Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Captain Douglas F. Ridley, M.C. (1893 – 1940)

1. Martindale and Ullswater in the English Lake District
[Birthplace of Douglas Farish Ridley, M.C. (1893-1940)]
(Located in the former West Riding of Westmorland)
2. Wigton Memorial Garden, Cumberland (now Cumbria)
Douglas Ridley was a boarder at the town's Nelson School
(Although Captain Ridley is not listed on this memorial)
3. Border Regiment badge (left) and a Miltary Cross (right)
 Douglas Ridley served in the Border Regiment (1914 - 1920)
He was awarded the Military Cross in January 1917
4. Captain Douglas Farish. Ridley, M.C., M.A. (1893 - 1940)
(Courtesy of Mrs Jane Penman, his Great Niece)
Captain Douglas Farish Ridley, M.C., M.A. (1893 – 1940): 
On Friday 4 October 1940, Captain Douglas F. Ridley, M.C., M.A., a member of the 6th Essex Battalion of the Home Guard, was accidentally knocked down by a bus while on duty. Two days later, he died in the local hospital where he had been taken.

Later in the week Captain Ridley, who was born at Martindale close to the shore of Ullswater, the second largest lake in English Lakeland, was laid to rest in the local churchyard at Martindale. This is his story.
For additional information click on ‘Comments’ below.


Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Additional comments
A brief biography

Douglas Farish Ridley was the son of Reverend and Mrs Joseph Ridley and was born at Martindale vicarage on 11 February 1893 where his father was vicar of the Church of England parish. The parish of Martindale is a sparsely populated mountainous area bordering the south-eastern shore of Ullswater in what was then the West Riding (or West Ward) of Westmorland (now part of Cumbria). Photograph No. 1 (above) shows a view from Hallin fell, Martindale looking northwards towards Howtown and Ullswater which is a view which has changed little since the childhood days of Douglas Ridley.

The Reverend Joseph Ridley died, aged 58, in 1895 and was buried in the old Martindale churchyard. At the time of the 1901 census the 8-year-old Douglas Ridley was a boarder at the recently opened (1899) Nelson School for boys at Wigton, a market town in N.W. Cumberland (now in Cumbria). Photograph No. 2 shows Wigton’s WW1 and WW2 Memorial Garden with the tower of its parish church seen in the distance behind the wall. However, Captain Ridley is not listed on this memorial. According to Bulmer’s Directory for Cumberland (1901) the boarders resided at the headmaster’s house close to the school. Many years later this school combined with the Thomlinson Girls’ Grammar School and is now known as the Nelson Thomlinson School.

By the time of the 1911 census the 18-year-old Douglas Ridley was at living at the Clergy Orphan School for Boys, St Thomas’ Hill, Canterbury, Kent. It is now known as St Edmund's School, Canterbury. At the time of the outbreak of the First World War in 1914 Douglas Ridley was an ‘Exhibitioner’ at Selwyn College, Cambridge. A ‘Choral Exhibitioner’, or ‘Choral Scholar’, was one of the College Chapel Choir leading the daily worship and evensong in the chapel. In those days Selwyn College was an all-male college, although since 1976 it has admitted women undergraduates.

Wednesday, 08 July, 2015  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Military service during the First World War

Between 1914 and 1920 Douglas Ridley enlisted to the Border Regiment, the local regiment for his home area of Cumberland and Westmorland. At least one newspaper article from the time mentions that Captain Ridley’s mother was living at Edentown, Carlisle (the Regimental Headquarters of the Border Regiment was at Carlisle Castle).

The cap badge of the Border Regiment can be seen on the left in Photograph No. 3. Originally enlisting as a ‘ranker’, Douglas Ridley was granted a temporary commission with the rank of Lieutenant on 2 February 1915.

Originally with the 10th Battalion, on 11 October 1915 Lieutenant Douglas Ridley was drafted to the 6th Battalion The Border Regiment in the Dardanelles - receiving a ‘Mention in Despatches’ - and took part in the withdrawal from Suvla Bay. In the latter months of 1916, on the Western Front, Douglas Ridley was wounded in action (25 October 1916), was promoted to Captain and nominated for a Military Cross. An example of the WW1 Military Cross can be seen on the right hand side of Photograph No. 3.

Captain Ridley’s Military Cross award was gazetted in the ‘London Gazette’ of 17 February 1917. This was the citation for the award:

“Temp. Lieut. D.F. Ridley, Border Regiment –
He displayed great courage and determination when in charge of a covering party, continually repelling superior numbers of the enemy until the working party which he was covering was withdrawn.”

Wednesday, 08 July, 2015  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Surviving WW1 only to die in WW2

Captain Ridley continued to serve with the Border Regiment until 1920 before completing his university education (M.A.). He was married, to Nan Chilcot, early in 1921.

As referred to earlier, Captain Douglas Ridley died in hospital on Sunday 6 October 1940, two days after being accidentally knocked down by a bus while on Home Guard duties. On Friday 11 October 1940 Captain Ridley was buried in the new churchyard of his home parish and birthplace of Martindale in English Lakeland.

Commonwealth War Graves Commission Remembrance

Although Captain Douglas Ridley is commemorated by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, at the time of writing this is on the Brookwood WW2 Memorial for those with ‘no known grave’. In other words, the CWGC does not know where Captain Ridley is buried, nor do they include his next of kin or Home Guard rank. Persuading the CWGC to amend its records tends not to be an easy process and in this case requires a number of primary source documents.

This is the CWGC listing (as at June 2015):

Rank: Volunteer
Date of Death: 06/10/1940
Regiment/Service: Home Guard, 6th Essex Bn.
Panel Reference: Panel 23. Column 1.

Wednesday, 08 July, 2015  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...


This article is dedicated to the memory of Captain Douglas Farish Ridley, M.C., M.A.:

“He many an evening to his distant home
In solitude returning, saw the Hills
Grow larger in the darkness, all alone
Beheld the stars come out above his head,
And travelled through the wood, with no one near
To whom he might confess the things he saw.”

From: ‘The Excursion, Book One, The Wanderer’
By William Wordsworth (1770 – 1850)
Cumbria County Archives and Local Studies Centre

‘The Whitehaven News’

Cumbria’s Museum of Military Life, Carlisle

Wednesday, 08 July, 2015  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

A local community remembers Captain Ridley

At Remembrance time, November 2014, the community of Askham and district in the former county of Westmorland held a special event to remember many of the local soldiers who served in the First World War. This was a joint event by Askham Village Hall Committee and the Lowther and Askham History and Archaeology Society (L.A.H.A.S).

One of the locally-born soldiers whose story was told at this event was Captain Douglas F. Ridley, M.C., M.A. His life story was told by his Great Niece, Mrs Jane Penman of Martindale, through family documents and photographs. One of the local newspapers, the ‘Cumberland and Westmorland Herald’, reported the exhibition which can be found by clicking on the following link:
Captain D.F. Ridley, M.C. remembered
(Unfortunately one of the newspaper photographs incorrectly gives Captain Douglas Farish Ridley’s first name as “Joseph”, which was his father’s name).

Wednesday, 08 July, 2015  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

The family portrait of Captain Ridley [Photograph No. 4, above] was kindly supplied by his Great Niece, Mrs Jane Penman.

Wednesday, 26 August, 2015  

Post a Comment

<< Home