Richard Hall Williams Late Sergt Major 17th Lancers died July 7th, 1910 aged 91 years Crimean Balaclava & Indian Mutiny Veteran
Richard Hall Williams was born near Bath and enlisted in the 17th Lancers in London in November 1843, aged 22 years. Advanced to Corporal in June 1848 and to Sergeant in September 1851, he rode in the charge of the Light Brigade at Balaklava, in addition to being present at Alma, Inkermann and in the operations before Sebastopol. During the charge, as alluded to above, he was suffering from a painful boil on his nose, a factor to which he later referred:
‘ ... My visage was so fearsome that the Russians even held their fire. But the pain was so great that on the following day I had to report to the Regimental Surgeon - a step not to be lightly taken then ... Two orderlies held me and I received a smart buffet on the nose, which dispersed the fluid ...’
Peculiarly, his name is not on the appropriate roll for the ‘Balaklava’ clasp, but research undertaken by J. L. Boys confirms that ‘from all the evidence ... there can be no doubt that he did ride’, a contention with which Lummis and Wynn entirely concur in Honour the Light Brigade. Williams gained advancement to Troop Sergeant-Major in February 1855, embarked for India aboard the S.S. Great Britain in October 1857 and saw action in the Mutiny, albeit in the latter stages of the conflict between December 1858 and January 1859, when he was present at the engagements at Zeerapore and Baroda. He was subsequently awarded the Medal without a clasp.
Williams was discharged at Brighton in November 1867, having been awarded his Army L.S. & G.C. Medal earlier in the same year. Afterwards he became a Troop Sergeant-Major in the Worsley Troop of the Duke of Lancaster’s Own Yeomanry and sub-postmaster in Worsley village, near Manchester. He also taught drill to the school children on the Ellesmere estate. A keen mason, and a member of the Balaklava Commemoration Society from 1879, Williams signed the Loyal Address in 1887 and attended the Annual Dinners in 1892, 1894, 1895, 1899 and 1908. Awarded his M.S.M. in April 1884, he would have “forfeited” his original L.S. & G.C. Medal at that time, but just when he received his later impressed issue remains unknown.
Williams died at Eccles in July 1910, aged 91 years, and was buried in the churchyard at Worsley, where he had been a sides-man for over 20 years. Remarkably, as late as the 1970s, one of Williams’ sons, Clement, was still living in Worsley. He died on 10 April 1974, aged 100 years, and was buried in the same plot as his father. Sold with an original “In memoriam” card issued by Williams’ local masonic lodges, which includes a fine picture of him wearing his awards, both military and masonic.
The following information is from the Eccles and District Masons group:
It could be said that the Lodge had its beginnings by an order issued from the Colonel-in-Chief of the 17th Lancers stationed in India in 1867. Sgt. Major Williams, a Crimean war veteran and survivor of the ‘Valley of Death’ charge at Balaclava, requested to be discharged in that country with his family, but the Colonel insisted that his friend, the Earl of Ellesmere, required an experienced soldier as an instructor to take charge of the Duke of Lancaster’s own yeomanry in Worsley.
Sgt. Major Williams, together with his family, duly took up residence at 61 Barton Road in Worsley Village, opposite the old limekiln, to drill the pupils of St. Mark’s school and also became the Post Master, a position he held for thirty years.
Already a Freemason, Williams joined Bridgewater Lodge No. 1213, subsequently becoming Worshipful Master and eventually, together with Bro. William Bowden decided to form a new Lodge nearer home. The idea of having Lord Ellesmere as the first Worshipful Master, so giving the new Lodge a high status, was put into action and Williams approached the Vicar of Worsley, the Earl of Musgrave, Lord Ellesmere’s brother-in-law, to make the request. His Lordship agreed, but there was a snag, he was not in the Craft but was subsequently Initiated into United Lodge No. 1629, a special Lodge in London for the gentry, where he served a brief spell as Warden and Master so qualifying him for the position as Worshipful Master of the new Lodge.
