This is part of a series of essays about the First World War casualties commemorated by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission in New Jersey.
George Albert Ruffridge (known as Albert) was born on 21 December 1892 in Cleveland, Ohio. He was the second of the two sons of George and Hattie Ruffridge who moved with the family to Montclair, New Jersey sometime in the first decade of the new century.
Like his father, Ruffridge worked as a salesman before he enlisted in Toronto on 21 November 1917 into the Royal Flying Corps for training as a pilot (152810 Cadet). After completing his initial training in Toronto and Texas, he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant on 6 April 1918, five days after the formation of the Royal Air Force, and joined No. 80 Canadian Training Squadron at Camp Bordon to complete his gunnery training.
On 6 May, Second Lieutenant Ruffridge was flying with Cadet Barker O’Leary, a Canadian who, like Ruffridge, had just returned from Texas, when their Curtis JN-4 went into a spinning nose dive and crashed; both men were incinerated.
His remains were returned home and he was buried in Rosedale Cemetery, Montclair. The grave, in a family plot where his parents are also buried, is marked with a private memorial. A Commonwealth War Graves Commission headstone has been delivered to the cemetery but has not been erected because permission from the family has not been secured. Ruffridge is one of three (two First World War and one Second World War) commemorations in the cemetery.
Second Lieutenant Ruffridge is commemorated on page 593 of the Canadian First World War Book of Remembrance; that page is displayed on 22 December. He is also commemorated on the impressive war memorial in Edgemont Park, Montclair.
His brother Falda served during the First World War as a First Sergeant in the United States Army.
Mike O’Neal for the photographs of Montclair Memorial.
1. (Back) George P Ruffridge (born Rohfrietch) (May 1859-1933) married Harriet M Warden (March 1865-1932) in Cuyahoga County on 5 October 1886: Falda Morrell (20 May 1891-10 August 1946).
2. (Back) Hugh Barker O’Leary was born on 16 September 1889 in Ops township, Victoria County, (now the city of Kawartha Lakes) Ontario. He lived and worked in Toronto before enlisting into the Royal Flying Corps on 5 November 1917 (152558 Cadet). He trained in Toronto and Texas before joining No. 80 Canadian Training Squadron. Cadet Hugh Barker O’Leary was buried in Mount Hope Cemetery, Toronto, in Section 3, Lot 155.
3. (Back) The grave is in Prospect Plot, Lot 134.