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Person Details
19 May 1892
Woodgreen, Middlesex
William Hector Mather Wilson Ridley known as ' Hector' was born on 19th May 1892 at Hornsey Park Road, Woodgreen Middlesex and was the only son of Charlotte Elizabeth Ridley, of Debdale Villas, Kelham Rd., Newark, and the late Robert Wilson Ridley. His father Robert Wilson Ridley was born in 1865 at Durham, he died in 1901 at Newcastle upon Tyne, his mother Charlotte Elizabeth Mather was born in 1866 at Salford, Lancashire, they were married in 1891 at Newark. In the 1911 census he is shown at Bulford Camp, Salisbury and is shown as being 2 1yrs of age single and a motor driver with the Sherwood Foresters Regiment. His probate was proven on 11th January 1916 at Nottingham and shows him as William Hector Mather Wilson Ridley Second Lieutenant in H.M.Army, died between 9 and 10th August 1915 in France, his effects of £223, 18 shillings and 4 pence were left to Charlotte Elizabeth Ridley, widow.
09 Aug 1915
920123 - CWGC Website
13 Castle Gate Newark
Second Lieutenant
2nd Bn Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby Regiment)
'D' Coy. Enlisted 14/11/1907, embarked September 1914. Promoted from Lance Corporal to Company Sergeant Major to Second Lieutenant. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium.
Transcript from local newspaper: Hero Hector WILLIAM HECTOR MATHERS RIDLEY’S rapid rise from the ranks of the Sherwoods reads more like a chapter from a fictional adventure than a chronicle of facts. The son of Mrs Elizabeth Charlotte Wilson Ridley of Mill-gate, Newark, he was a champion swimmer while working at his uncle’s company, Mather and Company; and his mechanical training stood him in good stead when he enlisted. He was at the Battle of the Aisne but his chance came in the fighting round Lille, where the Sherwood Foresters were surrounded by some 80,000 Bavarian troops who had arrived with awesome rapidity from Antwerp during the night. The Sherwoods’ commanding officer asked for a volunteer to take a message to the general officer commanding, acquainting him with the seriousness of the situation. Young Ridley volunteered and successfully carried the message through enemy lines. The reply was that the Sherwoods – vastly out-numbered though they were – must hang on at all costs. On the return journey Hector had a very narrow escape. The back wheel of the bicycle he was riding was shattered by a shell but in the meantime he had dived into a ditch nearby and was not hurt. Hector’s heroism did not go unnoticed by his superiors. He was promoted from Lance Corporal to Company Sergeant Major and on 8 April was raised to commissioned rank. His Uncle John Mather has received several interesting souvenirs from Hector the Hero. One is a German rifle grenade which pitched near the trench he was in but failed to explode and was later secured during the hours of darkness. Another is a small book belonging to a German musketeer who – Hector reports somewhat diplomatically – “has finished his part in this or any other war.” Further transcript from Newark Newspaper dated 16 August 1915. Lieutenant Hector Wilson Ridley, 23, was killed only a few days after returning to the trenches. He was one of the wounded heroes who joined with Corporal Upton VC a few evenings ago to urge more Newark men to volunteer. And now his widowed mother Elizabeth and grandparents William and Sarah Mather are distraught that the boy reared to take over the family motor company will not be coming home. The War Office telegram is terse as ever: “Deeply regret to inform you that Lt Hector Ridley,2nd Sherwoods, Notts & Derbys Regt, is reported killed. Lord Kitchener deeply sympathises with you.” What set this loss apart, though, was that there was also a letter from Buckingham Palace: “The King and Queen deeply regret the loss you and the Army have sustained by the death of your son in the service of his country. Their Majesties truly sympathise with you in your sorrow.” Above are courtesy of Newark Archaelogical and Local History Society
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