So, on 17th February 1880, a bitterly cold day of fog, frost and snow at the Court House in Worsley, the Lodge was consecrated. The ceremony was carried out by a relative of Lord Ellesmere, the Provincial Grand Master Bro. Colonel Le Gendre N. Starkie and the Earl was installed as Worshipful Master. Among the congratulations sent was a telegram from no less a person than the Prince of Wales.
W.Bro. Richard Hall Williams subsequently became the second Worshipful Master with William Bowden becoming the seventh. Two of Williams’ sons G.C. Williams and C.H. Williams followed in their father’s footsteps becoming the thirty-second and fortieth Worshipful Masters, an outstanding service given by one family to the Lodge.
A tradition formed by Clem Williams in 1953, on his Golden Jubilee in the Craft, was the presentation of a silver-drinking goblet (pictured above), which had been given to his father by his military comrades when he retired, to the Lodge. The goblet is used by the reigning Master during his year in the Chair and is handsomely engraved and includes the skull and crossbones ‘Death or Glory’ motto of the 17th Lancers.
Meetings continued to be held at the Court House for some sixty-six years, an envied venue with a sprung floor and a huge fireplace, essential for the winters in those days. The hostelry across the road, nicknamed ‘The Grapes’, provided the Social Board up until 1903 when it was demolished to make way for a new gateway to the Earl’s residence.
In 1946, however, the Lodge voted to leave the Court House along with Walkden Lodge, who by then had also taken up residence there, and move to Eccles Masonic Hall where we have been very comfortable to this day.
The foregoing is just a brief account of the early days of Worsley Lodge. For a full and very interesting history, the book by Bro. Harry W. Charlton, ‘The First Hundred’ is recommended and can be obtained by contacting the Lodge Secretary.
Name: MOORES Initials: H Nationality: United Kingdom Rank: Serjeant Regiment/Service: Manchester Regiment Unit Text: 18th Bn. Date of Death: 18/07/1916 Service No: 9895 Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead Grave/Memorial Reference: N.P. 195. Cemetery: WORSLEY (ST. MARK) CHURCHYARD Birth Place: Swinton, Lancs Residence: Worsley, Lancs Death Location: Home Enlistment Location: Manchester Type of Casualty: Died of wounds
1911 census: Hazelhurst Cottage, Worsley. Occupation - Municipal Clerk. Father - James Mother - Jane Siblings - Beatrice and Frank
Herbert Moores attested 4th September 1914 aged 30. Appointed Lance Corporal 05/11/1914 Promoted to Corporal 05/06/1915 To France 08/11/1915 Appointed Lance Sergeant 03/12/1915 Promoted to Sergeant 08/03/1916 Wounded 10/07/1916 Back to England 14/07/196 He died (gunshot wound back) at the 1st Western General Hospital, Liverpool.
Name: BARNES, ROSS Initials: R Nationality: United Kingdom Rank: Rifleman Regiment/Service: Rifle Brigade Unit Text: 9th Bn. Age: 20 Date of Death: 13/10/1916 Service No: S/7858 Additional information: Son of Frederick William and Sarah Ellen Barnes, of 7, Brampton St., Atherton, Manchester. Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead Grave/Memorial Reference: 5. 2523. Cemetery: WORSLEY (ST. MARK) CHURCHYARD Birth Place: Boothstown, Lancs Residence: Atherton Enlistment Location: Atherton Type of Casualty: Died of wounds Theatre of War: Home
Ross Barnes attested on the 7th January 1915 aged 19 he was living at the Volunteer Inn, High Street, Atherton and had worked as a collier. To France 06/07/1915 Wounded 15/09/1916 (GSW to chest and head) sent to 1st Canadian General Hospital and then back to England on the 27/09/1916.Died of wounds on the 13th October 1916 at the Royal Victoria Hospital, Netley. Parents - Frederick and Sarah Ellen Siblings - William, Alfred and Annie
Name: SHELDON, HARRY Initials: H Nationality: United Kingdom Rank: Corporal Regiment/Service: Army Service Corps Unit Text: 1st Army Anti-Aircraft Workshops. Age: 30 Date of Death: 17/10/1918 Service No: M2/019643 Additional information: Son of John and Lucy Sheldon; husband of Gertrude Sheldon, of 14, Vicarage Terrace, Eccles Manchester. Born at Worsley. Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead Grave/Memorial Reference: A. 335. Cemetery: WORSLEY (ST. MARK) CHURCHYARD
1911 census: 3 Catherine St, Winton, Eccles. Occupation - blacksmith. Father - John James Mother - Lucy Siblings - Joseph, John, Gertrude and Frederick
Disembarked in France on the 20th January 1915. Entitled to the 1915 trio.
