it is a walk of two miles over rolling chalk downs to the line. The little plot is reverently tended, and a cross already in position on the grave. At the end of the war you will find no difficulty in finding it and tending it as you like.
As we left the dug-outs for the cemetery, two canisters burst quite near with a deafening roar. There in the darkness I took the service. All the officers were present and many men. The moon came out in the middle, and shone on the grey steel helmets of the group, and made the colours of the Union Jack that lay on the body gleam. The service ended, to the roar of another German canister, more suitable perhaps to the occasion than any organ.