This page is dedicated to the memory of:

Private

Richard John Absolon, MM

3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment

A memorial for Richard John De Mansfield Absolon has been erected in the church grounds of St.Mary’s Anglican Cathedral, off Vivian Street, New Plymouth, New Zealand.

St.Mary’s is the oldest stone church in New Zealand. It houses the military standards and memorabilia of the British Militia, who’s garrison was next to the church in the early 1800’s.

 

 

MINISTRY OF DEFENCE

HONOURS AND AWARDS

ARMY DEPARTMENT

MONDAY, 11th OCTOBER 1982

THE QUEEN has been graciously pleased to approve the Posthumous award of the Military Medal to the undermentioned in recognition of gallant and distinguished service during the operations in the South Atlantic:

24547055 Private Richard John de Mansfield ABSOLON, The Parachute Regiment

During eleven days of operations in the Mount Longdon area of East Falkland Island Private Absolon was employed as a scout/sniper with the Patrol Company 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment which was tasked with the gaining of information on the enemy force deployed in defensive positions around the Mountain.

On the nights of 2nd/3rd June he was one of a pair of soldiers who successfully carried out close target reconnaissance with the aim of locating enemy positions, gaining information on their strengths, and discovering routes which could be used for a Battalion night attack on the feature. The task required considerable skill and coolness as there was a requirement to close to within a few metres of the enemy. The risk of capture was high, which in turn would have led to the compromise of the whole Battalion operation. Private Absolon and his partner completed the tasks finding good approaches to the objective, providing firm intelligence on the enemy which enabled both the Battalion and Brigade to plan the attacks onto both Mount Longdon and the Two Sisters.

On the night of the 8th June Absolon and his partner led a platoon along the proposed route for the forthcoming attack as a rehearsal. Once again he successfully closed with the enemy without discovery and again returned with even more detailed information on routes and on the enemy.

On the night of 11th/12th June Absolon with his partner led B Company onto the Mount Longdon feature in the first part of an assault to capture the position by the Battalion. The route selected gave the Company the opportunity to take the enemy by surprise and a valuable foothold was gained before the enemy was aware of the attack. Once battle was joined, Absolon fought with determination, always probing ahead to locate the enemy and sniping at every opportunity. He was responsible for killing one particular sniper who was preventing the Company Headquarters from moving forward to link up with its platoons. He continued to display dash and determination throughout the 12th in a manner which was an example to many about him particularly for one so young. Tragically he was killed by mortar fire the next morning.

This young and promising soldier displayed coolness, determination and bravery under fire in demanding circumstances that were outstanding.

A Father Still Grieving For Son Lost In Falklands

By DAVID EAMES, Manawatu Evening Standard – 25 April 2002

A former Palmerston North Boys’ High student killed in the Falklands War is to be honoured by the re-enactment of an ancient battle tradition.

Retired Pohangina farmer Major John Absolon will contribute a stone for a cairn to be erected at the Pangbourne Naval College in Berkshire, England, this year. In a tradition begun by ancient Celtic warriors, the cairn will commemorate those soldiers killed during the battle for the Falkland Islands in 1982. In history, cairns were erected by soldiers on their way into battle. Those soldiers who survived would take their stones away with them. The stones left unclaimed formed a tribute to the dead.

Major Absolon’s son Richard, a sniper with a British paratroop regiment, was killed in action on the Falklands in June 1982. He was 18.

Major Absolon, himself a veteran of 23 years in the British Army, attended Anzac Day services in Palmerston North today. He said it would be a time in which memories of his son were foremost in his mind. “There’s an old saying that, in peace, sons bury their fathers, and in war, fathers bury their sons. I can tell you which is the hardest, because I have done both.”

With the exception of the parents of Private Leonard Manning, killed in action in East Timor, Major Absolon believes he has the sad distinction of being the only father in New Zealand on Anzac Day to mourn a son killed in action.

Richard is buried with his regiment at Aldershot, in England. About 250 British servicemen died in the Falklands War.

The Absolons came to New Zealand in 1972 and farmed at Marton. Following a family tradition, Richard returned to Britain to join the army in 1980.

Major Absolon has yet to select a stone, but when he does, it will be blessed at St Mary’s Church in New Plymouth on June 16, a ceremony timed to coincide with a blessing of the site where the cairn will stand at Pangbourne. Anyone who wishes to help Major Absolon deliver the stone can leave donations to the Richard Absolon Memorial Fund at any branch of WestpacTrust.