Author Topic: Our Joey  (Read 3999 times)

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Offline Sandra

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Our Joey
« on: 08 July, 2008, 06:12:25 PM »

Joseph Robert Riddle was born in Canning Town in 1923; he was the middle child of five.

Joey was in the Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry - Airborne 2nd Battalion.

He was one of the first into France on D-Day.

Shortly after midnight on the morning of 6th June 1944, a force of six Horsa gliders carrying 139 men of 2nd Ox & Bucks, together with 30 Royal Engineers, all under the command of Major R.J.Howard, landed in darkness to capture the bridges over the Caen Canal (Pegasus Bridge) and the River Orne (Horsa Bridge) by surprise coup de main raid. The attack on Pegasus Bridge was entirely successful and the bridge was held against fierce counter attacks until the Ox & Bucks, joined by 7 Para, were relieved by sea borne troops.

Of the three gliders assigned to Horsa Bridge, two landed at the correct place and the Ox & Bucks captured and held that bridge. The third glider was released at the wrong place and landed at the wrong bridge, a bridge over the River Dives about seven miles away. Nevertheless the Ox & Bucks captured that bridge and then made their way to Ranville, through German lines, where they rejoined their battalion. Major John Howard was awarded the DSO for his skill and leadership in this action.

By the end of D+2, 6th Airborne Division was fully established on the East bank of the River Orne and held this vital sector for several months against repeated enemy attacks. The Ox & Bucks played a major role in the major defensive battles at Escoville and Herouvillette from 7th to 14th June 1944, and then on the Breville Ridge for two months. After advancing to the River Seine in August, the battalion was withdrawn to England on 1st September 1944 to re-form.

Joey was then moved up to the Ardennes (The Battle of the Bulge)

The 2nd Ox & Bucks were rushed back to Belgium to help counter the massive German breakthrough, which was intended to drive a wedge through to Antwerp, between the British and American armies. After extremely hard fighting in very cold weather, the German advance was turned into disaster when the British and American troops closed the neck of the bulge.

After surviving all of that, Joey sadly lost his life on 24th March 1945. Just six weeks and 5 days before the War ended when he was sent to the Rhine.

On 24th March 1945, 2nd Ox & Bucks took part in their second airborne operation, the Crossing of the Rhine (Operation Plunder)

Although suffering over 400 casualties in the air and on landing. The battalion captured all of its objectives.
The bridge at Hamminkeln was taken by a platoon of the Ox & Bucks by bayonet charge lead by Lieut Hugh Clark who was awarded an MC for this action. Determined counter attacks by German infantry and tanks were held off by 6 pdr anti tank guns of the Ox & Bucks lead by Lieut David Rice, but with limited success. The 6 pdr shot simply bounced off the German Tiger tanks, but they were held off long enough for Royal Air Force Typhoon aircraft to be called up to finish them off.

Joseph Robert Riddle was buried in Reichswald War Cemetery, Germany. Aged 23 years.

Few regiments of the British Army fought longer and harder than the 2nd Ox & Bucks in the great campaign from Normandy to the Baltic.
 
"A Regiment never surpassed in arms since arms were first borne by man". (Sir William Napier 1820).





Joey’s uncle, his father’s brother, Robert Ernest Riddle was a private in the 20th Battalion, The Middlesex Regiment, was killed on the 15th April 1917 in The Somme. His name is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial in France, and also on the chapel wall of The East London Cemetery, Plaistow.

Another of Joey’s uncles Noah James Lee - alias Smith (his mothers sisters husband) was also in the First World War.

Noah’s son (Joey’s cousin) Levi Lee fought in WW2. He enlisted on 20th June 1940, and was a Sergeant in the 1st battalion Lancashire Fusiliers. He was posted to Burma, where being a gypsy boy; he was put in charge of the horses. He used to break in the horse’s using the ‘whispering’ method.

He nursed a pony ‘Minnie’ after it was temporarily blinded while on duty in Burma. Minnie’s return to health provided a moral booster for the troops, who officially adopted her. She was kitted out with a special bridle and saddle and accompanied then to all ceremonial parades.

After the war, Levi returned to being a rag and bone man, and at weekends used to saddle up his pony to a specially made cart with a roundabout on the back, giving children rides for tuppence, or a jam-jar.

Sandra

Offline David Goodall

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Re: Our Joey
« Reply #1 on: 09 July, 2008, 08:48:45 AM »
Sandra, what a great story, you must me very proud of them.

Robert Rogers

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Re: Our Joey
« Reply #2 on: 09 July, 2008, 10:02:20 AM »
Well done Sandra, what a wonderfull story, a man to be proud of.

My Uncle and his Lancaster crew are buried in the same place.

On the main Newham Story page is an item about my Dad and World War Two as he was also involved in the Battle of the Bulge

Offline Stan Dyson

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Re: Our Joey
« Reply #3 on: 14 July, 2008, 11:15:42 PM »
Well Done Sandra - A story well told and certainly a family history to be proud of in the days when England was a great country.  Nice to see the bit about Levi Lee who all us kids in the 50's Canning Town & Silvertown were absolutely delighted to see coming down our streets, as we rummaged for old rags and jam jars! - Stan

ron

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Re: Our Joey
« Reply #4 on: 20 July, 2008, 06:10:47 AM »
Hello Sandra nice family story which was a reminder to me has my Grandma was Nellie Riddle ( born 1884) I be live to be sister to Robert Riddle she married John Draycott (1906) her elders son my uncle was named Robert most possibly after her brother , I often read the Newham stories though I now live W Australia - Ron.

Offline Susan Cole

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Re: Our Joey
« Reply #5 on: 21 July, 2008, 06:15:28 PM »
A very interesting story Sandra.  My granddad's brother Ernest Charles Withers, was killed in the third Battle of Ypres, usually known as Passchendaele, after the small village was captured by the Canadians from the Germans on 6th November 1917, after three months of heavy fighting.  When the Canadians arrived there hardly a trace of the village remained.  Some 310,000 British troops were either killed in action or wounded during the battle, partly because Sir Douglas Haig, the British commander, continued the attacks long after they had any strategy value.  Ernest Charles Withers was killed in action on 5th October 1917, aged 37.

For the men involved who survived, their abiding memory was of the mud.  Heavy bombardment, combined with the wettest summer of the century, produced a thick, clinging sludge which caked uniforms and clogged rifles.  It eventually became so deep that, in many places men, horses and pack mules drowned in it.  Is Levi Lee the man we called "Leo" who collected old rags for china, and had the roundabout on the back of his cart?


Offline Sandra

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Re: Our Joey
« Reply #6 on: 22 July, 2008, 05:38:01 PM »
Hi Susan - Yes, it's the same Levi.

Hi Ron - Yes your Grandmother Nellie was Robert's sister, and Henry's (Joey's Dad).

Joseph and Sarah Riddle (your g-grandparents) had 8 children altogether.

I don't know if you know, but the Riddle family originally came from Ware in Herts, then moved to Custom House around 1890 to 1895 time. Joseph was a Bargeman.

Nellie and 4 of her siblings were born in Ware, Henry was born in West Hampstead, and the last two children, Mable and Robert were born in Custom House.

I'm not 'blood' related to the Riddle family, they just married into my Lee family.

Sandra

Robert Rogers

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Re: Our Joey
« Reply #7 on: 12 November, 2008, 08:59:43 AM »
The information on Joey from this site was placed with a Poppy on the War memorial at St Lukes Church, Canning Town yesterday, 11/11/08.

Lest we Forget

See Photo.