b. 23/09/1872 Southport, Lancashire. d. 15/12/1932 Liverpool.
Arthur Herbert Lindsay Richardson (1872-1932) was born in 17 Leicester Street, Southport, Merseyside on 23rd September 1872. Little is known of his early life. What is known about him begins in 1894 at the age of 22 when he decided to emigrate to start a new life in Canada. He decided to join the North West Mounted Police, and served with them until the outbreak of the Second Boer War in 1899.
When the South African War began in 1899, Richardson obtained leave from the Mounted Police to enlist in Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians), a regiment that was being raised for service in the conflict. He rose to the rank of Sergeant prior to his action which would earn him the Victoria Cross (London Gazette, 14th September 1900).
On the 5th July, 1900, at Wolve Spruit, about 15 miles north of Standerton, a party of Lord Strathcona’s Corps, only 38 in number, came into contact, and was engaged at close quarters, with a force of 80 of the enemy. When the order to retire had been given, Sergeant Richardson rode back under a very heavy cross-fire and picked up a trooper whose horse had been shot and who was wounded in two places and rode with him out of fire. At the time when this act of gallantry was performed, Sergeant Richardson was within 300 yards of the enemy, and was himself riding a wounded horse.
He briefly travelled to England for his investiture with the Victoria Cross by King Edward VII at St James Palace on 25th July 1901, before returning to South Africa, where he saw action until the end of the War in 1902, when he returned to Canada and back into the Mounted Police, where he rose to the rank of Sergeant-Major.
However, in 1907 poor health forced him to purchase his discharge and, eventually, to settle in Liverpool, England, where he became a recluse. During this period, another man named Arthur Richardson, a corporal in The Gordon Highlanders of the British Army, began passing himself off as the recipient of the Victoria Cross. He succeeded so well that, when he died, he was buried with military honours. Ironically, the real Arthur Richardson, VC was discovered marching in the funeral cortège of his imposter. As a result, Richardson rose to a certain prominence in his late middle age.
Richardson (the real one) passed away in the Mill Road Hospital in Liverpool on 15th December 1932, aged 60. He was buried in the St James Cemetery, Liverpool, which is no longer used. He was buried in a grave which was originally marked. In 1994, a new headstone was placed in the cemetery, though not on the exact spot of his burial. His medals are held by the National Archives of Canada, Ottawa.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: MILITARY MUSEUM, CALGARY, CANADA.
BURIAL PLACE: ST JAMES CEMETERY, LIVERPOOL. PLOT 57679.
Kevin Joynt – Image of the Richardson VC at the Library and Archives of Canada.