One of those creepy coincidence things but no sooner do I write a post on Gallipoli than the Parish magazine comes through the letterbox with the story of Lt. Richard Empson. He was one of three village 'sons' who all died during May 1915. One of the village residents is tracking down all those who perished and finding out the details of their service and their deaths.
Richard Empson was the son of Dr. John and Mrs Esther Empson. Educated at Marlborough College he was already a member of the Royal Marine Light Infantry in 1913. He saw action at Lille and Lierre and was promoted to Lieutenant in 1914. He was present through0ut the siege of Antwerp but in February 1915 he sailed as part of the 29th Division for Egypt and then on to the Dardanelles. On the 25th April he and his unit landed at Gaba Tepe and was forced to fight a severe action to hold their ground. On the 28th April, Lt. Empson and his company moved to hold a forward position which instantly came under heavy fire. They were pinned down and running short of supplies when a L/Cpl Parker crawled under fire across open ground to offer assistance. Parker was wounded but subsequently was awarded the Victoria Cross. Lt. Empson was already wounded but on the 1st of May his position was hit by a shell and he was killed. Had he lived he would have been awarded a Military Cross but instead he was 'Mentioned in Despatches'.
It's good that local people are prepared to give of their time to, as it were, 'humanise' the anonymous names we pass daily on the war memorial. On Friday 29th May, the local bell-ringers will be pealing the bells semi-muffled as a tribute to the men of Milborne Port who died on active service a hundred years ago. As fine a tribute as you could wish.