‘Shot at Dawn’ Richard Matthew Jones

Commemorated on the Basra Memorial in Iraq.

In 1906 age 28, Richard enlisted in the Reserve Division of the 3rd South Lancashire Regiment. It is not known when Richard became part of the 6th Battalion South Lancashire Regiment.

What is known is the movements of this Battalion. They were formed in Warrington in August 1914 and moved to 3 different billets before sailing for Gallipoli in June 1915. Next they moved to Mudros and landed at Anzac Beach in August that year. On 20 December 1915 Richard and fellow soldiers would have been evacuated from Gallipoli and transported to Egypt. From here he would have moved on to Mesopotamia.

There was fierce fighting against the Turks in Mesopotamia and conditions were tough, with extremes of temperature in the desert, flies and mosquitoes, leading to high levels of sickness and disease. There were poor medical facilities resulting in high numbers of casualties and deaths.

Against this background it is easy to see that morale would be low amongst the ranks. Earlier in 1917 soldiers had been executed for sleeping at their post and for desertion.

On 21st  December 1917 Richard was executed for desertion. He is commemorated at the Basra Memorial, Iraq.

Richard was part of a mass pardon in 2006 of 306 British Empire soldiers executed for certain offenses during the war.

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