Rank or Title
Date of Birth
Date of Death
20 Oct 1918
War time / or Pre War occupation
Place of Birth
World War I Address
Place of Death
War Memorial Location
Soldier or Civilian
Pte Richard (Dick) Swift, 58923, 1st Battalion Northants Regiment, was on sentry duty in France when he died from the shock of a shell exploding close to him on October 20th, 1918.
A chum wrote to parents Richard and Beatrice Swift at 62 Queen Street, Luton: “ Dick was on sentry-go with another chap when a shell burst close to them. His pal shouted to him, and when he looked round later he saw Dick lying down. He spoke to him but got no answer, and so bent down and looked at him. He could find no wound, and the only conclusion is that he died instantaneously by the shock of the shell.”
Pte Swift had been in France only a month when he met his death. He had joined the Northamptons earlier in 1918. The letter gave the date of death as October 21st.
Another chum, Pte W. H. Pigott, who lived at 39 May Street, Luton, wrote: “I am extremely sorry to hear of his death, as I had been in his tent all the time we were at Scrapegate – in fact we both joined up the same day, and came out here together. He was a real good chap and his loss is, I am sure, keenly felt out here by his comrades.”
Richard Swift described himself on his enlistment papers as a steel turner. He was aged 22, unmarried, and had worked at Vauxhall Motors previously. He is commemorated on the Vauxhall War Memorial, Luton War Memorial/Roll of Honour and in the Book of Life compiled at Luton Parish Church.