b. 05/03/1885 South Shields, County Durham. d. 08/11/1953 North Shields, County Durham.
DATE OF AM ACTION: 08/11/1916 Bakarista, Archangel, Russia.
Edward Henry Richardson was born at South Shields, Co. Durham, on 5 March 1885, and was indentured as an apprentice for four years to the Stag Line Limited on 8 September 1900 to learn seamanship. He received his certificate as Master for foreign-going steamships on 25 May 1912, and served during the Great War in the Royal Naval Reserve. Posted to the Province of Archangel, it was whilst unloading munitions destined for the Russian front that, ‘disaster struck on 8 November 1916 at Bakarista, Port of Archangel, North Russia when the merchant ship S.S. Baron Driesen blew up at 1.00 p.m.
Promoted Lieutenant-Commander, Richardson was appointed commanding officer of the Russian Gunboat Advokat in 1918, one of three paddle-steamers each armed with a 12-pounder and a pom-pom that formed the bulk of the Anglo-Russian Naval Brigade in North Russia, under the command of Commander P. H. Edwards. He participated in operations up river on the Dvina, including engagements at Bereznik, Troitsa, Borka and Chamovo, and took part in defensive skirmishes when Bolshevik gunboats sometimes ventured down river, but was later hit by shore batteries. However, with the advent of winter, and the arrival of ice, the flotilla was withdrawn in November 1918, and for his services Richardson was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross and also awarded the Russian Order of St. Stanislas 2nd Class, with Swords.
Richardson was presented with his Albert Medal, together with his Distinguished Service Cross, by H.M. King George V at Buckingham Palace on 17 May 1919. He subsequently served as a transport officer 3rd grade in H.M.S. President.
On the 8th November, 1916, a series of fires and explosions occurred at Bakaritsa, Port of Archangel, on merchant ships and on the wharves. The S. S. ” Baron Driesen” had blown up at 1 p.m. and part of the S.S. ” Earl of Forfar ” forty minutes later. The latter ship, with a cargo of explosives, was on fire, and might have blown up at any moment, and explosions were continually taking place in the immediate vicinity. The ship was alongside the main fire on shore, and burning embers were constantly showered over her. Lieutenant Richardson, 2nd Engineer Watson, and, Able Seamen Henry and Thompson, of the Tug ” Sunderland,” nevertheless volunteered to board the ” Earl of Forfar ” and effected the rescue of a considerable number of wounded and helpless men who would otherwise have perished. They displayed the utmost .gallantry and disregard of their own personal safety in saving the lives of others.
BURIAL LOCATION: PRESTON CEMETERY, NORTH SHIELDS, COUNTY DURHAM.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: PRIVATELY HELD. (SOLD AT DNW IN MAY 2017 for £11,000.
Dix Noonan Webb – Images of the Richardson DSC AM medal group.
Allan Stanistreet – Image of Edward Richardson DSC AM.