Lieutenant William Riddell

Lieutenant William Forster Riddell, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve. He was lost at sea aboard the S.S. “Ceramic” on 7th December 1942, aged 25 and is commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial.  He was the son of William and Emily Riddell and the husband of Olga Riddell of Newcastle-on-Tyne. He was a Fellow of Conville and Caius College and a Freeman of the Borough of Berwick-upon-Tweed.. He was based at the shore Establishment of H.M.S. “Tana” in Klindini, Kenya and was returning there via Capetown aboard the ” Ceramic “. The ship was a passenger liner of 18,700 tons, completed by Harland and Wolff, Befast in 1913 and owned by Shaw, Savill and Albion,Co. of London There were 655 people aboard including 264 crew, 244 military personnell and 133 fare paying passengers and 14 gunners. On the night of 6th December she was torpedoed by U-515 north west of the Azores. The engines stopped and eight fully laden life boats were launched in rough seas and poor visability. The ship stayed afloat for three hours until struck again with two more torpedoes and sank immediately. A storm arose and most of the lifeboats were swamped or capsized. The U-Boat returned to the scene and rescued one survivor. All the rest perished. U-515 was herself sunk on 9thb April 1944 by a combination of U.S.destroyers and aircraft

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