[IanR]The meeting came about when IRENE returned to work following the birth of MARTIN our first child. Whilst working on the ward as a Midwife she came across another Mrs Ridgers and they agreed that it was difficult is to get people to spell the name correctly and joked about the possibility of being related. It transpired that her father-in-law’s name was ERNEST, GEORGE, WILLIAM RIDGERS. Colin greeted this with some excitement as ‘George’ and ‘William’ appear in most generations. A meeting was arrange between Colin, ERNEST and his two sons MICHAEL and PETER. ERNEST told us that he was named after his father, his father’s father and his father’s father’s brother. He also recalled that there was a sister ALICE(A2) who had died at a young age. This coinsided excatly with our family tree and so the link was established ~ we had descended from WILLIAM(W2) and ERNEST had descended from GEORGE(G2).Micheal, Peter, Colin, et al shared a set of great, great grandparents!
A transcript of part of the meeting between ERNEST, IAN and Colin follows.
From the tape recording of a meeting on 3rd August 1981 ERNEST recalls;
"My family lived in a very old house in Windlesham. It had acres of ground. It was the old Windlesham Farm and supplied the whole village with milk and water - it had the only well in the village”
There was no insurance in those days - so when the house burnt down me and my father built another house. Mother died in 1932/33 long before the war. Muriel, Norah and Harold were still at school when she died.
Dad was left all alone. When the war came in 1939 me and my two brothers were called up. I was getting married and had the offer of a house from my future father--in-law. My next brother was also getting married. He had no money so we all agreed that he would live in the house and look after Dad.
My other two brothers and I went off to the war and I was sent to France. At home Dad was treated very badly by my brothers wife. She ran him down to the solicitor and had his will made over to her. When we returned from the war we were advised by the solicitor that there was absolutely nothing that we could do to change the will. So we lost everything. Dad died and she bought a house in Staines with the money which she eventually left to her son. He blew the lot".
He continued.- "I remember the Zeppelin raids coming over during the war. I also remember Grandfather (GEORGE 2) being killed, I was only five years old then. During the war people had flocked to Windlesham from London, we had twelve sleeping in the house on the floor. As soon as the Zeppelins were heard the people would go outside to watch them, scared to death.
I was one of the first eight men to enter Ostend on D Day. My job was to recce the town for mines any booby traps. We then had to start clearing houses in readiness for the troops to come in. Later I participated in the battle for the Ardennes and was in Hamburg when the cease fire was signed. I was sent to Belsen concentration camp to help clean it up after which I returned to England".
He concluded; "Father married MARY DANCE from the Wye Valley. Last May we visited the area and passed by the house where Grand-Father lived. The River Wye ran along the bottom of the garden. I could see the garden where I had played as a boy - just after the war. I remember the house as the front door had a big gothic arch and it was right on the pavement. Grandfather was the manager of the tin plate works in the Valley".