NAME: George RICHIE
SERVICE NO: 1414
YEAR OF BIRTH: 1894
PLACE OF BIRTH: Katunga
DATE OF ENLISTMENT: 12 October 1914
PLACE OF ENLISTMENT: Hamilton
AGE AT ENLISTMENT: 20
UNIT: 14th Battalion
EMBARKED: 2 February 1915
TROOP SHIP: HMAT A46 Clan Macgillivray
FATE: Killed in Action – 5 February 1917
George Richie was born at Katunga near Numerkah in 1894 to Issac Richie and Janet Caldwell. George spent much of his childhood at Willaura, where his father was a railway ganger. Around 1914 the Richies moved to Hamilton living off Penshurst Road, South Hamilton. Issac continued his work with the railways.
On 12 October 1914, George enlisted and left Australia on 2 February 1915 with the 14th Battalion for Egypt. Around fifty men from the 14th Battalion left Egypt for the island of Lemnos on 4 April 1915, (Easter Monday). They spent time on a ship off the island, before eighteen men were sent ashore to guard the island. George Richie was among them. On 8 July 1915, the Willaura Farmer published a letter from George to his brother. George was writing from Lemnos Island helping the First Australian Stationary hospital guarding of patients and during the week prior to his writing, he had seen the arrival of the first Turkish prisoners. He had heard the hospital would move in a week and he wrote that he wasn’t sure if he would return to his battalion or stay with the hospital.
George did return to the 14th Battalion on 24 April 1915, just in time for the Gallipoli landing. On 22 August, George received a bullet wound to his left shoulder and evacuated to Cairo. It was 1 February 1916 before he rejoined his battalion at Ismailia, Egypt. On 8 June 1916, George arrived with the 14th Battalion in France and on 22 January 1917 he was promoted to Lance Corporal. On 5 February 1917, the 14th Battalion were at Gueudecourt attempting to take Stormy trench when a shell fell on the gun team George Richie was a part of, killing them instantly about 10:30pm. The 14th Battalion war diary recorded the events of the day in detail (link below).
George was reported missing on 6 February 1917, and on 9 March, the Hamilton Spectator reported his disappearance. An inquiry was held and witnesses gave accounts of the death and burial of George and it was confirmed he was killed on 5 February. The Richie’s heard the news on 30 March. George was twenty-three years old.