Richard Houghton was born in Durham, England, in November 1893 to Andrew and Mary Lizzie. When he and his family moved to Australia (1913), resided at Gray Street, Keiraville.
He was worked as a blacksmith before the war but ultimately enlisted as did his younger brother, William.
Richard Houghton – service photograph.
Family have shared the typed out reminisces of Richard, typed up by his brother, William Houghton. It also includes hand drawn maps depicting the lines and tactics.
Richard served in the 31st Infantry Battalion, 8 Brigade, 5 Division which was commonly referred to as:
The 31st Battalion was known to the rest of the Aussie Army as Tivvy’s chocs, the reason being that General Tivvy, as a colonel, had been the battalion commander right through until the formation of the new units in Egypt, when he was promoted Brigadier General in charge of the either Brigade.
And so the battalion was the only one in the Australian army to have a nickname, and they were proud of it.
The brigade was explained as:
The 8th Brigade, consisting of the 29th, 30th, 31st and 32nd battalions, which formed the left flank of the attack had, while waiting in the front line, suffered more severely than the rest of the Australian troops. The reason for this was partly that it lay on the flank, and partly that its front line, running closer to the enemy than that of the other sectors not only received special attention from him, but also caught a number of shells from its own guns intended for the enemy’s wire…
…Several hundred yards farther still could be seen barbed wire entanglements – probably those protecting a German strong-point, known as “Grashof”, then in course of construction. Toll knew that this could not possibly be the “Support Line” referred to in the operation orders, and it appeared to be a strong position. Small parties of the 14th Brigade could be seen away on the right, and Toll tried to communicate with them, and Bernard went out to obtain toich and was immediately shot, – Toll then returned and found that Major Eckersley’s line was still out of touch with any troops on either flank. The sun was setting and from Delangre farm and the houses of Les Clochers village beyond there came this chatter of machine-guns. The enemy’s guns had found and were effectively shelling the unprotected troops, who were also caught by occasional shells from their own guns. The men were consequently under no small strain, and German reinforcements could be seen moving from the year to Delangre farm…
Richard was fighting in Fromelles when he was reported missing in action on July 19, 1916 and was reported wounded in action on July 20, 1916. He was admitted to hospital on July 21 and subsequently died of his wounds in Bevan Military Hospital, Sandgate, England on August 5, 1916. He was 22 years of age.
Richard Houghton is buried at Hatton Lane Cemetery, England; a photo of his grave has been shared below. He is commemorated at Australian War Memorial, panel 118 at the Commemorative area and well as Keiraville Public School’s Roll of Honour.