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Alphonse DE RIDDER (?-?)

Alphonse de Ridder
Thought to be Alphonse de Ridder – from the Sladden archive at Worcestershire Archive & Archaeology Service, BA 9520/22/ii/45.
Known As
De Ridder
Biographical Details

Alphonse de Ridder was a Belgian refugee who escaped from Belgium at the start of the First World War.  May and Ethel Sladden were instrumental in bringing some Belgian refugees to Badsey and Alphonse de Ridder was one of the first to arrive.

A single man, Alphonse de Ridder soon became the spokesman for the group.  The Flemish-speaking refugees had little or no English and only de Ridder spoke French as his second language. Fortunately both May Sladden and her mother were fluent in French.

Alphonse de Ridder remained only a short time in Badsey as he found work with the Vanden Plas Company in London, building motor vehicles for the Belgian Army. As May said in a letter of 24th February 1915:  “… he was very glad to be able to go and help the great cause. He spoke in a very patriotic way and talked of the Germans as “les lâches” with fire in his eye.”  De Ridder sent a long letter (written in French) to the Sladdens after his departure for London, describing his journey and the kindness of strangers.

On moving to London he took lodgings at 65 Vauxhall Bridge Road, Westminster.

Little is known of Alphonse de Ridder’s personal life other than the fact that, back in Belgium, he had a mother, a married sister, a brother-in-law and their children.

Someone by the name of Alphonse de Ridder married Beatrice E Nunn in 1916 in the Kensington district.  They had a daughter, Elvire G M, born in the Kensington district in 1917.  Whether this was the same Alphonse de Ridder who was in Badsey is unknown.

A Trade Union register for 1917 reveals that an Alphonse de Ridder, aged 36, who had been 17 years in the trade as a carpenter and joiner was admitted on 17th August 1917 to the Hammersmith branch of the Amalgamated Society of Carpenters and Joiners; he was excluded in 1918 because of arrears.  Again, it is not known if this was the Alphonse de Ridder who was in Badsey.

Letters mentioning this person: