1. Grave:Hebuterne Military CemeteryI. F. 1.
2. Book:The (1921) Masonic Roll of Honour 1914-1918Pg.134
3. Memorial:The (1940) Scroll - WW1 Roll of Honour52D GQS
4. Memorial:Liverpool Masonic Hall War MemorialCol.4. Hope St.

Awards & Titles:

Mentioned in Despatches
Queen's South Africa Medal with 4 clasps
King's South African Campaign Medal 1901&2 clasps

Early Life :

The majority of this legend is courtesy of Geoff Cuthill of the Province of West Lancashire, to whom the project is grateful.

Richard was born at Kumara, Westland, New Zealand, on 29th May, 1881 eldest son of Richard John and Louisa Jane Seddon; two years after his father had entered the New Zealand Parliament. His father, Richard John Seddon, was born at School Brow, Eccleston, near St Helens, Lancashire, England, on 22 June 1845, and his grandfather was Thomas Seddon, the headmaster of Eccleston Grammar School, who had married Jane Lindsay, a Scot from Annan, Dumfriesshire, and the teacher at the Eccleston denominational school. When she married her school closed.

His mother Louisa Jane Spotswood originated from Victoria in Australia, but had moved to New Zealand in 1869. Obviously, his father enjoyed his time as a youth in St Helens, as he called the house in Golders Hill, Wellington, “Eccleston”.

When Richard was 12 years old, his father became Prime Minister of New Zealand, a position he held from 27th April, 1893 until his death on 10th June, 1906, and was instrumental in introducing old age pensions in 1898. A great statesman, but also a great mason, initiated into Pacific Lodge N0.1229 at Hokitika, New Zealand, in 1869, he served the craft for thirty seven years, and was installed as the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of New Zealand at Christchurch on 28th April 1898 and re-installed the following year on April 25th at Hokitika Town Hall.

Further portrait images can be found on Find-a-Grave

Service Life:


Unit / Ship / Est.: New Zealand Rifle Brigade, N.Z.E.F 

Consolidated list of Riflemen from all battalions of the New Zealand Rifle Brigade.

Action : The Second Battles of the Somme 1918 

21 August - 3 September 1918. Following the success at Amiens which Ludendorf described as "the black day for the German army" the conditions were right for the advance to be continued over the old Somme battlefield. Astonishingly the battlefield was crossed in 10 days, compared with the four months of the first battle. The Germans were pushed back towards the Hindenburg Line defences.

Detail :

Richard served as a teenager with the Heretaunga Mounted Rifle Volunteers, and only days after reaching his 19th birthday, joined the fourth contingent of volunteers to serve in the South African war with the “Rough Riders”. A photograph shows him in uniform prior to departure, with his family. He is a Lieutenant, later Captain, standing 5’9”, his occupation being given as Ironmonger with Briscoe, McNeil & Coy. It is reported in the newspapers of the time that he was Mentioned in Despatches by Lord Roberts, and in August 1901 was recommended for the Distinguished Service Order by the Officer Commanding. He received the Queen's South Africa Medal with clasps for Cape Colony, Belfast, Transvaal and Rhodesia, and also the King's South Africa Medal. He steadily moved up in rank, and on 21 March 1911, he proceeded to England for instruction and training, returning to New Zealand after 2½ years, and not long after resigned his commission on the permanent staff.

He attested for overseas service again, as Captain, on 21 February 1917, now aged two months short of 36 years, described as an Importer and Principal owner of R.J. Seddon & Co. Ltd. Physically he is 144 pounds weight, 35 inch chest, of a dark complexion, brown eyes, black hair, Church of England, perfect eyesight, and a heart rate of 76. His confidential report states that Captain Seddon is “a valuable and experienced officer, highly recommended, 17 years an officer, passed as Major, seen active service in South Africa, had Special Training in England, and qualified at the London School of Economics.” He joined the 35th Reinforcement draft of Officers to the New Zealand Expeditionary Force as No 57384 Captain, leaving Wellington on 2nd March aboard His Majesties New Zealand Transport Ship No. 101, Tofua, as Headquarters Staff Officer, commanding troops onboard. Landing first at Suez on 8 April 1918, stopping for three weeks before sailing again, arriving in Southampton on 15 May. From here the troops moved to Brocton Camp and Richard was taken onto the strength of the New Zealand Rifle Brigade on 31 May 1918, but back dated to 2nd March of that year. On 1st July 1918, he was sent to No.2 New Zealand General Hospital, at Walton, with cysts, and discharged to London on the 11th July, returning to Brocton. Richard left England for France on 7th August arriving the following day at the large base camp at Etaples, and on 11 August joined the 3rd Battalion, 3rd New Zealand Rifle Brigade in the field, and on 14th August he was posted to A Company. He was killed in action seven days later, on Wednesday 21 August 1918, aged 37 years. His time alive in France lasted just thirteen days.

His body was buried 7 miles west of Bapaume. Today he lies in Hebuterne Military Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France, in grave I.F.I. The village of Hebuterne is 15 kilometres north of Albert (Somme) and 20 kilometres south-west of Arras.

Richard is commemorated on a brass plaque in old St. Pauls Church, Wellington which says "To the Glory and in Memory of Richard John Spotswood Seddon, Captain, New Zealand Expeditionary Force Killed in Action, Bapaume, France, 1918, aged 37. Faithful Unto Death."

The most poignant memorial to Richard must be at St. Albans Church, Eastbourne, near to Wellington, where his sister and her husband, Captain Knox Gilmer donated a memorial bell in his memory. It was dedicated by his lordship Bishop Sprott to a crowded church full of friends and family, including his mother and all relatives in New Zealand. The bell, weighing two hundred weight, was cast at Dunedin, and bears the inscription “In Memory of Captain R.J.S. Seddon killed in action in France 21st August 1918”. A brass tablet was also erected which says “The church bell was erected by May and Knox Gilmer to the Glory of God and in affectionate remembrance of their brother Captain Richard John Spotswood Seddon, N.Z.E.F. who fell in action near Bapaume, France, 21st August 1918”. At the conclusion of the service, the bell was rung thirty seven times, one ring for every year of Captain Seddon's life.

In addition to the memorials listed above Richard is commemorated by his service on the Auckland Museum Online Cenotaph, and also the New Zealand War Graves Project.

A number of items relating to Richard's issued equipment are held at the Musueum of New Zealand - Te Papa Tongarewa.

Masonic :

TypeLodge Name and No.Province/District :
Mother : Trinity No. 3257 E.C.West Lancashire

14th November 1911
9th January 1912
13th February 1912

RICHARD JOHN SPOTSWOOD SEDDON was initiated into EMPIRE LODGE No.3257 on the 14th November 1911, in Liverpool, being described as 29 years of age, serving with the New Zealand Staff Corps, and residing at 24 Lesham Gardens, Kensington, Liverpool. He was passed to the Second Degree on 9th January 1912, and raised to the degree of a Master Mason on 13th February, 1912. Noted, in the contribution register to have been "Killed in Action 26.8.18."

Empire Lodge amalgamated with Royal George Lodge No. 4119 and Mossley Hill Lodge No. 7963 on 9th of March 2005, retaining its number but changing its name to Trinity Lodge.

Source :

The project globally acknowledges the following as sources of information for research across the whole database:

Additional Source:

Last Updated: 2021-01-30 07:17:36