RSM Leslie Richards 4th Welch Regt

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    SPIKER Junior Member

    Leslie Richards
    A Territorial and Regular Regimental Sergeant Major of the Welch Regiment.

    Number 3960195.
    Pre war service in the 4th Bn, Welch Regiment (T.A.)
    On the breakout of war was embodied as a Sergeant. Rapidly rose to C.S.M. and by 1943 was promoted R.S.M.
    Served North West Europe with the 4th and was mentioned in despatches and awarded the Croix de Guerre with Palm. R.S.M. of the 4th on disbandment.
    Post war he returned to UK and in 1948 again joined the 4th Bn Welch Regt (T.A.) on the Permanent Staff at Llanelly and remained with them until 1951.
    Appointed R.S.M. to the 1st Battalion, Welch Regiment at Colchester in 1951, taking over from R.S.M. Visick. RSM of the 1st Bn throughout the Korean Campaign.
    16 November 1952 he was present at the Memorial Service at the United Nations Military Cemetery, Pusan, when the 1st Bn, Welch Regt paraded to honour the 30 comrades killed in action in Korea..
    During his long period as RSM he has always played a major part in the upholding and maintaining the finest traditions of the Regiment by his own personal example. He is a very keen sportsman and played rugby regularly for the 4th Bn in B.A.O.R. He was very popular with the troops and he had the happy knack of being able to get the best out of them at all times. They liked working for him. He had a great sense of what was right and proper and he never spared himself on behalf of the Regiment he loved very dearly. He was extremely smart in his appearance and a first class drill instructor. He ran a very happy Sergeants Mess. A great deal of the honour that the Battalion gained in Korea and Hong Kong can be directly attributed to RSM Richards personal example and outstanding devotion to duty. Alas, it was this devotion to duty that has to a large extent been responsible for his present illness because he would not give in.
    Since his return home from Korea, he had been seriously ill, so much so that he has to give up his appointment as RSM of the 1st Bn, being replaced by RSM C. Dewar of the Welsh Guards. (1955)
    He underwent two very serious operations in St Mark’s Hospital in London and on recovery was to take up the appointment of RSM of the Regimental Depot.
    He did not recover and was discharged. On the 9th December 1955 he took up the civilian post of Junior Clerk in the Orderly Room of the 4th Battalion at Llanelly,

    Honours and awards:
    1939-45 Star
    France & Germany Star
    Defence Medal,
    War Medal 1939-45 with Mention in Despatches oakleaf,
    Korea Medal
    U.N. Korea Medal
    Coronation 1953 Medal
    Efficiency Medal clasp “Territorial”(GVI Ind Imp), awarded 31.7.1946.
    Belgium Croix de Guerre with Palm.

    (2 medal groups extant- one in Welch Regt Museum which is missing the Efficiency Medal clasp Territorial and one in a private collection which is missing the Korea Medal)

    3960195 Regimental Sergeant Major Leslie Richards, 4th Bn Welch Regt.
    160 Brigade, 53rd Division, 1 Corps.
    Army Form W3121.
    Recommendation for Award: Croix de Guerre 1940 with Palm (Belgium) by Major C.W.A. Bath, commanding 4th Bn, Welch R., sent to Brigade 5.10.1945; Division 12.10.1945; Corps 12.10.1945.

    During the Ardennes campaign in January 1945 RSM L Richards was CSM of “D” Company, 4th Bn The Welch Regiment. On 8th January 1945 the Battalion attacked and threw back the enemy on the mountains south of Hotton, Belgium. The weather was extremely severe and well below freezing point. The line of advance to the Company objective was over difficult and open ground constantly swept by enemy machine gun and artillery fire. Under these conditions, only heroic leadership could maintain the momentum of the attack. RSM Richards proved the inspiration of the attack. Time and time again he struggled through the snow from Platoon to Platoon to prevent the men from straggling and to urge them forward despite the severity of the weather and terribly hard going. During the whole of this time he was passing through heavy MG and artillery fire, but he entirely ignored his own personal danger. Upon reaching the objective, one section fell back in the face of heavy fire from an enemy MG post that was causing casualties but once again RSM Richards was first there to encourage them forward until the MG post was destroyed. Two days before he had shown the same bravery and gallant leadership when the Battalion recaptured another position nearby after an enemy counter attack had forced back another Battalion.
    Throughout the whole period that the Battalion were in the Ardennes both in this area and at Rochfort, RSM Richards had completely ignored all hardships under intense cold and severe conditions and he never failed to encourage the men to success. Night and day, he put aside his personal discomfort and danger in his endeavour to do his utmost to assist in the breaking of the German Ardennes offensive. A great deal of the success of the Company was due to unsparing efforts of this gallant Warrant Officer.

    Public Record Office Reference: WO 373/111/2 Bundle 1.

    The award of the Belgium Croix de Guerre with Palm was promulgated in the London Gazette 17.10.1946 p5141.
    War Office, 11th October, 1946.
    The KING has been pleased to grant unrestricted permission for the wearing of the following decorations which have been conferred on the undermentioned personnel in recognition of distinguished services in the cause of the Allies: —
    Decorations Conferred By His Royal Highness The Prince Regent Of Belgium.
    Croix de Guerre 1940 with Palm
    No. 3960195 Warrant Officer Class I Leslie RICHARDS, The Welch Regiment.

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