Richard Henry Eslick (1890-1917)
Private Richard Henry Eslick was born in 1890 in Thorpes Pinch, New South Wales, Australia, the son of Samuel Eslick and his wife Anna Maria Reed. His parents, both from Cornwall, had married in Yorkshire in 1878 and immediately emigrated to New South Wales. Richard was the sixth of their twelve children born in New South Wales. He joined the Australian Infantry Force, 45th Battalion, 2nd Reinforcement in 1916, service number 1628. He listed his occupation as farmer upon enlistment, likely on his father’s farm named ‘Truro’.
Richard was declared missing and later as killed in action on the first day of the Battle of Messines in Flanders, 7 June 1917. The anxiety of his family appears in several letters like the one shown here from Richard’s service papers. The entire battalion was engaged in this attack and although the Allies were successful, in a 4-day period the battalion suffered the worst casualties of its history including 8 officers and 146 other ranks.
Richard is commemorated on the Ypres (Menim Gate) Memorial along with 54,000 other service personnel whose graves are not known. A few months after Richard’s death, we are fortunate that a film was captured of the preparation of Australian troops including Richard’s battalion for the Battle of Passchendaele.
Major J E Lee DSO MC, Battalion History (45th Battalion AIF), http://users.senet.com.au/~bobgill/~bobgill/1917.htm, [accessed 30 Jun 2016].
‘The AIF Project’, UNSW Australia, https://www.aif.adfa.edu.au/showPerson?pid=92240, [accessed 30 Jun 2016].
‘Private Richard Henry Eslick’, FindAGrave, courtesy of International WarGraves Photography Project, http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=11991961, [accessed 30 June 2016].
‘Richard Henry Eslick’, Australia WWI Service Records 1914-1920, Ancestry, http://home.ancestry.co.uk/, [accessed 30 Jun 2016].
‘Fighting in Flanders : with the Australian Imperial Forces on the Western Front’, Imperial War Museums, © IWM (IWM 158), http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/1060008199, [accessed 30 Jun 2016].