Richard Deedes GC (EGM exchanger)

b. 07/01/1896 Shrewsbury, Shropshire. d. 28/08/1975 Shrewsbury, Shropshire.

DATE AND PLACE OF GC ACTION: 07/01/1934 Chittagong, India.

Richard Deedes (1896-1975) was born on the 7th January 1896 in Atcham, near Shrewsbury, Shropshire, the son of Wyndham and Ellen Mary Deedes (nee Sharpe). Richard’s childhood home was also his father’s workplace. His father ran a private school called Mill Mead School, in Sutton Road, St Giles, Shrewsbury. Richard had two older siblings, John and Mary. Richard was later educated at Haileybury School near Hertford.

Richard Deedes GC

Richard enlisted with the 28th Artists Rifles / London Regiment as Private No 3495, and was sent to France on 11th August 1915. He was then commissioned into the 1st Battalion, The King’s Shropshire Light Infantry, and he served in France and Flanders and at Ypres in mid 1916. He was present at the Battle of the Somme and the Battles of Epehy, then Cambrai and Selle in October 1918. He received two promotions during the war to Temporary Lieutenant in May 1917 and Temporary Captain in August 1918. He was invalided out of the Army due to wounds in the last weeks of the war.

He served in Ireland with the 2nd Battalion King’s Shropshire Light Infantry, before rejoining the 1st Battalion in 1919. He served first in Aden then on to India. From 1925-1928 he was with the Iraq levees, before a posting to the North West Frontier from 1929-1932. In September 1932 he was seconded to the Assam Bengal Railway Battalion.

On 7th January 1934 (his 38th birthday), he was in Chittagong, India (now Bangladesh), when 4 Hindu terrorists attacked a group of 40 or 50 Europeans, including women and children, at the end of a cricket match in Chittagong. The terrorists were armed with a revolver and 7 bombs. Two bombs were thrown but failed to explode. One of the terrorists then ran at the Europeans, firing his revolver rapidly as he went. Major Douglas Brett, who was unarmed, rushed at the man, grappled with him and forced him to the ground until help arrived. Captain Richard Deedes, seeing another terrorist running away, went in pursuit; he closed with the man and fell on him, holding him down until help arrived.

Both Major Brett and Captain Deedes were awarded the Empire Gallantry Medal of the Military Division on 7th May 1934. In 1939, Deedes was recalled to service (though the date is not known when he retired from the Regular Army after his spell with the Assam Bengal Railway Battalion) on the outbreak of World War II. In December 1939, he was promoted to Brevet Major. In September 1940, he was automatically entitled to exchange his EGM for the newly created George Cross. In September 1946, he had exceeded the age limit, and was taken off the list of the Reserve of Army Officers.

After his retirement from the Army, he returned to Shrewsbury and worked for the St John Ambulance, the Royal Voluntary Service and was a warden at Holy Trinity Church in Meole Brace. He never married, and lived his later years with his sister Mary. Richard passed away at the Nuffield Nursing Home in Shrewsbury on 28th August 1975, and was cremated at Shrewsbury Crematorium. His ashes were scattered in the Garden of Remembrance. His GC, Commander of the Order of St John, 1914-15 Star, British War Medal 1914-20, Victory Medal 1914-19 with Mentioned in Despatches oakleaf, India General Service Medal with clasp “NW Frontier 1930-1931”, 1939-45 Star, Defence Medal 1939-45, War Medal 1939-45 with Mentioned in Despatches oakleaf & 1953 QEII Coronation Medal are privately held.