• Christina Drummond

Lieutenant Lancelot Edwin Ridley, 1st/4th Battlalion, Princess Charlotte of Wales’ (Royal Berkshire)


Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 1916, Lieutenant Lancelot Edwin Ridley, 1st/4th Battlalion, Princess Charlotte of Wales’ (Royal Berkshire) Regiment, was killed in action during the Battle of Pozieres on the Somme.

The son of a solicitor, he was educated at Ipswich School, Eastbourne College, and Jesus College, Cambridge, where he studied Law and Political Economy. He was also the cox of the Cambridge rowing team and an excellent rugby player, and was renowned not only for his academic ability but his astounding knowledge of the works of Shakespeare. After having articled with a law firm in Ipswich, he joined the Inns of Court Officers’ Training Corps.

During the six weeks of the Battle of Pozieres, although a British victory, the British suffered over 5,300 casualties. Far worse was the total number of casualties suffered by the Australians, almost 23,000 – historian Wilfrid Miles blamed the heavy losses on the inexperience of the Australians as well as their “reckless daring.” The Australian official historian Charles Bean wrote that Pozières "is more densely sown with Australian sacrifice than any other place on earth."

On the day of his death Lieutenant Ridley was leading a bombing party during the Battle of Pozieres when he was killed, his body having never been recovered. He is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme, as well as memorials at St. Margaret’s church in Ipswich, Eastbourne College, and Jesus College, Cambridge.

Lancelot, from Ipswich, was 23 years old.

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