HoC - Roll of Honour - Richard Arnold Sully

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Richard Arnold Sully

Home life

Richard Arnold Sully was born on June 6th, 1894 and died aged 22 on July 1st 1916.

Richard’s father, Gilbert Barrows Sully (1869-1944), was the founder of the ‘Sully’s Framing’ business and in the years preceding the outbreak of the First World War, Richard and Gilbert worked as a father and son team in their architectural design studio in Chiswick, London.

In 1911, their home was 57 St. Mary’s Grove, Chiswick, where they lived with Richard’s mother, Lilian Elizabeth Sully (40), and his younger siblings Frank Everard Sully (12) and Reginald Sterling Sully (8).

Military Service

Sadly, Richard’s role in his father’s business would have been drastically cut short by the outbreak of the First World War. Richard enlisted in the army on August 10th 1914, just six days after Germany invaded neutral Belgium, and Britain responded by declaring war on Germany.

Private 2045 Richard Arnold Sully, Kensington Rifles, 13th Battalion was, within three months, heading to the front. On their way to the trenches, Sir John French, Earl of Ypres, notably complimented the Battalion on their form. They came under fire immediately after their arrival in France, and were heavily engaged by December.

Richard faced a further danger – he found himself invalided home with frostbite, and missed the regiments’ recorded fighting at the Battle of Neuve Chapelle, and the engagement between Bois Grenier, and Festubert - events ‘The Chiswick Times’ had portrayed beneath the headline ‘Kensingtons in Action: Imperishable Glory”.

Richard recovered, and re-joined the battalion and returned to France in July 1915.

Saturday July 1st 1916 saw the start of The Battle of The Somme, with the largest number of casualties in British military history (57,470, including 19,249 killed). Richard’s Battalion formed part of the 56th London Division that attacked the nearby hamlet of Gommecourt – a diversionary tactic, to the North of the main offensive.

Richard’s platoon came under heavy shell fire, and 3 of their soldiers, including Richard, were killed. Richard had reached his 22nd birthday on June 6th 1916 – and had just recovered from a bout of trench fever in hospital.

After the war

Should one wonder what might have happened to Richard had he survived -

Gilbert Barrows Sully moved to Falmouth in 1920 with his two young sons. In 1921 he established Sully’s Art Depot at 1 Bank Place, Falmouth. There is a fine example of his own work in Falmouth Parish Church - a First World War Roll of Honour with a hand-carved oak frame. Gilbert’s son, Frank Sully (1898-1992), also became a respected professional artist in his own right, and found international success by selling work in America and Canada.

Sully’s Framing has since been re-established by Pete Hambrook, the grandson of Reginald Sterling Sully, who has built upon the families’ heritage to create one of the largest bespoke frame shops in the South West.

Richard’s personal items

Pete Hambrook has kindly provided the following images of the personal effects Richard Arnold Sully carried on the day of his death, alongside images of a large book containing Richard’s schoolwork and photographs which was kept and handed down by Gilbert Barrows Sully.

These items have been handed down through the family, and we would like to acknowledge our thanks for their sharing them for the Heroes of Chiswick project.