Richard William Read was born on 25 July 1881. He joined the Lichtenburg Commando as a Burger from 11 Oct 1899 to June 1900.
He then, as Lieut Staff Officer with the deceased Gen H.R. Lemmer, then Gen J.C. Celliers, Read served from Kraaipan to Scholtz Nek. Then on to Kliprivier, Johannesburg, Pretoria to Balmoral. From there with Gen Lemmer through the bushveld to Rustenburg and then to Lichtenburg where he served until 12 June 1902. Read took part in the operation at Kraaipan. He was at the siege of Kuruman and actions at: Kalmberg; Zandspruit OFS; Kliprivier; Irene; Pretoria; Donkerhoek; Olifantsnek; Elandrivier; Ottoshoop; Jacobaai; Groot Marico; Rondavelshoek; Kafferskraal; Wonderfontein to Mariana where Gen Lemmer was killed.
―It had just begun to get light around 05:00 when Thompson, part of Methuen‘s force (who was some way in the rear) heard firing ahead. He and everyone with him, immediately galloped for all they were worth to join in the action. As they came into a dip, they saw Lemmer‘s commando, hotly pursued by the vanguard of the Yeomanry, in full retreat towards the opposite end. That the Boers had indeed been taken completely by surprise was indicated by the fact that they had left behind a large part of their stores as well as a dozen or so big saucepans filled with boiling water all ready for the morning coffee. Nevertheless, they had had a good start on Erroll‘s division and most of them managed to escape.
However, during the pursuit approximately sixty members of the commando were driven straight into the hands of Meyrick‘s 5th Imperial Yeomanry waiting on the ridge. It was here that Spurgin‘s account comes more fully into the picture.
The Yeomanry came galloping down the ridge with Meyrick in the van and a real sporting scrimmage‘ ensued. It was a brief, thoroughly confused fight in which the two sides became hopelessly intermingled. The trapped Boers rushed hither and thither, some haring off on foot
into the bush, others riding up close to their opponents before they realized their mistake and bolted again. For their part, the British speedily broke up into small parties and chased about the veld entirely on their own initiative, blazing away whenever the opportunity arose. So great was the confusion that the British Maxim guns could not be brought to bear for fear of hitting their own men.
Four Boers were killed, seven wounded and twenty-four captured before the remainder managed to break out, while only two were wounded on the British side. In addition, the British captured six Cape carts and a mule wagon. Lemmer was chased all morning by Erroll‘s men, but there was never really a prospect that he would be captured. His burghers even ‗had the cheek‘ at one point to turn their gun and Maxim on their pursuers and around midday the latter, understandably exhausted by this stage, gave up the chase.
Lemmer died in battle against Lieut Col C.G. Money, whose convoy he attacked in December 1900 somewhere between Lichtenburg and Marico.
After Gen H.R. Lemmer's death, Johannes Gerhardus Celliers was appointed a General over Lichtenburg and Zeerust.
Celliers devised the method of attacking by shooting while at full gallop, which was refined by De la Rey. Celliers was badly wounded in the attack on Lichtenburg on 2 March1901, but he recovered to serve valiantly at Ysterspruit, Tweebos, Harts River, Bosbult and Roodewal until the end of the war.
A letter written by J.G. Celliers attests to the fact of Read‟s service with Gen Lemmer and subsequently on his own staff.
During a battle on 10 July 1900 Read suffered an accident when a stick speared through his right leg. Later in 1902 he contracted infection of the lungs as a result of the tribulations of being on Commando.
Read (now a farmer) did not volunteer for service during WWI but attested as a private in the 6th Battalion 1st Reserve Brigade on 27 July 1940 (at the age of 59).
His next-of-kin was Mrs A.E. Read of 286 Proctor Avenue, Mafeking.
He had no disability but being over age was classified C2.
His discharge was authorised on 6 Dec 1940 and he was discharged on 17 Dec 1940.
His 5 months service qualified him for the WM and ASM which were despatched on 8 Aug 1952.