RIDLING Randolph Gordon
Lieutenant, NZ Rifle Brigade (received Albert Medal)
Born 17 March 1888, in Auckland, New Zealand Died 13 January 1975 at Wellington, New Zealand Cremated Wellington 14 January 1975 (Ref 39507)
Randolph Ridling was born in 1888, in Auckland. He was educated at Auckland Grammar School and attended Auckland University College before becoming a teacher. He was teaching at Pukekohe when war broke out and he enlisted in 1915. Within a month he was promoted to Warrant Officer and shortly before sailing for France was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant. Severely wounded in France in 1917, Ridling was evacuated to England. After a long convalescence he returned to duty at Brocton Camp in 1918. Unable to return to the front because of his unhealed wounds, he became a bombing instructor. On 19 April 1918 a recruit dropped a grenade in the throwing bay after pulling the pin. Lieutenant Ridling picked the man up and started to carry him out of the bay, but the bomb exploded, wounding Ridling severely and the recruit lightly. Lieutenant Ridling was awarded the Albert Medal for his gallantry in saving the life of the recruit. The last six months of Ridling’s Army career were spent as an Education Officer in the newly formed Army Education Corps. After his discharge from the Army he continued his university education and also continued to teach. He was employed by the Department of Education as a supervisor and inspector before being appointed Director of the Wellington Technical College in 1931.
The Albert Medal
The Albert Medal was instituted by royal Warrant dated 7 March 1866. It is said to have been designed by Prince Albert and was established by Queen Victoria. Initially there was only one class of award, but by 1867 the award had been divided into two classes. The medal was to be awarded for daring and heroic actions in saving life at sea. In 1877 it was further expanded to include actions on land. One of the conditions of eligibility for this award was that the probability of death should exceed the chance of survival.
The differences between the awards are that the enamelling on the sea-related medal is in dark blue whereas the land service award enamelling is in red, and further, the sea medal includes an anchor placed centrally on the medal. The Albert First Class Medal was in gold and the Second Class Medal in bronze. The ribbons were also different with blue and white stripes for the sea service medal and crimson and white for the land medal. The post nominal letters AM were used by the recipients.
In 1949 the award of the Gold or First Class Medal ceased and the conditions of eligibility for the Bronze Medal were also changed such that it could only be awarded posthumously. The Medal was then discontinued in 1971. At this time, all living recipients were to exchange their awards for the George Cross, which was now deemed would supersede the Albert Medal. There had been two awards of the Albert Medal Second Class to New Zealand Army Personnel; Trooper James Magnusson on 4 May 1917, posthumously, and Lieutenant Randolph Ridling on 19 April 1918. Randolph Ridling requested that he be permitted to retain his medal as it had great sentimental value and the Queen approved his request.