Longridge, Christopher Leigh Mallory
He was the fourth son of Harry Morgan Longridge JP, of Rathlin, Mobberley, Cheshire, and Annie Victoria Longridge, sister of the famous mountaineer George Herbert Leigh-Mallory (Coll.1900-05). He was the youngest of three brothers in Kingsgate House, the others being Robert George Mallory Longridge (K 1925-1930) and Benjamin Begbie Longridge (K 1932-1936).
He came to Mr. Tyndale’s House (Kingsgate House) from The Wick, Hove. He was an excellent carpenter and a distinguished gymnast, winning the Bronze Medal in 1939. He was a House Prefect during his last two terms, and then went to Magdalene College, Cambridge.
During the Second World War he entered the Fleet Air Arm. The CWGC gives his establishment as HMS Daedalus, the Royal Naval Air Station at Lee-on-Solent, although Longridge met his death in mid-Atlantic.
He was killed on January 17th 1941, aged twenty, while on his way to complete his training in Trinidad.
Two days before, on January 15th 1941, the SS Almeda Star sailed from Liverpool. Despite the outbreak of war she was not part of a convoy and was not escorted. On board were 194 passengers, of which 142 were members of the Fleet Air Arm destined for the RNAS training establishment at Piarco on the island of Trinidad.
On January 17th, the German U-Boat U-96, commanded by Heinrich Lehmann-Willenbrock, encountered the Almeda Star thirty-five miles north of Rockall, off the Outer Hebrides. Willenbrock was one of the most successful U-Boat commanders, sinking twenty-four Allied vessels. U-96 attacked several times, firing one torpedo at a time, but the Almeda Star proved a difficult target; she evaded four torpedoes and the accuracy of her defensive gun fire forced the surfaced U-96 to dive for cover. However, at 0745 a fifth torpedo hit her amidships. Even then, she proved hard to sink: two more torpedoes were fired into her – one at her stern and one at her mid-ships – but she refused to sink. U-96 surfaced and opened fire with her deck gun. She fired twenty-eight 88mm incendiary shells at the vessel in the space of 15 minutes, hitting her with fifteen of them, but only starting small fires on board, which were quickly put out. Four life-boats were seen and there was activity on deck, so U-96 fired yet another torpedo, which this time hit the bow of the ship just before ten in the morning. She sank within three minutes.
She had had time to send a distress signal before she finally went down but despite an intensive search by no fewer than seven destroyers, no trace of her or any of her crew or passengers was ever found. Even if boats were launched, they must have been swamped by the rough seas at the time.
Longridge is commemorated on Bay 2, Panel 2, of the Lee-on-Solent Memorial.
- Surname: Longridge
- Forenames or initials: Christopher Leigh Mallory
- House: K
- Years in School: 1934-1939
- Rank: Leading Airman
- Regiment: Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve (Fleet Air Arm)
- Date of Birth: 14th August 1920
- Date of Death: 17th January 1941
- How Died: Killed on Active Service
- Location in War Cloister: Inner A2
- Decoration: NA
- Burial Site: Commemorated on Panel 2, Bay 2 of the Lee on Solent Memorial