James Richardson VC

Today in Canadian Birthdays:

James Richardson VC 1895-1916, soldier, piper, recipient of the Victoria Cross, born November 25, 1895, in Bellshill, Scotland; killed in action October 9, 1916, at the Somme, France. Richardson grew up in Vancouver and Chilliwack, BC; served as Piper in the 72nd Seaforth Highlanders of Canada, part of the 16th (Canadian Scottish) Battalion, CEF; 1916 October 8 under intense fire during the Battle of the Ancre Heights at Regina Trench, he obtained permission to play the company “over the top”, striding up and down outside the wire playing his pipes, which inspired the company to rush the wire and capture the enemy position; detailed to take back a wounded comrade and some prisoners, he insisted on turning back to recover his pipes and was never seen again; his remains were found in 1920. In 2002 the Pipe Major of The Canadian Scottish Regiment (Princess Mary’s) discovered that Ardvreck preparatory school in Scotland had possession of a set of broken, mud-caked, and bloodstained bagpipes found in 1917 by a British Army Chaplain, Major Edward Yeld Bate; identified as Richardson’s pipes, they were purchased by an anonymous donor and placed at the British Columbia Legislature as a reminder of a generation’s valour.



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