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Richard Charles Travis

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Portrait of Sergeant Richard Charles Travis 9/523. Image kindly provided by Noel Bockett (March 2017). Image has no known copyright restrictions.
Portrait of Sergeant Richard Charles Travis 9/523. Image kin … Read more

Identity

  • Title
  • Forenames
    Richard Charles AWMM
  • Surname
    Travis AWMM
  • Ingoa
  • Also known as
    Dickson Cornelius Savage AWMM
  • Service number
    WWI 9/523 AWMM
  • Gender
    Male AWMM
  • Iwi
  • Hapū
  • Waka
  • Rohe
  • Religion

Civilian life

About birth

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  • Birth
  • Date of birth
    6th April, 1886 Public - Lorraine M - Researcher - 7 May 2016 - Research - http://nzetc.victoria.ac.nz/tm/scholarly/tei-Gov08_08Rail-t1-body-d9.html
  • Place of birth
    Opotiki, BOP, NZ Public - Lorraine M - Researcher - 7 May 2016 - Research - http://nzetc.victoria.ac.nz/tm/scholarly/tei-Gov08_08Rail-t1-body-d9.html
  • Birth notes
    • son of Constable James and Isabella Savage Public - Lorraine M - Researcher - 7 May 2016 - Research - http://nzetc.victoria.ac.nz/tm/scholarly/tei-Gov08_08Rail-t1-body-d9.html
    • son of James Whitford SAVAGE and Frances Theresa O'KEEFE Public - Julie - Researcher - 8 June 2018 - New Zealand Birth and Marriage index
      https://www.bdmhistoricalrecords.dia.govt.nz/search
  • Address before enlistment
    WW1 Unknown AWMM Ryal Bush, Southland, New Zealand AWMM
  • Post war occupation
  • Next of kin on embarkation
    WW1 Miss Lette Murry (friend), Ryal Bush, Southland, New Zealand AWMM
  • Relationship status
    Pre 16 October 1914 AWMM Single/WWI AWMM

Service

Wars and conflicts

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Military decorations

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  • Medals and Awards
    • Victoria Cross (VC) AWMM
      Victoria Cross - London Gazette, 27 September 1918, p11431, Rec No 2282: "For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty. During "surprise" operations it was necessary to destroy an impassable wire block. Sergeant Travis, regardless of all personal danger, volunteered for this duty. Before zero hour, in broad daylight, and in close proximity to enemy posts, he crawled out and successfully destroyed the block with bombs, thus enabling the attacking parties to pass through. A few minutes later a bombing party of the right of the attack was held up by two enemy machine guns, and the success of the whole operation was in danger. Perceiving this, Sergeant Travis, with great gallantry and utter disregard of danger, rushed the position, killed the crew and captured the guns. An enemy officer and three men immediately rushed at him from a bend in the trench and attempted to retake the guns. These four he killed single-handed, thus allowing the bombing party, on which much depended, to advance. The success of the operation was almost entirely due to the heroic work of this non-commissioned officer, and to the vigour with which he made and used opportunities for inflicting casualties on the enemy. He was killed twenty-four hours later when, under a most intense bombardment prior to an enemy counterattack, he was going from post to post encouraging the men." AWMM
    • Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM) AWMM
      Distinguished Conduct Medal - London Gazette, 25 November 1916, p11563: "For conspicuous gallantry in action. He went out by himself and accounted for several enemy snipers who were firing at a working party. He has on many previous occasions done very fine work." AWMM
    • Military Medal (MM) AWMM
      Military Medal - London Gazette, 13 September 1918, p10779, Rec No 2169: "Operations: On the British Front east of Hebuterne - 14th May 1918. For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. This N.C.O. commanded a patrol of four men which went out in broad daylight, and captured an enemy machine gun post; although their Battalion was in support these men volunteered to go out and secure identification, which was urgently required. They left our front line trench at about 7.15pm in broad daylight and by skillful use of ground they crept up to the enemy post unobserved, and, disposing themselves very cleverly completely surprised the enemy post of seven Germans. The Officer of the post showed fight and had to be shot; the connections in the post aroused a neighbouring post post who rushed down the sap to the aid of their comrades, firing at the above patrol who were conducting our prisoners to our lines; two of them being shot by their own comrades. The withdrawal was very cleverly covered by Sergeant Travis who fired his revolver until it was emptied. The above was carried out in a most daring manner, and the men concerned showed courage of a very high order, while the scheme was worked out very cleverly in all details. These men were subjected to heavy machine gun fire on withdrawing from the enemy post and were sniped at from all sides. The whole scheme had to be carried out with the utmost despatch, but nevertheless it was a complete success without casualties on our side. This N.C.O. by his excellent patrol work has obtained much valuable information example of courage and devotion to duty." AWMM
    • Croix de Guerre (Belgium) AWMM
      Croix de Guerre (Belgium) - London Gazette, 12 July 1918, p 8191 AWMM
    • Mentioned in Despatches (MiD) Twice AWMM
    • 1914-1915 Star
      British War medal
      Victory Medal
      Plaque & Scroll # 513257 Public - Lorraine M - Researcher - 7 May 2016 - Military Medal

Training and Enlistment

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  • Military training
  • Enlistment
    WW1 OtagoNew Zealand AWMM
  • Occupation before enlistment
    Horse Breaker Public - Lorraine M - Researcher - 7 May 2016 - Military Record
  • Age on enlistment

Embarkations

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Prisoner of war

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  • Capture details
  • Days interned
  • Liberation date
  • Liberation Repatriation
  • POW liberation details
  • POW serial number

Medical history

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  • Medical notes
    Killed in Action, Cause of Death AWMM

Last known rank

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Biographical information

Biographical information

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  • Born Dickson Cornelius Savage at Opotiki, New Zealand, on 6 April 1884, the fifth child in a family of nine. He changed his name to Richard Charles Travis when he reached twenty one and served under this name.

