Saving Private Rideout–100 years ago

August 16th 1915

100 years ago today Malcolm Hancock carried the wounded John Rideout back to safety on his soldiers in full view of the Turks.

In Malcolm Hancock’s words from IWM tapes:

Anyway, we advanced there, we took up a position and lay down. One of my Corporals was at that moment wounded and he was pretty bad and I sent for stretcher bearers. After a little time, stretcher bearers came along and they got him away. Now one of them stayed with me, he was a young boy whose name was Rideout I remember, he was one of my Platoon, and he was standing next to me, he was only a yard away from me I suppose, when suddenly he was shot through both legs and . . . this was a rifle, must have been a rifle bullet . . . and it sounded just like the crack of a whip like that [makes cracking sound!] and it went through both his legs and of course he fell down. Well, I thought I’d better get down too, which I did, and when I recovered myself a bit I thought well this doesn’t seem to be much good and at that moment, fortunately, we were recalled by our Company Commander because it was obviously an untenable position and we were recalled back over the ridge which we had just gone over. This boy couldn’t do anything, couldn’t move, couldn’t stand, couldn’t do anything. So I somehow or other rather like a fireman putting someone over their shoulders managed to get him on my back and I got him away. Now I can’t help feeling that at that moment when I took him down we must have been in full view of some enemy. If he had been shot on that spot why wasn’t I? And that’s why I think it that was one that the reasons that the Turk fought fair.

From John Rideout’s memories:

After a night out in the open the battalion moved forward at first light to a position called Kidney Hill, and although under continuous fire could not define any enemy positions. My company (‘A’) was in the lead when a Lance Corporal of number 2 platoon was seriously wounded in the back .The platoon commander (my Platoon) a Lt Hancock immediately went to his aid and called for stretcher bearers, “Off you go Rideout”, so myself and others went forward amidst whining bullets carrying a stretcher. No sooner had we reached them when I felt a searing pain, and down I went, Lt Hancock organized the other men to load the wounded man on to the stretcher and take him back to our lines, he then hoisted me onto his back and despite being in full view of the Turkish lines made it back to our rear position.

For this deed Lt Hancock was awarded the Military Cross, a more detailed account of this action is held at the Imperial War Museum under the diaries of Lt Hancock.

The full story is related here:

4 thoughts on “Saving Private Rideout–100 years ago

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