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25/1089 Rifleman Richard Bertram Soughtton NZEF

NZEF Pair - 25/1089 Soughtton

SKU: ZM210
  • The British War Medal and Victory Medal pair issued to 25/1089 Richard Bertram Soughtton, who was twice wounded on the Western Front.


    Richard Bertram Soughtton was born 29th April 1885 at Martinborough, New Zealand. Son of Edward Brown and Margaret Aitken Soughton (née Oliver). Prior to his enlistment in the New Zealand Expeditionary Force in October 1915, Soughton was employed by Pain and Kershaw, general storekeepers of Martinborough. he had started his working life with Pain and Kershaw, but worked for a number of years in Wellington and David Anderson’s grocery store in Molesworth St before moving back to Martinborough. He is noted as being an ‘active hockey and football player’ over these pre-war years.


    Soughtton embarked with 3rd Battalion, New Zealand Rifle Brigade in early 1916, and after a brief stay at Suez, deployed to the Western Front in May 1916. He was posted to B Company, 3rd Battalion NZRB and had the distinction of being one of the earliest casualties of the battalion. The official history of the New Zealand Rifle Brigade takes up the story: On the night of 22nd/23rd of May the New Zealand Rifle Brigade commenced its first tour of duty in the trenches in France, taking over from the 2nd Brigade part of the sector due east of Armentieres. During the previous day or two a careful reconnaissance had been carried out by officers and non-commissioned officers, who made themselves as thoroughly acquainted as possible with the whole area, and more particularly with the front-line trenches and No Man’s Land. Specialists, such as Lewis gunners and observers, went in on the 21st, thus ensuring that there should be no break in their particular work. The 1st Battalion relieved 2nd Auckland in the Epinette sub-sector - the point of the salient - while 2nd Otago was relieved by the 3rd Battalion.


    It was during this first day in the trenches that Soughtton suffered a ‘slight shrapnel wound in the nose’, and was evacuated from the front line. He returned to his unit a week later, but on 1st July 1916 he suffered a second wound, this time gunshot wounds to his neck and left buttock. He was evacuated to the UK, and underwent a period of convalescence. He returned to his unit in the field in January 1917, and remained in the field throughout 1917 and 1918, with only brief periods of leave in the UK. He returned to New Zealand and was discharged in July 1919. He received the British War Medal and Victory Medal in 1921 and 1922 respectively.Soughtton married Louisa Jessie Dalton in 1920 and had a family of at least one son. They resided in Martinborough where Richard worked as a confectioner. Richard Soughtton died 10th January 1951 at Martinborough, and is buried in Martinborough Cemetery.


    Both medals are correctly impressed 25/1089 RFLM. R.B. SOUGHTTON. N.Z.E.F.

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