Richard Williams - First Wales International Rugby Union match

Discussion in 'Sportsmen & women' started by liverpool annie, Jun 10, 2009.

  1. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    Richard Williams won his only cap in the first Welsh team against England in 1881.

    A soldier before World War 1, he rose to the rank of Major in the 1st Battalion, Royal Fusiliers. He retired at 34 before rejoining at 58 in 1914. He became a Lieutenant Colonel in the 12th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers and was killed in action at Loos on 27 September, 1915, aged 59.

    The oldest former Welsh International to die in World War One was Lieutenant Richard Davies Garnons Williams who played in the first ever Welsh rugby international against England in 1881. He was killed while leading troops in the Battle of Loos in 1915 and he is commemorated on the Loos Memorial to the Missing. He was 59 years of age

    EDIT ... I can't find him on CWGC !!

    EDIT #2 .... Found him !!

    In Memory of

    12th Bn., Royal Fusiliers
    who died
    on 25 September 1915
    Father of Mrs. Barbara Slater, of Schoolhouse Stables, Dunchurch Rd., Rugby.

    Remembered with honour
  2. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    Richard Davies Garnons Williams (15 June 1856 - 25 September 1915)

    Was a Welsh international rugby union and forward who played club rugby for Brecon and Newport. Williams is notable for playing in the very first Wales international rugby union match in 1881.

    He became an officer in the British Army in 1876, and retired from regular service in 1892, though he continued to serve in a voluntary capacity until 1906. Despite the fact he was 58 at the outbreak of World War I he rejoined the army and was killed in action in 1915.

    Williams first major rugby club is recorded as being Oxford University who he played for while studying at Magdalen College. After playing for Oxford he then represented their great rivals Cambridge after becoming a student at Trinity College, Cambridge. Although representing both university teams he did not win a Sporting Blue with either team. Deciding to follow a military career Williams was accepted into the Royal Military College Sandhurst, and is also recorded as representing the Sandhurst rugby team. He completed his officer training in 1876, and was commissioned as a sub-lieutenant on 26 February - he was posted to the 38th Regiment of Foot, and transferred to the 7th Regiment of Foot on 17 February 1877 He was promoted lieutenant on 17 January 1877, and unusually had his army rank (but not regimental seniority) backdated to his original commission as a sub lieutenant

    In 1881 Williams was selected by Richard Mullock to represent the first Wales team in their inaugural match. The team itself was made up from players based more on their geographic spread of clubs they represented, and university pedigree than rugby ability Despite the poor selection process, few were expecting such a disparity in the scoreline, as England humiliated Wales in a one sided game with England running in 13 tries. This game was Williams' only appearance for Wales, with the selectors bringing in eleven new caps for the second game.

    By February 1885 he had been promoted to captain, and his unit had been renamed the Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment). On 10 January 1887 he was appointed as adjutant of the 4th Battalion of the regiment, the Militia unit associated with the regiment. A regular officer was normally given this post in Militia units to organise training and generally maintain standards. His posting lasted the usual 5 years. He then retired from the regular army on 4 May 1892. On 8 August 1894 he was commissioned as a major in the 1st (Brecknockshire) Volunteer Battalion, South Wales Borderers, a Volunteer Force unit of the South Wales Borderers regiment, and on 1 November 1895 was appointed Brigade Major for the South Wales Brigade of the Volunteer Force. On 12 July 1899 he was granted honorary rank as lieutenant colonel. He resigned his Volunteer commission on 26 May 1906, retaining his rank and with permission to continue wearing his uniform.

    He rejoined the British Army shortly after the outbreak of World War I, and was posted to his original regiment, joining the 12th (Service) Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers as a major on 26 September 1914. He was promoted temporary lieutenant colonel on 3 October 1914, and transferred back to the South Wales Borderers to command the Brecknockshire Battalion. He seems to have soon been posted back to 12th Royal Fusiliers, and was killed on 25 September 1915 while leading his battalion at the Battle of Loos. He is commemorated on the Loos Memorial to the Missing.

