1st Norfolk Regiment
Synopsis of Life and Military Service
Richard Hammond Chaworth-Musters was born in Annesley, Basford, Nottinghamshire on 28 March 1895 and baptised at the Annesley, All Saints Church on 12 May that year. He studied at Haileybury College. He then attended the Royal Military College as a cadet and was commissioned in the Norfolk Regiment on 16 December 1914. His service record states that he was 5’ 9” tall and spoke conversational French.
He arrived in France on 16 May 1915 and at some point he was transferred to the Royal Irish Rifles as a Temporary Lieutenant but he relinquished the appointment on 18 March 1916. He was subsequently promoted to Lieutenant on 30 July 1916. He was posted to 1 Norfolk Regiment on 16 May 1917 and the following month was made an acting Captain while commanding a company in the Norfolk Regiment. Later that year he was awarded the Military Cross on 19 September. His citation read:
“For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty in commanding his company under heavy shell fire. He led them with great courage and disregard of danger to the attack of a strongly held concrete redoubt, capturing there 28 of the enemy and a machine gun. He set a splendid example to his men”
In December 1917 the Battalion moved to the Italian Front to help support Italian troops who had suffered a major blow and were retreating. As part of their operations there Richard was mentioned in Major General Herbert Plumer’s despatch of 18 April 1918. The Battalion returned to the Western Front in early April 1918, and shortly afterwards he left the regiment (at this time still a Captain) as he was seriously wounded on 29 May when an enemy 5.9 shell hit the Battalion HQ. Richard was there in his capacity as Adjutant.
After the war he was posted to Gibraltar as ADC to the Governor from 15 September 1922 to 18 January 1924 during which time he was promoted to Captain on 1 January 1923. On returning to England he married Muriel Page in Colchester in 1925 and retired on 8 May 1926 until he was recalled to service with war with Germany looming. He resumed his Commission on 28 March 1939 and was a Major with 236 Battery of the 78 Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment of the Royal Artillery by the time he died.
Richard committed suicide on 31 December 1941. It was stated at the inquest that three(?) shots were heard and he was later found dead lying on a bed. Medical evidence showed that he had placed his Service revolver in his mouth and the bullet had passed through his head. The coroner recorded a verdict that he took his life while the balance of his mind was disturbed. Probate records show that his effects were valued at £1,386.
He is buried at All Saints Churchyard in Morston, Norfolk.
The following family members have been identified:
- Father – Lancelot George Eden Michael Chaworth-Musters, born c.1868, died 1932.
- Mother – Mabel Violet Chaworth-Musters, born c.1867, died 1948.
- Brother – Roger Michael Chaworth-Musters, born 23 March 1898, died 7 May 1917.
- Sister – Joan Winifred Mary Chaworth-Musters, born c.1907, died c.1998.
- Wife – Muriel M Page or Chaworth-Musters.
- Daughter – Joan C Chaworth-Musters, born 30 November 1925.
- Son – Michael Chaworth-Musters born 1927.
Richard had six cousins (through his uncle John Patricious Chaworth-Musters) who fought in the war, three of whom died while in service:
- Patricious George Chaworth-Musters (1888-1915) – King’s Royal Rifle Corps.
- Philip Mundy Chaworth-Musters MC (1895-1917) – Royal Field Artillery
- Robert Chaworth-Musters MC (1896-1918) – King’s Royal Rifle Corps
- 1911 Census states that he was a student at Haileybury College.
- Probate records show that at the time of his death he was stationed at Scawby Camp near Brigg, Lincolnshire.
- His last known address was 19 Allandale Road, Stoneygate, Leicester.
Richard Hammond Chaworth-Musters is honoured and remembered on the :-
- Haileybury WW1 Cross, Haileybury College, Hertford Heath, Hertfordshire.
The only conflicting information I could find was from the document ‘Soldiers Who Died in the Great War’ which states that he was born and enlisted in Glasgow. I believe that this information is incorrect due to the wealth of information to the contrary.
Links to Additional Information
- Lives of the First World War – Richard Hammond Chaworth-Musters
- Imperial War Museum – Haileybury, WW1 Cross
- Find a Grave – Richard Hammond Chaworth-Musters – All Saints Churchyard, Norfolk
- University of Nottingham: Biography of John Chaworth-Musters (1838-1887)
- Nottinghamshire Baptisms Index 1538-1917
- Find my Past Regimental Records of officers’ services
- London Gazette dated 15 December 1914, Issue 29007 Page 10695
- London Gazette dated 5 May 1916, Supplement 29571 Page 4533
- London Gazette dated 10 April 1917, Supplement 30014 Page 3464
- London Gazette dated 20 July 1917, Supplement 30193 Page 7410
- London Gazette dated 14 September 1917, Supplement 30287 Page 9565
- London Gazette dated 30 May 1918, Supplement 30711 Page 6333
- The National Archives WO 95/1573/2 (1 Battalion Norfolk Regiment)
- Medal Index Cards 1914-1920
- London Gazette dated 10 April 1923, Supplement 32813 Page 2646
- London Gazette dated 18 March 1924, Issue 32919 Page 2323
- London Gazette dated 7 May 1926, Issue 33160 Page 3112
- England and Wales Marriages 1837-2005
- 1939 Register
- Daily Mail 3 January 1942
- England and Wales Probate Death Index
- Trevor Torkington