Richard Henry Green was born in 1897 to William Henry Green and Isabel Mills of Tiri in the Upper Manning.1 “Dick” enlisted in the armed forces at Rutherford in the Hunter Valley under the name of Henry Mills and gave his next of kin as Edie Richardson, his married eldest sister. He claimed to be nearly 22 years old when in fact he was 18.2
It is not clear why Dick enlisted under his mother’s maiden name. She died in 1911 when he was just 13 years old.3 The military age was 19 at the start of WWI but in 1915 the age was lowered to 18. Maybe Dick was unaware of this change when he enlisted in 1916 and thought he needed to have his father’s consent.4 Or perhaps he took a lead from his older brother George who at this time staged his own accidental death by drowning to escape an unstable marriage, only to reappear some years later in Western Australia!5
A postcard sent by Dick to his sister with a photo of him taken in England in October 1917 bears the words “This is me, Dick the Devil”.
Dick fought in France and Belgium and whilst in England he met and married Beatrice May Thorne on 22 October 1918. They left England on the “Benalla” and arrived in Australia in November 1919.6 The couple remarried in Gloucester, NSW in 1920 under his correct name Richard Henry Green.7
Dick died in 1968 and Beatrice in 1986 and both are buried at Wingham Cemetery. The immediate family may be privy to the reasons for his actions, however such has not been revealed in the family archives.
Author: George Sawyer
1 NSW BDM, birth index for Richard H Green No. 35865/1897
2 NAA: B2455, Mills Henry.
3 NSW BDM, death index for Isabel Green, No. 8197/1911.
5 The West Australian, 22 February 1919, 6.
6 NAA: B2455, Mills Henry
7 NSW BDM, marriage index for Henry Green and Beatrice Thorne, Stroud, No. 14864/1920.