    At 59 years of age, he was the eldest of the 13 Wales international players to be killed during the war.
  3. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    Found a picture ......

    Attached Files:

  4. Dolphin

    Dolphin New Member

    Williams, Richard Davies Garnons played for Wales
    (Garnons-Williams in the CWGC Register)

    Internationals: 1: 1881 E-

    Richard Williams was born on 15 June 1856 at Llowes, Radnorshire, the son of Prebendary Garnons Williams.

    Played as a Forward for: Magdalen College School, Cambridge University, Royal Military College Sandhurst, Brecon, NewportRemarks: He played for Newport in 3 of the club’s 14 matches in 1880-1881.

    Profession: The Army. He was commissioned into the 1st Battalion, The Royal Fusiliers in 1876, subsequently serving in Gibraltar and Egypt before retiring as a Major in 1890. From 1886 to 1892 he was adjutant of the 4th Militia Battalion; during that period he read for and was called to the Bar and also became an active member of the Charity Organisation Society. After his retirement in 1892, he joined the Volunteer Battalion of the South Wales Borderers in Brecon, and held the post of Brigade Major. In 1909 he became Secretary of the National Service League for Brecon, Radnor and Montgomery.

    Remarks: Football as Goalkeeper for Wales, according to Rugby Who's Who but not substantiated – perhaps it was a Welsh team in the Army?

    War service: Lieutenant Colonel, 12th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers, 73rd Brigade, 24th Division. On 3 October 1914, as Major and Honorary Lieutenant Colonel of the Brecknockshire Battalion (South Wales Borderers) he was made Temporary Lieutenant Colonel.

    Colonel Garnons-Williams joined the 12th Royal Fusiliers, as second in command, on the Western Front on 26 September 1915, the second day of the Battle of Loos. At dawn on 27 September, the newly-taken positions of the 73rd Brigade in the Fosse and Slag Alley area were the object of a German counter-attack (the men of the 73rd were exhausted, having had no food, water or sleep for 48 hours). By noon the 12th Royal Fusiliers were withdrawn to a new line along the Eastern Redoubt.

    He was killed in action on 27-28 September [Rugby Who's Whohas 25 September, the opening day of the Battle of Loos] 1915, at Loos, and is commemorated on the Loos Memorial, Pas de Calais, France [Panel 25 to 27].

    A soldier reported soon after the event:

    “[He - RDGW] led his men on September 25th into trenches lately occupied by the Germans and on the 27th the battalion were in a support trench and the furthest they had captured. This trench became untenable and retirement had to be effected to straighten the line, the supports, both right and left having retired, so that their flanks were “in the air”. As the colonel gave the necessary order to retire and instructions to the machine gun section to fire over the trench to keep back the Germans, he was shot in the head from an adjoining house and did not move again.

    The soldier who wrote the above adds, “I was very sorry for him, as we could not have had a better, braver officer. He was with us all the time in the front trench and looked after us as well as he could; no man could have done better. Nobody could get back to him.”

    He was the earliest Rugby international to lose his life in the War, and was quite possibly the oldest Welshman to be killed in action.
  5. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    A little bit more ...

  6. wesleycj

    wesleycj New Member

    He may well have been the oldest Welshman to lose his life in the war but he was not the first Rugby International. This unenviable record went to Lt Ronald Francis Simpson, RFA a Scottish international killed in the First Battle of the Aisne, 14 Sep 1914. The first Welsh international was 2/Lt 'Billy' Geen, 9/K R R C missing in the Ypres salient 31 Jul 1915.

    When the 12 Royal Fusiliers were led up to the trenches in the dark of night 25/26 Sep the Battalion became separated and only the CO, No 2 Coy and 1 platoon of No 1 Coy actually reached their positions at a point known as Trois Cabarets. This is shown on some trench maps as '3 Inns'. The Battalion were all new army men, the Division had only been in France a matter of days. They were not issued with 'bombs' prior to moving into position and for 2 days they did not receive resupply of ammunition, water or food. In short they were inadequately prepared for the situation the army threw them into.

    The criticism over the use of the 2 New Army reserves eventually led to the removal of Sir John French.

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