Ernest Ryder was the son of Walter and Emma Ryder of 19 Mount Pleasant, Kingswinford, and was living in Wordsley at the outbreak of war. He volunteered for the Staffords Territorials and joined the 2/6th Battalion which went to the Western Front and fought on the Somme in 1916. The next year they were involved in the Third Battle of Ypres in September at Zonnebeke. In November they moved towards Cambrai for the second phase of this battle and took over the front line in Bourlon Wood to face the strong German counter-attack of the 30th November. On the 1st December they were shelled and suffered huge losses as a result of mustard gas. British respirators were ineffective for this type of gas and of the 600 Staffords in the wood fewer than 100 were able to march out. Many were killed or wounded, and 64 of those who were gassed died on the way to hospitals or in the days afterwards. Private Ernest Ryder was taken to a Casualty Clearing Station many miles behind the lines where he died on the 12th December 1917. He is buried in the Rocquigny-Equancourt Road Military Cemetery at Manancourt (VII A 29) and commemorated on the Wordsley Memorial.
High Street, Wordsley, West Midlands, DY8 5RU
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