A century on from the end of World War I we acknowledge their service …
Lest we forget.
Lance Corporal Richard Baxter Copeland
Born: 1877 Ballarat. Killed in action: 28 July 1916 Pozieres, France
Enlisted: 4 January 1915 aged 37
Served: Egypt, Gallipoli and Western Front.
Richard was the youngest son of Ware Copeland and his wife Anne Wilson, who came from the Ballarat district and moved to Pakenham Upper around 1905, settling on a property called The Grange on what is now Huxtable Road.
Richard worked the property with his father and played district cricket for Pakenham.
Richard served with the Anzacs at Gallipoli and was evacuated in December 1915. In March 1916, his unit was shipped to France to join the British Expeditionary Force on the Western Front.
Richard was killed on 28 July 1916 at Pozieres but amidst the confusion and calamity of war, he was initially reported as missing. When his family was informed of this, they waited anxiously for further news.
The Copelands later heard privately from another soldier that Richard had been killed, one of 23,000 Australian casualties (including 6800 killed) during the six week offensive.
He was among a party digging a trench when hit by a shell. There was no sign of the tall, slim man nicknamed “Brigadier”, with a witness later saying: “I feel quite certain he was blown to bits”.
This is an extract from Patrick Ferry’s book A Century After The Guns Fell Silent – Remembering the Pakenham District’s WWI Diggers 1914-18.
For more details on this and other profiles in the book, head to the website www.pakenhamww1.com