Garnons Williams was a Welsh international rugby union player who was killed in his first day as commanding officer of the 12th Battalion Royal Fusiliers. He was born in Llowes, Radnorshire on 15th June 1856, the son of the vicar of Abercamlais. His mother was Catherine Hort from Dublin, sister of Fenton Hort the theologian and critical translator of the New Testament. Richard was privately educated at Wimbledon and went on to Magdalen College, Oxford, later switching to Trinity, Cambridge. He played rugby for both Universities but did not win a Blue.
In 1881 he was selected to play for the first Wales team in their inaugural match against England where they were humiliated. At this time he was a serving officer in the British army having been to Sandhurst and entering the 7th Royal Fusiliers in 1877. He was appointed adjutant of the 4th Militia Battalion on 10th Jan 1887. He retired from the regular army in 1892 but served in volunteer units until 1906 when he resigned his commission with the rank of lieutenant-colonel.
He rejoined the army in 1914 and was posted to the Royal Fusiliers, joining the 12th Battalion as a major on 26th Sep. On 3rd Oct 1914 he was a temporary lieutenant-colonel in command of the Brecknockshire Battalion of the South Wales Borderers. But he later transferred back to the Royal Fusiliers to take command of the 12th Battalion on 25th Sep 1915. This was the date of the first day of the Battle of Loos and he was killed leading his men at the age of 59. The Loos Memorial commemorates 20,000 soldiers who fell in the battle and have no known grave. Richard Garnons Williams is one of the names on the memorial.
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