2nd Lieutenant, 2nd Battalion South Lancashire Regiment (Prince of Wales’ Volunteers).
Killed in action on Tuesday 25th August 1914, age 20.
Buried at Briastre Communal Cemetery, France.
Former student of Mechanical Engineering.
Alfred John Harold Ryder Widdowson was born on 30th December 1893 in Manchester to Alfred John and Alice Widdowson of ‘Calthorpe’, 26 Burford Road, Whalley Range, Manchester. He was educated at William Hulme Grammar School (1902-1903), Manchester Grammar School and Sedburgh School (1908-1912). He entered Manchester University in 1912 to study Mechanical Engineering and was a member of the MUOTC from 1912 to 1913. He was gazetted in 1914 to South Lancashire Regiment, and awarded the 1914 Star. He served on the Western Front.
Widdowson does not appear in the available Tech registers, but he is in the Book of Remembrance.
William Hulme Grammar recorded him as missing after Mons and he is named in their 1915 Roll of Honour. He was one of 12 students (from 346 who had enlisted) who had been killed by 8th December 1915.
At Sedbergh School Alfred was appointed as a prefect in 1911 and was a member of the school OTC/Rifle Corps. He was promoted from Corporal to Sergeant in June 1911 and to Colour Sergeant in June 1912. He participated in a number of sports. As a forward in the rugby team weighing 13st 5lbs he was described, in 1911, as “very useful in the scrum, but he has hardly come on as much as expected, playing at times a far too leisurely a game in the open. His place kicking and drop kicking have been of great service.” He also took part in running and shooting, gaining his colours in the latter in July 1912. Having visited the school as an Old Boy in March 1914 and in December that year he was named as one of five Old Boys the school was sorrowful to hear had fallen or were missing, but of whom they were intensely proud.
Afred’s grave is the only military/CWGC grave in a civilian cemetery.