Whiskard, Richard Geoffrey, 1920-1944

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Whiskard, Richard Geoffrey, 1920-1944

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Whiskard, Richard Geoffrey, son of Sir Geoffrey Granville Whiskard KCB KCMG, UK High Commissioner to the Commonweath of Australia, and his first wife Cynthia Salome Caroline, d. of Edmund Whitelock Reeves; b. 31 Mar. 1920; adm. Sept. 1933 (H), KS May 1935; left July 1938; Univ. Coll. Oxf., matric. 1938; Welsh Guards 1940-4 (Lieut.); killed in action (Normandy) 2 Aug. 1944.

Richard Geoffrey Whiskard was born at Kensington, London on the 21st of March 1920 the elder son of Sir Geoffrey Granville Whiskard KCB, KCMG, MA, High Commissioner to the Commonwealth of Australia, and Lady Cynthia Salome Caroline (nee Reeves) Whiskard of 156, Sloane Street in London and of 13, Mill Street, Mildenhall in Suffolk. He was educated at Westminster School where he was up Homeboarders from September 1933 to July 1938 and was a King’s Scholar from May 1935. From the beginning of his time at Westminster he took an intense interest in the School and in the Abbey and was already a considerable authority on their history and antiquities. He matriculated for University College, Oxford in 1938 but left before graduating for military service.
He attended an Officer Cadet Training Unit before being commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Welsh Guards on the 2nd of November 1940. He was posted to the 2nd (Armoured Reconnaissance) Battalion of his Regiment on the 8th of September 1943.
The 2nd (Armoured Reconnaissance) Battalion, Welsh Guards landed in Normandy in late June 1944 and fought in a number of engagements during the following few weeks.
On the evening of the 1st of August 1944, the 2nd (Armoured Reconnaissance) Battalion, Welsh Guards moved to a position just to the north of the village of St Martin des Besaces. At first light the following morning Nos. 1 and 3 Squadrons moved through the village to La Tourneur and then to Catheolles where the two Squadrons split with No. 3 Squadron by-passing Courteil and Montchamp before reaching the village of La Marvindiere. No. 1 Squadron, which had been unable to leave the roads, lost two tanks early in the advance. In the evening all three of the reconnaissance Squadrons moved into the area of La Marvindiere where they were under heavy shelling, mortar and sniper fire throughout the night. They held these positions until the 5th of August when they were withdrawn at 5am. They had suffered casualties during this period of three officer and even other ranks killed with twenty other ranks wounded. Richard Whiskard was among the dead.
His commanding officer described his death as: - “One of our major losses.”
His father wrote the following after the death of his son: -
“My son was killed, early in August in Normandy. A fellow officer sent me a sketch map of the spot where he was buried. I sent this to a niece of mine, who is a nursing sister with the British Army, and two months after his death, she was able to visit the place. She found that at the foot of the grave where he and the driver of his tank, who was killed by the same shell, were buried, a flowering shrub had been planted and was in full blossom. At the head of the grave, under each of the two crosses, was a vase of fresh flowers. This had been done by the French family who lived nearby. When they saw my niece, they came to the grave and brought her back with them to the farm house and gave her tea. They told her that they would always, as long as they themselves were there, tend the grave. I feel that this may, perhaps give comfort to some of your readers. Other French people, no doubt, have done, and will do, the same.”
He is commemorated on the war memorial at Mildenhall and on the memorial at University College, Oxford.
He is buried at St Charles de Percy War Cemetery Plot I, Row G, Grave 14.


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Lieutenant 153093; 1st Battalion, Welsh Guards attached to the 2nd (Armoured Reconnaissance) Battalion

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GB 2014

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International Standard Archival Authority Record for Corporate Bodies, Persons and Families - ISAAR(CPF) 2nd edition



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Prepared for import into AtoM by Westminster School Archive staff, 2019-2020. Updated by Bethany Duck, Archives Assistant, September 2022.




The Record of Old Westminsters: A biographical list of all those who are known to have been educated at Westminster School from Play 1919 to Election 1989, Volume 4, compiled by F.E. Pagan and H.E. Pagan, Padstow, 1992.

Westminster School Second World War Memorial by John C. Hamblin, 2022.

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