The memory of the late James C. Richardson, recipient of the prestigious Victoria Cross for valour, will be honoured with the formation of a new pipe band in his name.
Bass drummer Ken Nice and lead drummer Doug Holloway were in attendance at the Chilliwack city council meeting Tuesday to announce the formation of the James C. Richardson Memorial Pipe Band in a special presentation.
“War is terrible and no one wants to think of the reality of war,” Nice told council.
Piper Jimmy Richardson signed up to fight and was assigned to the 16th Infantry Battalion Canadian Expeditionary Force regiment in 1914, known as the Canadian Scottish. He was killed at Regina Trench in the Battle of Somme in France in 1916, but not before writing many letters back home to Chilliwack describing his experiences.
Battle of Somme became known as the deadliest battle of the war with a million dead at the end of it for the world to mourn.
“I think it’s pretty important that we honour them and remember them,” Nice said.
The anniversary of Piper Richardson’s death is coming up, and an inaugural event for the new pipe band is being planned to recognize the only Chilliwack soldier to have ever been awarded the Victoria Cross for valor and the only piper to ever receive the VC.
“We have a passion and our passion is pipes and drums,” Nice said, adding the idea of forming the band was to commemorate the hero.
James Cleland Richardson, died on the blood-soaked battlefield in 1916 and was buried on Oct. 9, posthumously earning the only Victoria Cross ever awarded to a piper for his “conspicuous bravery, and devotion to duty.”
Piper Richardson was praised in the official citation for asking his superior for permission to “play his company over the top” and eventually so inspired by his “splendid example of courage,” that they rushed the barbed wire with “such fury and determination” that the position was captured.
The young piper’s incredible “coolness” in the face of heavy fire is considered nothing short of astonishing.
Later, after participating in bombing operations, he put down his pipes as he stopped to carry a wounded officer off the battlefield. He went a distance and then remembered that he had left his pipes behind.
“Although strongly urged not to do so, he insisted on returning to get his pipes. He was never seen again, and death has been presumed accordingly owing to lapse of time,” according to the citation.