We would like to thank Dr. Tim Ridge and step-Daughter Sally for supplying the below information on this gallant officer.
Alan John Leslie Ridge (nickname “Jack”) was born on the 9th August 1917 (the younger twin) at 2.15am at The Hall, Acomb, Great Ouseburn, just outside the city of York.
Acomb Hall was a Maternity Home where several cousins were born, presumably to be away from the wartime dangers in London.
The twins father was Robert Leslie Ridge a General Medical Practitioner in Enfield, Middlesex.
Jack joined the R.A.F.V.R., his service no was 176279.
(An application to the Service Records at RAF Cranwell has been submitted and further details on Jack will be included at a later date).
After Training Jack was posted to 576 Squadron which was stationed at RAF Elsham Wolds, near Scunthorpe, a No 1 Group Main force Avro Lancaster station and also
the home to 103 Squadron, which was formed on the 1st September 1917.
576 Squadron was formed from C Flight from 103 and four experienced crews from 101 Squadrons as a Reserve Squadron 25th November 1943.
This process of forming a new Squadron had by 1943 become Bomber Commands standard method of creating new Reserve Squadrons to enlarge the Commands
offensive capabilities which by 1945 would result in some 62 pathfinder and Main force Lancaster Squadrons being formed with a further 35 Handley page
Halifax Squadrons.This ensured that by wars end Bomber Command could each day deploy some 1600 Heavy Bombers.
Elsham Wolds was also the Base Station (13 Base) controlling two satellite airfields at Kermington (166 Squadron) now Humberside airport and North Killingholme
(550 Squadron).On October 10th 1944 576 Squadron was transferred to RAF Fiskerton. The airfield being located some 4 miles east of Lincoln.
Jack completed a full tour of 30 Operations by January 1945 and was awarded the DFC on 22nd May 1945.
Post War Jack converted to the single engine fighter and enlisted with the auxiliary Air Force, joining 604 “County of Middlesex” Squadron flying the MK16 Packard
Merlin powered Spitfire, as a P2 (Sgt Pilot). The P2 ranking was unpopular among aircrews and was discontinued in 1950.
At 11.00 am on Sunday 27th November 1949 Jack, flying his Spitfire out of the Squadrons Base at RAF North Weald accompanied by the Adjutant and Assistant Adjutant
also flying Spitfires plus two other Squadron pilots found on their return to the airfield it being covered in a low cloud base down to 150 feet.
The Two officers made successful Landings at the airfield with the other two pilots diverting to RAF Hendon but Jack with an unserviceable radio had to make a
precautionary wheels up landing in a field in the vicinity of Grange Hill Station near Chigwell, Essex.
The Spitfire received damage to its underside with Jack escaping the aircraft without injury.
From 1955 Jack by now in Lebanon flew civil airliners with Middle East Airlines.
Jack died 15th April 1989 in Los Angeles, California.
Avro Lancaster T-Tare 2 (Squared) .There were two Lancaster’s that served with the Squadron at both Elsham Wolds and Fiskerton with this call sign.
The first is JA 868 then PD 271. Records indicate JA 868 was last flown operationally with 576 Sqn on 26th August 1944.
The first recordered Operation with PD271 was on the 29th August 1944.No loss is shown of JA 868 so it is assumed this
Lancaster was removed from the Squadrons Order Of Battle after the Operation on 26th August.
The picture shown was probably taken at Elsham Wolds as the back ground indicates a summers day.
The Squadron moved to Fiskerton at the end of October 1944. The crew consisted of the then Pilot Officer Ridge.
Sgt Brinksworth Flight Engineer (Australian). Flying Officer Jolly Navigator. Flight Sgt Roberts Bomb Aimer (Australian).
Sgt Shier Mid upper Gunner and Sgt Maddocks Rear Gunner.