Alfred Edwin Ridley

Rank Second Lieutenant
Service No Unknown
Date of Death 25/07/1918
Age 47
Regiment/Service Royal Engineers
Cemetery Les Baraques Military Cemetery, Sangatte . The cemetery is on the west side of Calais, France. It contains 1,303 Commonwealth burials of the 1st World War, together with more than 250 war graves of other nationalities, all but two of which are German.

 

Alfred was born in Hackney in 1871 to Edwin Ridley (1829-1898) and his wife, Mary Louisa, nee Buck (1833-1894).  

He had one brother and five sisters: Mary (1860-1933), Alice (1862-1945), Helen (b.1864), Caroline (1866-1947), Emily (b.1867) and William (b.1873).

At the time of the 1881 Census, the whole family, together with a servant, are living at 7, Thyra Grove, Finchley and his father’s occupation is listed as a shipbroker. In the 1891 Census the family are still living at the same address but there is no mention of Alfred.

Alfred is one of the two witnesses listed on his brother’s marriage certificate (the marriage took place at St Paul's Edmonton on 1st September 1908) and his brother’s address is listed as 56, Station Road, Finchley. In the 1911 Census his brother and sister-in-law are living in St Albans and have a son.

Arthur enlisted, aged 44, on 30th July 1915, at which point his occupation is recorded as ‘marine engineer’ and he states he is not married. This was before the Military Service Act of 1916 was passed, which specified that single men aged 18 to 40 years old were liable to be called up for military service unless they were widowed with children or ministers of a religion. It is therefore surprising that someone of Alfred’s age was permitted to join up in 1915. This may be because he possessed specific knowledge and skills which were in short supply and deemed invaluable to the Royal Engineers. He served in France from 21st December 1915 onwards. He was promoted from Mechanist Sergeant Major to temporary Second Lieutenant on 5th March 1918. 

The 30th, 35th and 38th General Hospitals, No.9 British Red Cross Hospital and No.10 Canadian Stationary Hospital were stationed in Calais providing about 2,500 beds and in view of where Alfred is buried it is likely that he died in one of these hospitals. His death was due to blood poisoning. His probate record of 12th February 1919 states that his last address was 18, Station Road, Finchley and he left £865 8s 2d to his brother, William, a clerk.

Albert is listed on the roll of honour of the Central Argentine Railway, one of the British-owned companies that built and operated railway networks in Argentina. It records that he worked in the London Office and refers to the Traffic Department, La Banda (northern Argentina). As he does not appear in the 1891, 1901 or 1911 censuses it may be was in Argentina for much of his working life.