Richard had been born in Crewe, the son of William Stonehewer - who later came to live at 33 Canal Street, Stockport. However, Richard lived with his aunt, Mrs Heywood, at 50 Hulme Hall Road, Cheadle Hulme. An Eliza Stonehewer lived next door at No. 48 and must have been a close relative. He worked as a hydraulic packer at Delaney's warehouse, Portland Street, Manchester. He was a member of the local Congregational Church, attending the Sunday School and playing football for the church team.
He had enlisted in Manchester in August 1914 into the first of the newly formed "Pals" Battalions of the Manchester Regiment and was attached to the 9th Platoon in "C" Company. He had been wounded at some time before April 1917, when he was killed in action. This was possibly during the Battle of the Somme the previous summer.
On the day he died, Richard's Battalion was part of a scheduled attack at Cherisy, approximately 15 kilometres south east of Arras. The lead troops would be the 17th Manchesters and the 2nd Royal Scots Fusiliers. The 16th would act in support of the assault battalions, providing mopping-up parties and consolidating a line of strong-points. The advance started at 4.30am and was met by heavy machine gun fire. Men of all three battalions were now scattered and had taken cover in shell holes in No Man's Land. By mid morning, the reserve platoons of the 16th, almost certainly including those of "C" Company, were ordered to make a flanking attack on the German positions to relieve the pressure on the troops who were pinned down. However, the situation became even more critical and these men were now diverted to take up a defensive position. Throughout the day, there continued to be strong German resistance, very little ground had been captured and this at a high loss of life. 57 members of the Battalion had been killed during the failed attack, including another local man, Charles Holmes. Most, like Richard and Charles, have no known grave.