Richard William Annear was born in the winter of 1887 in Abbots Langley. He was the only son of Richard and Harriet Annear. Richard (Senior) was born in Cornwall and was employed as a School Master at the St Pancras Industrial School for Orphans at Leavesden. The family lived in and around Marlin Square living at Elm Villa (1891), 26 Marlin Square (1901) and “Homeland” (1911).
In the 1911 Census Richard William was recorded employed as a Surveyor. He was first recorded in the October 1914 edition of the Abbots Langley Parish Magazine Roll of Honour serving with the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC). From February 1916 through to the end of the War Richard was listed serving with the Sanitary Company of the RAMC, and in the Absent Voter List for Autumn 1918 he was recorded with the rank of Staff Sergeant with the 20th Sanitary Section, RAMC.
RAMC Sanitary Sections checked the sanitation of all barrack areas, billets, cookhouses, washing facilities, waste disposal, incineration, and water conservation systems. Only highly trained personnel were used in this service which included Sanitary Inspectors, Architects, Engineers, and Builders. Richard’s background as a Surveyor set him in good stead for this role.
Richard William Annear survived the War and was discharged to return home on 10th February 1919. His brothers in law, Bertrand and Francis Hill both survived the War, but his brother in law Arthur Hill died from wounds received at the Battle of Aubers Ridge in 1915.