On 22nd November we remember Kirkby Underwood soldier, Richard Christian who died 100 years ago this day. Richard born in 1884 was one of 10 children born to Robert Christian, a bricklayer, and his wife Elizabeth Marshall, both born in Kirkby Underwood. By the age of 16 Richard was a horseman on a farm and living with the Ruskin family in Swinstead. One year later Richard attested to the militia of the 4th Lincolnshire Regiment on the 22nd May 1902 and was living in Billingborough.
Richard drilled with the 4th Battalion Lincolnshire regiment until April 1908 when he was discharged when the Territorial and Reserve Forces act disbanded the volunteer and militia units and placed the men on regular army reserve. In 1911 Richard was living with his mother and younger siblings in Kirkby Underwood, his father having passed away. Richard married Kate (Catherine) Maples in the Autumn of 1913 and by 1918 they had 4 children. Richard joined the Durham Light Infantry during the war and was later transferred to the 409th Company of the labour Corps. The 409th company was known as the Kesteven and Lindsay company which was based at Lincoln. The labour Corps traditionally took men who were wounded and then classed as less than A1 fitness and this would indicate that Richard was either wounded or, at the age of 34 not fit for front line service. Richard died in England on the 22nd November 1918, 11 days after the end of the war. Rather than an act of war Richard was the victim of a family tragedy. On the 19th November Richard and Kate became parents for the 4th time when baby Kate was born. Only 3 days later both Richard and his wife Kate died within hours of each other of acute influenza (Spanish Flu being rife at the time) and baby Kate eventually died on the 29th November. All three are buried in Billingborough churchyard in a grave marked and tended by the Commonwealth War Grave Commission. Richard Christian is commemorated on the Kirkby Underwood memorial.