Name: SLINGER, FRED WILBY Initials: F W Nationality: United Kingdom Rank: Private Regiment/Service: Machine Gun Corps (Heavy Branch) Secondary Regiment: Highland Light Infantry Secondary Unit Text: formerly (6511) Age: 30 Date of Death: 05/07/1917 Service No: 76748 Additional information: Son of Edward Slinger; husband of Elizabeth Slinger, of 7, Cleavley St., Winton, Patricroft, Manchester. Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead Grave/Memorial Reference: N.P. 212. Cemetery: WORSLEY (ST. MARK) CHURCHYARD Death Location: Home Enlistment Location: Manchester Type of Casualty: Died of wounds Theatre of War: Home
Name: CARR Initials: P Nationality: United Kingdom Rank: Private Regiment/Service: Machine Gun Corps (Infantry) Unit Text: 6th Bn. Age: 19 Date of Death: 30/05/1918 Service No: 137312 Additional information: Son of Edward and Sarah Carr, of 277, Walkden Rd., Worsley, Manchester. Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead Grave/Memorial Reference: II. N. 2. Cemetery: BELGIAN BATTERY CORNER CEMETERY Birth Place: Worsley, Lancs Residence: Worsley Death Location: France & Flanders Enlistment Location: Eccles Type of Casualty: Killed in action Theatre of War: Western European Theatre
1911 census: 275 Walkden Rd, Worsley. Father - Edward. Percy is shown as still attending school.
Herbert Toft was born in Barton on the 22nd May 1898 the son of William and Annie Toft.
The 1901 census shows the family living at 90 Parrin Lane, Monton. Herbert is shown to have two brothers Walter and William. William (father) was an employer who is operating as a tobacco goods importer.
Herbert joined the 7th East Lancashire Regiment and was given the service number 16906, he was posted to France with the 7th East Lancs landing there on the 18th July 1915. Herbert quickly gained the rank of acting sergeant before being commissioned as 2nd Lieutenant to the 3rd Royal Warwickshire Regiment on the 11th November 1916.
His medal card shows his address as 92 Rocky Lane, Monton, Eccles.
On the 13th April 1918 he was transferred to the newly formed Royal Air Force (821st Squadron, 23rd Wing). Herbert was killed in a plane accident on the 12th October 1918 aged 22, his death was registered in Lincoln. Herbert left just over £167 to his father who is shown as living at 16, Pine Grove, Monton.
Name: TOFT Initials: H Nationality: United Kingdom Rank: Second Lieutenant Regiment/Service: Royal Air Force Date of Death: 12/10/1918 Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead Grave/Memorial Reference: N.P. 22. Cemetery: WORSLEY (ST. MARK) CHURCHYARD
Name: AMBLER Initials: R Nationality: United Kingdom Rank: Second Lieutenant Regiment/Service: The King's (Liverpool Regiment) Unit Text: 13th Bn. Date of Death: 24/11/1918 Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead Grave/Memorial Reference: E. 800. Cemetery: WORSLEY (ST. MARK) CHURCHYARD