ParentsCharles and Phillipa Jane (nee COLWELL) RIDDLE
SpouseWinifred (nee GARWES) RIDDLE
Spouse ResidencePalmer's Green, Middlesex
William Riddle was born in Withiel near Bodmin, Cornwall, on 15 July 1909. Although the Commonwealth War Graves Commission give his parents’ names as William and May they were in fact Charles May and Phillipa Jane (nee Colwell) Riddle who had married in 1903. Before WW1 Charles was a horseman on a farm but later became a gardener. In 1904 their first child was born – a son John Charles L but sadly he died two years later. They were to have four more children – Ann Rowena S (b.1906), William (b.1909), Frederick R (b.1914) and Clara M (B.1917). William was educated at Bodmin County Grammar School and is remembered on the school’s war memorial plaque. His mother, Phillipa, passed away in 1934 at the age of 58, but two years later his father remarried to Winifred M Phillips. In the third quarter of 1938 William married Winifred Emily Garwes. At the time he was a wholesale textile warehouseman and Winifred was an instructress/clerk. They lived at 201 Langham Road, Tottenham, but later moved to Palmers Green. It is not thought they had any children.
It is believed that William Riddle joined the RAF in 1940. Nothing is known of his training or early service but by late 1944 he was a Flight Sergeant. He came to 524 Squadron at Langham in December 1944 as part of the crew of F/L E.F.Davis. It is thought the crew had come from training at No78 Operational Training Unit at Ein Shemer in what is now Israel.
On the evening of 24 Feb 1945 William Riddle was the Navigator in the crew of F/L E.F.Davis tasked to undertake a box patrol over a sector of the North Sea using radar to hunt for enemy shipping. The other members of the crew were ; F/O B.A.Taylor (2nd Pilot), Sgt W.Andrews (W/Op A/G), Sgt S.W.Argent (W/Op A/G), Sgt D.R.Lewis (W/Op A/G) and Sgt J.A.Robinson (W/Op A/G). Sgt Robinson was not a regular member of the Davis crew and was on his first operational mission with 524 Squadron. Their aircraft was Vickers Wellington GR MkXIV HF283 (B). Take-off was at 18:43 and the patrol area, off Scheveningen, was reached at 19:25. At 20:00 seven contacts were picked up on radar and visually identified as naval auxiliaries sailing close to the coast. At 22:30 a “ball of fire” was seen which burned on the surface of the sea for several minutes. This was thought to be the crash of a 612 Squadron Wellington also operating from Langham. At 22:48 visual contact was made with 6 enemy E-boats which were attacked at 23:30. Bombs straddles one E-boat but scored a direct hit on another. The rear gunner strafed the vessels as the Wellington flew over them at 500 feet. A second attack was made at 00:04 but the aircraft was hit by flak and the left engine set on fire. With the rudder controls out of action, the rear turret damaged and the fire spreading to the fuselage F/L Davis ditched the aircraft after one of the W/Ops sent out a Mayday and final position report. Both pilots and the Navigator, William Riddle, managed to get out of the aircraft before it sank but only the pilots were able to get into the life raft. They were rescued at 08:00 on the morning of 25 Feb. All the other crew perished with their bodies never being recovered. On 06 Apr 1945 the pilots, F/L Davis and F/O Taylor were awarded the DFC for their actions on the night of 24 / 25 Feb.
Courtesy of Friends of Langham Dome
ParentsHerbert and Mary Elizabeth (nee GARNER) STREET
Parents ResidenceRiverhead, Kent
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Bodmin College WW2.Alamein Memorial
Died on This Day: 5th Jun
1915 - BOX Fred 1915 - MORSE Anthony Philp 1915 - PEARCE James Henry Clifford 1916 - LAITY Joseph Henry 1916 - MEDLAND Richard 1916 - WILLIAMS Charles 1917 - JENKIN Joseph Thomas 1917 - OLIVER John 1917 - RESKELLY William James Blewett 1917 - STEER Richard Nicholas