John William RIDGWAY
Rank: Driver
Number: 745040
Unit: 29th Division Ammunition Column ROYAL FIELD ARTILLERY
Date of Death: 29 September 1918
Age: 20
Cemetery: Menin Road South Military Cemetery, Ieper, Belgium

The Ridgways came from Poynton where George Ridgway had been an engine driver at a nearby colliery. John was the fourth of their five children listed on the 1901 Census.

There are many stories of young boys lying about their age to enlist during the War. Most of them are popular myths and, in many other cases, the true ages were realised well before the boy was expected to go overseas. However, in John’s case, he certainly did enlist under 18 - joining up on 24 January 1915 whilst still 16. He went overseas in the September. Shortly before his death, John had been home on leave for two weeks.

A Divisional Ammunition Column was the part of the artillery which would drive ammunition and other supplies from the dumps in the reserve areas to the gun positions near the front line. The Germans would, of course, be able to target to the supply roads with their own artillery and these would be regularly shelled with the intent of disrupting supplies and killing men. On 29 September, British and Belgian forces were continuing with an attack started some days before and John will have been with his vehicle on the notorious Menin Road taking shells to the forward area. He was, indeed, killed by an enemy shell.

Another of George and Annie Ridgway’s sons was, at the time, fighting in the Salonika theatre of the War and is believed to have survived.

In the early 1920s, the Ridgways were living at Mill Cottage, Norbury, Hazel Grove. Further information about John, including a photograph, can be found in the book, “Hazel Grove to Armageddon” by John Eaton.

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