Lance Corporal James Ridley


The hand written entry in the Roll of Honour at the end of the Lodge Temperance Minute Book reads “Lance Corporal James Ridley 2609 D Coy 5th N.F. Northumberland Infantry Brigade, Northumbrian Division”.

Unfortunately the service and pension records for James’ time in the army can’t be found so are probably  among the  60%  of the soldiers’ Service Records irretrievably damaged or lost completely as a result of enemy bombing in 1940 during the Second World War. However, his WW1 Medal Roll survives and shows he was a Corporal with the 5th Battalion,  Northumberland Fusiliers, no 5/2609 and was awarded the 1914 – 1915 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal. It also shows that he entered the war on the 20th April 1915 in Western Europe.

James was born in Talkin Village, Hayton near Brampton, Cumberland and was the son of Henry and Mary Ann Ridley. Henry was a farmer and married Mary Ann Milburn in 1859 and they had at least thirteen children including:

  • ·         Joseph (b 1860)
  • ·         Rachel Sarah (b 1861)
  • ·         Maria (b 1863)
  • ·         Jane (b 1865)
  • ·         Henry (b 1866)
  • ·         Mary Ann (b 1868)
  • ·         John (b 1869)
  • ·         George Monkhouse (b 1872)
  • ·         Matthew (b 1874)
  • ·         James (b 1875)
  • ·         Elizabeth Oliver (b 1877)
  • ·         Emma (b 1880)

James was a tailor and married Helen White, a Scottish girl from Newburgh, Fife in 1906 in Newcastle Upon Tyne. In the 1911 Census they were living with two of their children at 84, Cartington Terrace, Heaton. They had at least three children including:

  • ·         Henry (b 1907)
  • ·         Mary (b 1909)
  • ·         Helen (b 1912)

James was proposed at the Lodge Temperance meeting held on Monday 20th December 1909 by J. P. Vinton and seconded by Bro Wilkinson as a fit and proper person to be made a Freemason. He was a 34 year old Tailor living at 84, Cartington Terrace, Heaton. At the meeting of the 17th January 1910 a successful ballot was held and he was initiated into the Mysteries and Privileges of Ancient Freemasonry. He was passed to the second or Fellowcraft degree on the 21st February and raised to the Sublime degree of a Master Mason on the 18th April. He signed his Grand Lodge certificate on Monday 16th May 1910.

James is commemorated in Newcastle on the Roll of Honour 1914-18 Lodge Temperance 2557 (NUT254).