Francis George Richards (or Frank) was born in 1889, the oldest of five children to William and Rhoda Richards. William was an agricultural labourer and the family lived in his home village of Long Sutton in Somerset.
Frank followed his father into agriculture, and, by the 1911 census, was working as a carter.
And that is where the trail of Private Richards goes cold.
What records do exist confirm that he enlisted in the Wiltshire Regiment, serving at its depot in Devizes. This suggests he was part of the 7th (Service) Battalion, raised through the Kitchener Scheme.
The battalion were shipped to France in September 1915, before being moved on to the Balkans, where they fought in the Battle of Horseshoe Hill and the Battles of Dorian. As there are no records of Private Richards’ service, it is not possible to confirm how involved in the fighting in Europe he was, or whether he remained on the Home Front.
Frank’s death also remains a mystery. All that can be said for sure is that he died in hospital on 11th April 1917, in a hospital in England. He was 27 years old. He does not appear to have married, and his pension was assigned to his father.
Frank George Richards lies at rest in the quiet graveyard of Holy Trinity Church in his home village of Long Sutton.