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Amazing tale of ‘luckiest soldier’

Six medals awarded to a war hero who was Macclesfield’s luckiest soldier could fetch up to £700 at auction tomorrow.

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Six medals awarded to a war hero who was Macclesfield’s luckiest soldier could fetch up to £700 at auction tomorrow.

The medals, including a Meritorious Service Medal – a rare army award for gallantry at sea – all belonged to Sgt Horace Riddlesworth, who lived at 95 Nicholson Avenue.

He survived:

  • The Battle of Gallipoli in 1915, in which nearly half a million men were killed or injured
  • Being gassed in another battle in France
  • A torpedo attack on a troop ship in December 1917 in which more than 600 men were killed
  • He then survived an attack on the ship which rescued him

After the Great War ended, he came home and led a quieter life as a joiner.

The medals awarded to Sgt Riddlesworth, the son of Macclesfield fish fryer George Riddlesworth and his wife Hannah, are up for auction at Spink saleroom in Bloomsbury, London.

Horace Riddlesworth was born in Macclesfield in 1894 and after leaving Daybrook Street school became an apprentice cabinetmaker.

In 1913 he enlisted in the Cheshire Regiment and served with them at the Battle of Gallipoli. After a gas attack in France he was on his way to Egypt, on December 30,1917, when the troop ship Aragon was torpedoed by German U-boats. It sank 11 miles off Alexandria.

Sgt Riddlesworth was picked up by the destroyer H.M.S. Attack and immediately helped to rescue drowning men by diving repeatedly into the sea.

He later received the Meritorious Service Medal – the silver medal with the crimson and white striped ribbon in the photograph. But before that, H.M.S. Attack was also torpedoed and sunk. Mr Riddlesworth survived and eventually died in his seventies in 1971.

Did you know Horace or are you a member of his family? If so, we’d love to hear from you.

 

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