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I am grateful to Cynthia Dyer-Bennet for permission to reproduce these letters from her grandfather's transcripts and also for the following biographical information on Captain WP Richards.
William Powell Richards was the son of Edward Windsor Richards (1789-1848) and his wife Caroline. The couple had at least five children: William appears to have been the eldest child. Eliza (Elizabeth Jane Windsor Richards) was the third child and second daughter. Selina, Isabella and Carrie (Caroline?) were the other girls. Richards' mother Caroline was the fourth child and third daughter of John Bennet of Laleston, Glamorgan (1761-1855). WP Richards' father was the Rector of St. Andrew's, Glamorgan.
Richards must have been born at some time aroud 1825. He became a Gentleman Cadet on 2 May 1845 and was promoted to Second Lieutenant on 1 October 1847. He was 20 years old when he was commissioned in the Royal Artillery.
Richards became a First Lieutenant on 30 June 1848 and in the middle of 1854 was shipped to the Crimea. On 6 January 1855 he was promoted to the rank of Second Captain; throughout his letters he is counting the number of men in front of him in the promotion table. On 6 June 1856 he reached the rank of Brevet Major, just as the Crimean War came to a close. At the end of his service in the Crimea, he returned to the rank of Captain on 1 April 1860.
On 21 February 1861, Richards retired on half pay, as was common in peacetime.
In 1867, William Powell Richards changed his surname to Bennet in accordance
with the will of will of his maternal grandfather, John Bennet, and after the
death of his
uncle, John Wick Bennet. WP Richards (Bennet) died on 1 May 1870 at Roath, Cardiff.
Hart's Army List (1865), p. 101 notes:
Major Richards served in the Eastern campaign of 1854-55, including the affairs of Bulganac and M'Kenzie's Farm, the battles of Alma (horse shot), Balaklava, and Inkerman (horse killed), seige of Sebastopol and repulse of the sortie on the 26 October 1854 (Medal and Clasps, Knight of the Legion of Honor, and Turkish Medal).
Of WP Richards' family, Captain Richards' sister Selenah married Frederick Carr Swinnerton Dyer (1837-1896), who also served in the Crimean War in the 19th and 75th Regiments. They had one child - the paternal great-grandfather of Cynthia Dyer-Bennet. He was Frederick Stewart Hotham Dyer (1862-1923). Therefore, Captain Richards was uncle to FSH Dyer and great uncle to Ms. Dyer-Bennet's grandfather.
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