Winchester College, College St, Winchester SO23 9NA
University of Oxford, Oxford, Oxfordshire OX1 3PA
Hanover War Cemetery Seelze, Region Hannover, Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen), Germany
John Nigel Richards (April 16, 1908 - January 14, 1944) was a RAF police officer who was killed in action during WWII. Cyril Connolly blamed his marital difficulties on Jean Connolly's friends in Pansyhalla. "WE have still done nothing," he complained, "we have talked, quarrelled, drunk and laughed a great deal, and made love, but constructed nothing and not even really helped out friends, our only creations, Tony Bower and Nigel Richards." Nigel Richards was an Oxford double First and an engineer, and without doubt one of the most beautiful men in England . He was the hero of Cyril Connolly's novel The Rock Pool. The Connollys had befriended Richards through Brian Howard. Richards stayed with them at Rottingdean.
Nigel was the second son of Anthony Reynell Threlfall Richards and Mariquita Elisabetta Angelica Caird. His Richards grandfather was Vicar of St. Helen’s, Nettlestone, Ryde on the Isle of Wight for many years, and Nigel was christened in Ryde on June 12th 1908.
He followed his brother to Summer Fields in the summer of 1917. His father had joined up in September 1914 as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 9th [Cyclists] Hants Regiment.
Nigel went on to Winchester in 1921 and came up to Christ Church in 1926 and took a First in History.
Mention is made of Nigel in Jeremy Lewis’s “Cyril Connolly; A Life”: “In “The Rock Pool”, though the novel's protagonist, Naylor, clearly serves at least part of the time as a mouthpiece for his creator, he also was based at least in part on an acquaintance of Connolly named Nigel Richards.
It appears that Nigel abandoned stock broking to become a tea-planter in Burma, where his first wife, an alcoholic, fell overboard into a crocodile-infested river, and was eaten Some time after publication of The Rock Pool, Cyril Connolly and his wife, Jean, were having a drink in the Cafe Royal with Betty Fletcher-Mossop and Robin McDouall, [the source of the above information,] when Nigel Richards, unexpectedly, walked in: Connolly was, apparently, overcome with embarrassment, and blurted out "My God, I thought you were dead!"
Nigel married Betty Fletcher-Mossop in Truro early in 1937. In Paris she modelled for the couturière Chanel.
He joined the RAFVR and was a Pilot Officer [Air Bomber] with 7 Squadron and was the rear gunner when he was killed in action over Brunswick on January 14th 1944.
He is buried in Hanover War Cemetery Plot Coll. grave 3. G. 4-11.
His parents who lived in Florence moved to South Africa during the war living at Witte Boomen Lodge, Constantia. His father died in Cape Town, just a few months after Nigel, on August 11th 1944. After the war, his mother returned to Florence where she died on January 26th 1967 at the age of 87.
His brother, Robert Talbot Richards served in the RAF during the war. He had gained his Royal Aero Club Flying Certificate at Brooklands Flying School on December 14th 1931. In 1932, he was the pilot with Lady Chaytor on her flight to Australia. He married Mary Lennie of Wellington, New Zealand in London in 1933.
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