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Person Details
Macclesfield, Cheshire
Harold George Rydings was born in 1891 in Macclesfield and was the son of George Booth Rydings a grocers assistant and Amelia Ellen Rydings née Johnson of 59 Leeming Lane, Mansfield Woodhouse. His father George Booth was born in 1866 at Ashton under Lyme, Lancashire and his mother Amelia Ellen Johnson was born in 1863 in Liverdale, Staffordshire, they were married in 1891 in Congleton, Cheshire and went on to have 4 children, Harold George b1891 Macclesfield, Leonard James b1894 Macclesfield, Leslie b1900 Biddulph, Staffordshire and Norman b1906 Bolsover, Derbyshire. In the 1911 census the family are living at 59 Leeming Lane, Mansfield Woodhouse, and are shown as George 45 yrs a grocers assistant, he is living with his wife Ellen 48 yrs and their children, Harold 19 yrs an engine cleaner at railway company, Leonard 17 yrs a collier lamp examiner (above ground) Leslie 11 yrs a scholar and Norman 5 yrs.
Worked on the railways.
12 Sep 1915
362179 - CWGC Website
7th Bn Royal Munster Fusiliers
Private Harold Rydings, enlisted at Rotherham, he initially served with the service number 13131 in the Yorks and Lancaster Regiment he later served with the 7th Battalion Royal Munster Fusiliers, he landed at Suvla Bay on 7th August 1915. He died of enteric fever at the Alexandra Hospital, Asham, on 12th September 1915. He is buried in Portsdown (Christ Church) Military Cemetery, Hampshire,
Article published 3rd September 1915 in the Mansfield Reporter and Sutton Times :- Writing to his mother in Mansfield Woodhouse, he gave a detailed account of his experiences, of the chaos and confusion, the heat and the lack of water up to his being wounded on 9th August. “I am in the pink of condition. I am up and knocking about, only I am rather weak from loss of blood. I went under X-rays this morning, and it seems that all three of my fingers are broken. The bullet went straight through my first and second finger, at the knuckle, and took the top off my third. I think I shall be able to keep what is left of them. They will have to be set before I shall be able to use them again, although they give me very little pain. I cannot move them. Well, I have such a lot to tell you I really do not know where or how to begin. I do hope you are A1. Leonard says I have taken years off your life, mother, but I do hope I have given you years longer to live, now that you know I am safe in England once again. You must cheer up, for I shall soon be coming to see you, and then we will wag our jaws and not half. You will be tired of listening to me. I really think I could fill a newspaper with news. “I must now begin. We went into action on Saturday morning [7th August 1915] and forced a new landing I dare say that you have seen it in the papers about the 10th Division of what good work they did. When we were on the ship, waiting to land, there were shells and shrapnel dropping all round us. The boats had to keep changing their positions to get out of range. The guns that were firing at us were on high hills, and they kept firing and disappearing. Our navy, which came up with us, found some of their guns, but the others kept up a continual fire. We got off the large boats on to some small lighters, and set off for the shore. While we were sailing for the shore a Turkish aeroplane dropped a bomb on the corner of our lighter, only doing little damage, and no one was injured. We went as far as we could, then we had to wade through the water up to our shoulders, some getting killed, others wounded and drowned. When the Dublins got ashore they struck a land mine, and it sent about one hundred of them to their graves – poor fellows. We landed without much loss, and commenced advancing over sand and rocks and low bushes. We advanced without much loss until Saturday night, then our casualties started. We had driven the Turks back about three miles [sic – but it probably felt like that], and they was on Hill 971, and we were on another bit called La-la-bala. There was a big open valley between. We had the order to make a vigorous attack from the right flank, C Company and two platoons from ours, and No. 16, under Major [Godfrey] Drage . We had the order to advance with fixed bayonets, which we did for the first time in real warfare, and kept going down the hill and across the valley, open to their fire the whole time. They were dropping like flies all round me. We then started going up the hill, and it was a hill, my word. We got away from another with it being dark and the way so uncertain, but we had the order to charge, and we did. We were outnumbered by so many, and they were strongly entrenched. The order was given to retire. Some of us heard it – some didn’t. Those that didn’t went off to certain death. We, that did, went down the hill, bullets whizzing all around us, my officer was hit, so Lieut. FitzMorris took command of what few of us were left, and we made our way back to our Company headquarters. George and “Ginger” were missing. I wondered if they had been wounded or killed. As soon as we reached headquarters, we had to start trench digging in solid rock. We got about 2ft. down by 6 o’clock. The next morning (Sunday), we were under continual fire. We dug all day. Mind you, the sun in the day nearly checked us, and we got our water bottles full (they hold a quart), when we left the ship, so you may guess what a state we were in, our tongues out and our eyes getting glassy, still we stuck it. I could not eat for we only had “bully” beef and biscuits, and I had not enough moisture in my mouth to eat. I sent my water bottle with a man who took so many to get them filled at a well at the beach, but he never returned, the snipers got him. Well, late on Sunday night, who should turn up but George and “Ginger,” beat to the world, their clothes and equipment all riddled with bullets, but unhurt themselves. We were all pleased to see each other safe. We were digging all Sunday night, then when daylight came on the Monday [9th August 1915], our Captain said: “Cheer up, lads, we are going for 24 hours rest.” We all jumped for joy, and set off for the rest, but, alas, fresh orders came that there was a general advance right along the line going to take place, so we formed up in orderly formation and commenced the advance. As soon as the Turks saw this they simply poured it into us from machine guns, field gun and rifle. Oh dear! I never saw or hear anything like it and I hope I never shall do again. We kept on though, and was not firing at all until the order came to halt, then we lay on the ground, taking the best cover we could. Our Captain told about twelve of us to get the range, which we did then we let them have it. I was behind a bush, kneeling on one knee, letting bang, and I had fired about 50 rounds and was just reloading when, bang, my rifle was knocked out of my hand and I looked at my hand and found it bleeding and a big hole through my fingers. I thought this was healthy, so I ran back about 20 yards to where some of our fellows were, to have it bandaged up. I heard George shout, “Are you hurt, Harold,” I said yes but could not go to him. A corporal put me a bandage on and I asked for a drink of water, but no-one had any. I moved from there because things were too hot. Another lad got in my place, and he had no sooner got there than he was shot through the head. I went to the captain. He said, “What, hit, Rydings?” I said, “Yes, Sir,” and he replied, “Well, you had better follow on in the rear, as it was suicide to go back.” I stayed with the Company for an hour or more, then the Captain saw how I was bleeding, and he said I should risk it and go down to the beach as best I could. It was four miles [sic] to the beach, and how I got there alive God only knows. I will not tell you here, it would take me too long. Anyway, I got there and got on the Hospital Ship, the “Sudan” and of course you know the rest. I have told you all.” Above article is courtesy of Jim Grundy and his facebook pages Small Town Great War Hucknall 1914-1918
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