The Other Ranker

Lieutenant Colonel Dick Worrall, D.S.O., M.C.
14th (Royal Montreal Regiment) Battalion


He advanced his line half a mile and under heavy fire maintained his position all day. The following day, though his left was exposed to withering machine gun and artillery fire, he captured a village, taking prisoners a whole battalion. Still pushing on, he took the final objective, and established his position, having advanced some 5,000 yards from the jumping off line. He displayed fine courage and leadership.

(Worrall D.S.O. Citation, London Gazette, 11 Jan 1919, 1605)

Richard Worrall was born in Woolwich, England on 8 July 1890. He served for eight years in the Dorsetshire Regiment before emigrating to the United States. He seemed to have joined the US Army but evidently deserted to fight for Canada at the outbreak of the Great War. He was one of the very few men to enlist as a private and rise through the ranks to command an infantry battalion.

After joining the 14th Battalion in September 1914, he quickly gained a promotion to sergeant before the unit sailed for England. He earned an officer’s commission after the carnage at Second Ypres in May 1915. By June 1916, he was promoted to captain but was wounded during the Battle of Mont Sorrel.

A recovered Worrall rejoined the battalion in the field as a major five months later. After Lieutenant Colonel Gault McCombe and several senior officers were wounded by an exploding shell, Worrall assumed command of the 14th on 18 April 1918. By the end of the war, he had earned the D.S.O, and Bar and the Military Cross.

After the battalion returned to Canada in April 1919, Worrall contracted influenza in early 1920. He was admitted to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal but died from pneumonia on 15 February 1920.

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