SECOND LIEUTENANT GASPARD ALURED EVELYN RIDOUT
ROYAL FIELD ARTILLERY
21ST MARCH 1918 AGE
BURIED: JEANCOURT COMMUNAL CEMETERY EXTENSION, FRANCE
"He always understood", what a lovely thing for a father to say of his nineteen-year-old son. Who knows what Gaspard Ridout understood but from his obituary in the Eton Chronicle it sounds as though he possessed both intellectual and emotional intelligence:
"Gaspard Ridout was a very quiet boy, who nevertheless, had devoted friends, and took an intense interest in all aspects of school life. He was endowed with considerable talent, and when he tried for Woolwich he was the only Etonian who passed. The work interested him, and he made his mark there, and passed out third in his year."
Born on 1 September 1898, Ridout was the younger son of George Arthur Ridout, manager of Lloyds Bank in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and his wife Beaujolois Mabel Fanshawe. Educated at Eton - Floreat Etona, may Eton flourish, is the School's unofficial motto - Ridout was gazetted second lieutenant in the Royal Field Artillery on 25 January 1918. He went to France on 6 February and was killed in action on 21 March, the opening day of the German offensive.
Ridout was with the 331st Brigade RFA, part of the 66th East Lancashire Division, based at Carpeza Copse, close to the village of Hesbecourt, east of Roisel, when they were overwhelmed by the German advance. His body was unburied but later discovered at map reference 62c L15c .5.5 and buried at Jeancourt in August 1919.
Many parents of young soldiers felt the need to identify themselves on their son's headstones. Not because they were proud of themselves - although no doubt some were - but just because this is who the dead boy was - their son.