Arthur Richardson signature
Arthur Richardson died at Camp Mohawk near Deseronto on this day in 1918. There are conflicting accounts of his death: the registration of his death in the records held by the Archives of Ontario states that he died of a fractured skull after a fall with an aeroplane:Arthur Richardson's death registrationHowever, other records give drowning as the cause of death and there is a file at the Archives of Ontario in the Attorney General’s series with the title “Report re death of Cadet A. Richardson who fell down hole at Camp Mohawk. And as to instituting proceedings for criminal negligence against Works foreman who failed to guard the hole.”The Royal Air Force casualty card for Richardson also notes that he “Drowned at Deseronto, Canada (result of falling into pit)”. This record has the date of the accident as October 4th.The Attorney General’s file at the Archives of Ontario holds details of the inquiry into the accident. It was decided that a criminal prosecution should be pursued against the foreman of the team who dug the hole, George Vanderwater:

Detail of Attorney General's 1918 file RG 4-32/2186 at the Archives of Ontario

Detail of Attorney General’s 1918 file RG 4-32/2186 at the Archives of Ontario

MEMORANDUM FOR THE HONOURABLE THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
Re Cadet Arthur Richardson
Onn the 3rd inst. Arthur Richardson a Cadet at Camp Mohawk near Deseronto fell down a hole or pit about 16 feet deep and was illed. This pit which was constructed for drainage purposes was unguarded and unlighted, owing, in my opinion, to the negligence of George Vandewater the Foreman – Imperial Munitions Board at Camp Mohawk.
The pit lay close to the Cadet Barracks and adjacent to a walk over which 35 men were accustomed to go, 10 to 15 deep and about 10 by 5 feet wide at the top, being narrower at the bottom and containing some water.

Richardson was born in Gateshead, England in 1890, the son of William Summerbell Richardson and Dorothy (née Burn). He attended the Royal Grammar School at Newcastle-upon-Tyne from 1902. He moved to New York in 1913, arriving on the RMS Adriatic on October 3rd, 1913 (five years to the day before he died). He was a chartered accountant by profession.

Arthur joined the Royal Flying Corps on April 11th, 1918 in Winnipeg (technically by then it was the Royal Air Force) and was officially appointed to the Corps on April 15th in Toronto with the regimental number 171458. He was five feet ten and three quarter inches tall, with a dark complexion, black hair and brown eyes.

He was buried in Bellefontaine Cemetery, St. Louis, Missouri. A blog post on the Sacrifice site explains why.

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