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Billy RICHARDS #3407

By Marg Powel & Des Crump | 8 February 2018

Service record, Billy Richards

Extract from service record for Billy Richards, 41st Infantry Battalion.

Indigenous Australian, Billy (William) RICHARDS, 41st Infantry Battalion

Billy Richards, was born at Torrens Creek, Queensland in 1889. Age 28, he was working as a station hand when he volunteered to serve with the first AIF in May 1917. Not knowing of any surviving relatives, he named his next of kin to be Lil Smith, a friend, who lived in Charters Towers.

Having enlisted in Townsville, he travelled to the Rifle Range Camp, Enoggera outside Brisbane, where he was initially assigned to the Light Horse. However as men were desperately needed in Europe he was later allocated to the 8th Reinforcements for the 41st Infantry Battalion.

Richards embarked from Sydney on board the troopship Horata in June 1917 arriving in Liverpool in 8 weeks later. Richards contracted mumps on the voyage and was admitted to Parkhouse military hospital soon after landing.  By January 1918 Richards was fit enough to join his Battalion and embarked for France where the 41st was operating out of Houplines.

Richards was wounded in action in August 1918, a piece of shrapnel pierced a finger on his left hand. This time he was evacuated to the War Hospital at Stratford-on-Avon. After treatment, recuperation and leave he was returned to his unit in the field until the end of the war.

Whilst waiting to return home, Richards was apprehended at Codford, trying to gain entry into the Sergeants Mess and was punished by being confined to barracks for 21 days and forfeiting pay in lieu of damages caused.

Richards finally returned home in September 1919, where he returned to work in north western Queensland, for at time at Elleslie Station where he was employed as dog trapper; he died in November 1956.

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The information in this blog post has been researched by State Library staff and volunteers, it is based on available information at this time. If you have more information that you would like to share or further research uncovers new findings, this post will be updated.


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