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Private F.  “Dodo” Aldridge MM

Private F.  “Dodo” Aldridge MM

Private Aldridge and Private Ruskin

We know very little about Private Aldridge, other than his nickname, which hints perhaps at some narrow escapes, and that he was from Hertford. The images the museum holds of him suggest he maintained a sense of humour, despite the horrific conditions of the trenches.

He was awarded the Military Medal, for bravery in the field, but we do not have a record of what prompted this. In 1917, Private Aldridge was awarded a bar to his military medal and an account of his actions for which he received this award, and the enemy raid that took place, are recorded in the Battalion Orders 28th March, 1917:“The Brigadier-General Commanding most heartily congratulates all ranks on their magnificent behaviour during the hostile raid on the trenches on the night of March 25/26th.  The vigilance exercised by the Sentries and the cross Lewis Gun fire brought to bear on the enemy were the means of rendering his attack nugatory. The action of the 4/5th Black Watch and 1st Hertfordshire Regt last night demonstrates a high state of discipline in their Battalions which have worthily upheld the glorious traditions of the Territorial Force.

The Commanding Officer desires to express his most sincere appreciation of the soldierly conduct of all ranks in the trenches in repulsing the attempted raid. The vigilance of the sentries and prompt action of Lewis Gunners and riflemen was most praiseworthy, especially having regard to the intense and prolonged bombardment. There is no doubt the enemy suffered severe casualties in his unsuccessful attempt to gain a footing in this most important sector of the Ypres Salient.

For Gallant Conduct on this occasion 265298 Pte. F. Aldridge, who was severely wounded, was awarded a Bar to his Military Medal, and 265202 Corp. F.W. Waters and 269503 Pte. W. Crane were both awarded the Military Medal.  Pte. Aldridge was in charge of a Lewis Gun on the left flank, next to the K.R.R.C. (Kings Royal Rifle Corps). They were out of the Box Barrage, but continued to fire throughout the raid, although under continuous shell fire.  The Lewis gun failed owing to a separated case, so fire was kept up with rifles.

One shell killed one and wounded five others, including Pte. Aldridge, who in spite of his wounds remained in action until the Raiders were beaten off. Lt. Col. Page considered that the conduct of Pte. Aldridge on this occasion was one of the most gallant incidents he had met during the War.”

Private Aldridge poses with a minenwerfer shell. “Unexploded Minnie” Souvenir (with love) from Fritz to 1st Herts. 6th Nov 1915.

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