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The Papers of Robert Ryder

Reference Code: GBR/0014/RDER

Scope and Contents

Signals from the raid on St Nazaire


  • 1942

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for consultation by researchers using Churchill Archives Centre, Churchill College, Cambridge.

Conditions Governing Use

Researchers wishing to publish excerpts from the papers must obtain prior permission from the copyright holders and should seek advice from Archives Centre staff.

Biographical / Historical

Robert Ryder was born in India, 16 February 1908, the son of Charles Henry Dudley Ryder and Ida Josephine Grigg. He was educated at Hazelhurst School, Frant, and Cheltenham College. He married Constance Hilarie Myfanwy Green-Wilkinson, 1941, with whom he had one son and one daughter.

He served in the Royal Navy, 1926-50. He was a Midshipman in the battleship HMS Ramillies, 1927-9, and a Lieutenant in the submarine HMS Olympus in China, 1930-3. He was also an explorer, captaining the ketch Tai-Mo-Shan on a 16, 217 mile voyage from Hong Kong to Dartmouth via the Panama Canal, 1933-4, and taking part in the British Graham Land Expedition to the Antarctic, in command of the three-masted schooner Penola, 1934-7. He was Lieutenant Commander in the battleship HMS Warsprite; he served with the force of decoy or Q-ships, 1940; he was Commander of the frigate HMS Fleetwood, 1940; he captained the Prince Philippe, which sank after a collision in the Firth of Clyde, 1941; and he was Naval Liaison Officer on the staff of GOC Southern Command at Wilton House, near Salisbury, 1941-2. He led the naval forces in Operation Chariot, the raid on the dry dock at St Nazaire, 27-28 March 1942, and took part in Operation Jubilee, the attack on Dieppe, 19 August 1942. He was promoted to the rank of Captain, 1949, and served as Naval Attaché in Oslo, 1948-50. On retiring from the Navy, he was elected Conservative Member of Parliament for Merton and Morden, 1950-5. He died during a sailing trip to France, 29 June 1986.

He was awarded the Victoria Cross (gazetted 21 May 1942), the Polar Medal with clasp, the Legion of Honour and the Croix de Guerre.

His publications include: "The Attack on St Nazaire" (1947) and "Coverplan" (1953).


1 file(s)

Language of Materials


Other Finding Aids

A copy of this finding aid and catalogue is available for consultation at Churchill Archives Centre, Cambridge and the National Register of Archives, London.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The papers were given to Churchill Archives Centre by Robert Ryder, 1977.


This collection (fonds) level description and catalogue was prepared by Sophie Bridges, September 2003. Information was obtained from "Who Was Who 1981-1990" (A and C Black) and John Winton, "The Victoria Cross at Sea" (1978). The (fonds) level description was updated by Philip Cosgrove, May 2013.


Ryder, Robert Edward Dudley, 1908-1986, Captain

2003-08-05 17:36:12+00:00
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Churchill Archives Centre Repository

Churchill Archives Centre
Churchill College
Cambridge Cambridgeshire CB3 0DS United Kingdom
+44 (0)1223 336087