CWG: Corporal Richard Langley

Corporal Richard Langley

Richard Frederick Langley was born in January 1897 in Chatham, Kent. He was one of seven children to Albert Langley, who was a bricklayer, and his wife, Elizabeth.

Richard enlisted almost as soon as he was able to. His papers, dated 18th October 1914, show that he was 17 years and 10 months old, as was working as an apprentice boilermaker. He was assigned to the Royal Engineers.

Sapper Langley’s war service was spent in England. Initially based in Kent, he was promoted to Acting Lance Corporal in October 1915. Transferring to the Royal Engineers Anti Aircraft Battalion in July 1916, Richard was again promoted to Corporal.

Corporal Langley was injured while serving for the Royal Engineers AA; he was admitted to the General Hospital in Tunbridge Wells, and has a hernia operated on. After two months recovering in hospital, he re-joined his battalion.

Richard was transferred again in January 1918, this time being assigned to the London Electrical Engineers. It was here that he saw out the remainder of the war.

It was while he was serving in Sheerness that Richard contracted influenza. Hospitalised on the island on 28th November 1918, he sadly did not recover. Corporal Langley passed away from pneumonia on 5th December 1918. He was just 21 years of age.

Richard Frederick Langley lies at rest in the Woodlands Cemetery in his home town of Gillingham, Kent.

Richard’s older brother Albert was also involved in war service and was a skilled labourer at Chatham Dockyard. In February 1916, he boarded the SS Maloja, a steamship bound for Bombay with over 400 passengers and crew on board.

At around 10:30am on Sunday 27th February, the ship was sailing through the Straits of Dover when it struck a mine. The vessel sank within 24 minutes. Over 150 people died in the explosion, from drowning or from hypothermia.

Sadly, Albert’s body was not recovered. He was just 21 years old. He is commemorated on the Naval Memorial in Chatham, Kent.

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