Richard Dales, Sergeant 15/261 1st Leeds Pals
Richard Dales was born in Louth, Lincolnshire, on 28th November 1895, the fourth child and second son of Samuel Dales and Susannah Parrish, who had married in Louth in 1888. Richard was baptised on 6th August 1896, together with his older siblings Lillian, Maggie and Sidney. Four more children followed, Percy, Constance, Marion and Dorothy. There had been a ninth child, but it did not survive. Father Samuel’s occupation in 1891 was butcher, but by 1901 he had changed professions and was a cellarman. By 1911 he had risen to be brewer’s foreman. Richard did not follow either of these occupations, being listed in 1911 as a dentist’s assistant. For the whole of this period the family was living in Queen Street, Louth, and what brought Richard to Leeds we don’t know, possibly his job.
Richard’s army records are missing, and all we have are the list of applicants for the Pals made towards the end of 1914, and the Roll, made around the middle of 1915. Richard was a very early volunteer, putting his name down on 4th September 1914 and being given the number 261. After his training he was posted to A Company, 2nd Platoon, where he became the bugler for No. 4 Section. He will have done his training at Colsterdale, then Ripon and Fovant, before sailing with the battalion in December 1915 for Egypt, to guard the Suez Canal. The Pals stayed there for two months, before sailing again, this time to France, to prepare for the Big Push, as the Battle of the Somme was initially known.
Two things are known about Richard’s time in the Pals. One is that he was good at sports. Three prize rosettes are preserved among his effects, which he had won for running in 1918, but he is also noted in the Battalion War Diaries as having won a First Prize in 1917 at the Horse Show. The other noted fact is that he was promoted, to Lance Corporal by 1917, Corporal by the following year and reached the rank of Sergeant before his death.
Having joined up right at the start of the war Richard almost made it through to the end. In October of 1918 the Allies were advancing on all fronts, and it was only a matter of time before the war ended. The Germans were retreating before them but still fighting hard, and men were being killed right up to the last few minutes of the fighting. On the 3rd October Richard became one of those casualties, and was buried in Underhill Cemetery, Hainaut, Belgium.
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Researcher: Peter Taylor
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