    Travis was promoted to Sergeant at Flanders, and was given command of the sniping and observing organisation of the 2nd Battalion, and in that capacity gathered around him a small band of men whose special function was night patrolling of No Man's Land and of enemy territory generally.

    "For distinguished services rendered during the course of the campaign.".

    Victoria Cross awarded for action on 24 July 1918 at Rossignol Wood. This is is the last of many reports bearing on the remarkable achievements sent in by Sgt Travis. The report was as follows : "A few seconds before 5pm several Stokes bombs thrown in enemy entanglements in front of blocks. At 5pm our trench mortars put up a perfect barrage on enemy's forward posts for one minute. Our bombing parties rushed the trench and found the enemy very much shaken. Some ran down communication trenches, while remainder were killed, except those who were sent to the rear. Fifteen dead bodies counted and two machine guns captured in forward positions. On several occasions enemy tried to hold c.t.'s with bombing parties, but the ground was gained yard by yard. We reached objective about two minutes past 5 p.m.; but bombing party and several scouts bombed up Hawk trench for a distance of about 250 yeards. As we were running short of bombs we had to establish a temporary block across saps. Huns tried to cut us off from the left of Hawk trench, but were beaten off with their own bombs. Very heavy casualties inflicted on enemy in Hawk trench. Total for the day about 50 killed (including two officers) and six machine guns captured. Had our party had enough bombs they could have gone to Berlin.'

    In the records of the 2nd Battalion of the Otago Regiment in the Field dated 26 July 1918, these words were written of Sgt Travis :'His name will live in the records of theBattalion as a glorious example of heroism and devotion to duty.'

    Travis was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross on 27 September 1918.

    He was buried in the falling rain of the late afternoon on July 26th in the little cemetery above Couin by the Rev. D.C. Herron, M.C., padre to the 2nd Battalion of the Regiment.

    Named from birth as Dickson Cornelius Savage. Served as Richard Charles Travis. Listed at Archives New Zealand as: TRAVIS, Richard Charles [SAVAGE, Dickson Cornelius]. Listed by Commonwealth War Graves Commission in 2 places as SAVAGE, Dickson Cornelius, (Served as TRAVIS) and as TRAVIS, Richard Charles. Victoria Cross held by the Southland Museum, Invercargill, New Zealand

    N.Z. Army Department. Archives. AD 36/29. NA

    Auckland Museum Scars on the Heart World War 1 " On the Fringe of Hell", "Trench Raider" displays a quote from Major General Sir Andrew Russell, Commander NZ Division writing about Travis AWMM
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Death

About death

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  • Death
    25 July 1918 AWMM
    Age 34 AWMM
    FranceEurope AWMM
  • Date of death
  • Age at death
  • Place of death
  • Cause of death
  • Death notes
  • Cemetery
    Couin New British Cemetery, Pas-de-Calais, France AWMM G. 5. AWMM
  • Cemetery name
  • Grave reference
  • Obituary
    (Served as TRAVIS). Croix de Guerre (Belgium). Son of the late James and Frances Theresa Savage, of Otara, Opotiki, New Zealand. Known as "Prince of Scouts," and "King of No Man's Land." Also served in Egypt and Gallipoli. Awarded Croix de Guerre (Belgium). Public - Lorraine M - Researcher - 7 May 2016 - http://www.nzwargraves.org.nz/casualties/dickson-cornelius-savage
  • Memorial name
    Opotiki War Memorial Public - Lorraine M - Researcher - 7 May 2016 - Research
  • Memorial reference

Memorials

Memorial

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  • Memorial name
    Dunedin, Victoria Cross winners' plaque, Queens Gardens, Dunedin, New Zealand AWMM

Roll of Honour

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  • Dick Travis was my Grand mother's brother. My Great Uncle As a young boy I spent a lot time on the family farm with two great Aunts and Dick's brother. I have a lot of information on Dick Travis, family photo's etc. I have traced all of Dicks siblings graves in Opotiki and Hamilton. Noel Bockett
    Public - Noel Lambert - Direct descendant - 13 March 2017
  • Dick Travis is an amazing NZer with and incredible story. If possible you should get your hands on the book written by J A Gasson. Proud to be related and to be able to share his stories of courage under fire with my children.
    Public - Andrew - Direct descendant - 9 January 2016
  • All I know is that he is an old relative of mine and that he won many special awards. But still i would like to remember him..
    Public - Sophia - Direct descendant - 9 January 2016
  • On 4 August 1917 he went on patrol along the western bank of the River Lys,with my great great grandfather, C.B.McClure. I have a souvenir of what they found on that patrol. I have read the book about Travis VC that my dad has, by James Gasson. I will be calling out his name on Friday at my schools Anzac Field of Remberance service. I will always remember them both.
    Public - Hannah - 22 April 2015

Sources

Sources

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Contributors

Command item
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DateNameLocationRelationshipContact
12
08 June 2018JulieKuwaitResearcher
13 March 2017Noel LambertSydney AustraliaDirect descendant
09 January 2016AndrewAuckland, NZDirect descendant
09 January 2016SophiaAuckland New ZealandDirect descendant
29 November 2015SarndraAuckland, New ZealandResearcher