S1c Eugene Edward Riddell

Eugene Edward Riddell USS Arizona

S1c Eugene Edward Riddell

Eugene Edward Riddell was 23 and living at home with his parents and three youngest siblings southwest of Lexington, Kentucky when the Census was conducted in April 1940.

He had completed 8th grade and was working as an assistant field leader for a soil erosion project. Judging by his pay — $340 for 49 weeks of work in 1939 — he was employed by a federal Depression-era jobs program. Both his father and a younger brother found 30 weeks of work in 1939 — the father as a carpenter for $930, and the brother as a chauffeur for $450.

In October, Eugene Riddell enlisted in the Navy. He was a seaman first class on the U.S.S. Arizona when he was killed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941.

Mr. Riddell was born Jan. 14, 1917 in Estill County 40 miles southeast of Lexington to Dora Taylor Riddell, a homemaker, and Forrest Riddell, then a foreman on a railway bridge project.

By early 1920 the family had moved 20 miles more to the southeast to Sturgeon. 

His brother, Roland, also served in World War II, flying P-47 fighter planes.

Sources: The Lexington (Kentucky) Herald; the Fort Worth (Texas) Star-Telegram; Census; Navy muster roll; Kentucky birth index. This profile was researched and written on behalf of the U.S.S. Arizona Mall Memorial at the University of Arizona.

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