Luxmoore, Richard Coryndon
The only son of Surgeon Lieutenant-Colonel Evelyn John Hansler Luxmoore MC of Yew Trees, Wye, Kent and Ella Luxmoore (daughter of Robert Chambers Priestley OBE JP of High Wycombe). In his last year in the school he was a member of the 2nd XI cricket team. He was appointed a Commoner Prefect the same year. On leaving Winchester he went straight into the King’s Royal Rifle Corps, being commissioned in July 1942. He went out to France in June 1944 with a scout platoon of 12th Battalion.
One of his fellow officers was the famous Daily Telegraph journalist W.F. Deedes, who was OC ‘B’ Company; others included Wykehamists Captain Alan James Nevill Young (A 1924-1930) and Lieutenant John Becke (K 1936-1940). Two of the three Wykehamists were to die with the battalion before 1944 was out.
They spent several years training in Britain before landing in Normandy a fortnight after D-Day, on 16th June 1944, going into action for the first time on 25th June as part of Operation Epsom. After a rest period at Conde, they moved into the line north east of Caumont and on 30th July Operation Bluecoat began with the aim of securing the high ground around Mont Pincon.
Deedes was Luxmoore’s company commander, and in his memoirs he recalled one of his subordinate’s comments: “The stench of dead bloated cows was pervasive. As Richard Luxmoore, one of my young officers, observed: “The smell of live cows is so much nicer than the smell of dead ones.”
By the end of the first week in August 12 KRRC were involved in the fighting around Mont Pincon, which fell on 7th August. 12 KRRC spent the day clearing a chateau and woods at Danjou. “For the rest of the day we set about likely enemy positions with guns, machine-guns and mortars. We didn’t know what damage had been done, but a few days later we discovered that a lot of Germans had been killed”. (Major F.J.R. Coleridge)
The German front then crumbled and British forces set out on what they called the “Great Swan” across northern France into Belgium. 12 KRRC began their advance on August 29th along the Ept valley, mopping up small parties of Germans wherever there was resistance. By August 31st the brigade was on the Somme at Amiens, and on September 3rd Luxmoore’s scout platoon was part of the Batallion which relieved Lille, amid scenes of much rejoining.
12th KRRC was soon taking huge numbers of prisoners: ‘C’ Company alone took a thousand at the village of Pierre, and fifteen hundred at Ninove. Orders were then received to move to the Albert Canal at Beringen. On the evening of September 7th they reached Aerschot, passing through Brussels and Louvain to rapturous welcomes once more.
By noon on September 8th, 12 KRRC had crossed the Albert Canal at Beringen, and reached the village of Oostham by nightfall. German resistance was stiffening, and on the night of the 8th German paratroopers struck back, raiding the Brigade’s harbour area in some woods. ‘C’ Company of 12 KRRC helped to drive them off, before moving off to Oostham. However, the next day, September 9th 1944, German troops supported by self-propelled guns forced the battalion out of Oostham.
Luxmoore was one of those killed that day, as Coleridge recorded in the official history of the battalion: “Richard Luxmoore, who had done so much to train our snipers, was himself killed while sniping – a very sad loss indeed.”
He was twenty-one years old, and is buried in grave IV.C.6, Geel War Cemetery. A commemorative plaque dedicated to those killed in Oostham that day was erected in September 2000.
The Colonel commanding his OCTU paid a tribute: “We all so loved Richard, the model of all that we should like to be. His perfect manners, his cheery twinkle, his keenness and love for his fellows will live without death in our thoughts and memories.”
- Surname: Luxmoore
- Forenames or initials: Richard Coryndon
- House: A
- Years in School: 1936-1941
- Rank: Lieutenant
- Regiment: Kings Royal Rifle Corps
- Date of Birth: 14th January 1923
- Date of Death: 9th September 1944
- How Died: Killed in Action
- Location in War Cloister: Inner B1
- Decoration: NA
- Burial Site: Geel War Cemetery, Belgium: Grave IV.C.6