Robert Ryder

Captain Robert Edward Dudley Ryder (16 February 1908 – 29 June 1986) was a Royal Navy officer and a British recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces. He became a Conservative Member of Parliament after retiring from the navy. Ryder was born in India in 1908 to Colonel Charles Henry Dudley Ryder, Surveyor General of India, and Ida Josephine Grigg. He was a great-grandson of the Right Reverend Henry Ryder, youngest son of Nathaniel Ryder, 1st Baron Harrowby. Ryder had two brothers; both were killed in the Second World War. Lisle Charles Dudley Ryder was killed in the Le Paradis massacre of 1940 in France. Ernle Terrick Dudley Ryder died in captivity after the defence of Singapore. Ryder was educated at Hazelhurst School and Cheltenham College before he entered the Royal Navy in 1926. Ryder served on several ships throughout his career. He served as a midshipman on the battleship from 1927 to 1929. As a lieutenant he served in the submarine as part of the 4th Flotilla in China from 1930 to 1933. Ryder also commanded several expeditions. This included captaining the ketch Tai-Mo-Shan on a 16,217 mile voyage from Hong Kong to Dartmouth, England during 1933–1934. From 1934 to 1937 he captained the schooner Penola during the British Graham Land Expedition in Antarctica. When the Second World War started, Ryder was serving as a lieutenant commander on . In 1940, he was promoted to commander of the Q-ship which was sunk by a torpedo in the Atlantic, 200 miles west of Ireland; Ryder was adrift for four days before rescue. Appointed commander of the sloop . In early 1941, he went on to captain the Prince Philippe a cross-channel steamer converted to a Commando ship, which sank after a collision in the Firth of Clyde. Ryder, now a commander, led the St Nazaire Raid, codenamed Operation Chariot, on 28 March 1942. This was a successful operation to destroy the "Normandie Dock" in the German naval base in the town.
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