PRIVATE RCHARD BURR
LONDON REGIMENT ROYAL FUSILIERS
8TH AUGUST 1918 AGE 19
BURIED: BEACON CEMETERY,, SAILLY LAURETTE, FRANCE
This could be the lament for the whole war, the lament of everyone. If only there'd been no war, if only it had been over before my son reached the age of military service, if only his regiment hadn't been in the front line, if only he hadn't been killed, if only ...
Richard Burr was the third of Herbert and Emily Burr's six children. Herbert was a milkman and the family lived at 6 Browns Road, Walthamstow E17 in a house that the 1911 census says had 5 rooms for the eight of them. Floor plans on RightMove show that there would have been two bedrooms, a kitchen and two reception rooms in the house.
Burr's medal card gives no hint as to when he first entered a theatre of war but as he would have been conscripted when he became 18 in October 1916, he would have been old enough to go to the front in October 1917. He was killed on 8 August 1918, the first of the Battle of Amiens. But Burr's regiment, the 1/4th London Regiment Royal Fusiliers, were not involved in the attack. The regimental diary brackets the days 4th-8th August 1918 with the words:
"Battalion in front line trenches. The period passed unusually quietly, there being very little artillery activity by the enemy. Our patrols were very active during the hours of darkness. Defences were strengthened and trenches improved."
So what happened to Private Richard Burr? Who knows, but ... "if only".