Wednesday, 4 May 2016

James Richardson - WWI in Ruhleben

I have spent some time trying to find the details of all the Falkirk FC players who served in the Great War, it is not always easy because most of the files were destroyed in 1940 during the blitz. However there are long and laborious ways around this 'problem'.

However it was during this that I came across another Falkirk FC related tragedy from the first war: that of James Richardson.

James Richardson was like most Victorians Bairns, apart from the fact that due to his Father's profession of Master Mariner, he seems to have born on the Chinchas Islands off the coast of Peru in 1858!

An engineer by trade the first time we come across him in the world of football was whilst studying in Glasgow he was playing with Kelvinbank, and brought the team through to play against a team of players from Falkirk in what was reported to be the first match ever played in Falkirk. This was in December of 1877.

As far as I can tell he played no actual part in the formation of Falkirk FC, however his wee brother George was the first proper secretary of the club [so he was probably in contact], and he probably helped in teaching the initiates in the early days.

After his time in Glasgow he returned to the town where he joined Falkirk for the next couple of seasons, before getting a proper job on the high seas.

The next I learned of his life was his return from Germany at the end of World War One. It seems that the steamer on which he was serving was in port in Hamburg when war was announced between Germany and the UK, and the crew were interned in the Ruhleben Internment Camp for the duration.


Upon his return to Falkirk he got a post as tinsmith in the Gothic Works in Camelon, where he ultimately died within ten years of his time.


James Richardson 

b c1858, Peru 
d 1st October 1927, Falkirk, Stirlingshire
 
Debut – Saturday March 8th 1879 v Kelvinbank (H) Friendly
Competitive Debut – Saturday September 27th 1879 v Grasshoppers (H) Scottish Cup 1st Rd
Positions – Left-Back
Scottish Cup Matches/Goals [1/-]
Other Matches/Goals [8/-]
Known Career – Kelvinbank [1877/78], Falkirk [1878/79-1880/81]
Brother of George Richardson [Falkirk 1877/78-1880/81]