1885 - 1916
CPL David Wallace Crawford
1887 - 1916
Lce-Corpl John Joseph Nickle
1894 - 1916
Pte 17911 Morton Neill
1897 - 1916
Lieut Edward Stanley Ashcroft
1883 - 1918
2nd Lieut David Moore Riddell
- Age: 25
- From: Belfast
- Regiment: The King's (Liverpool Regiment) 17th Btn
- Died Sunday 23rd September 1917
- Commemorated at: Belfast City Cem
Panel Ref: G.34
David Moore Riddell was born in 1892 at Belfast, Ireland and was the son of Henry and Mary Jane Riddell. He had siblings; Eleanor Bell b.1881, William b. 1882 and James Russell b.1884.
The 1911 Census shows the family living at Maryville Park, Antrim. His father Henry aged 59, born in Belfast in 1852 occupation Civil Mechanical Engineer ME. His mother, Mary Jane aged 53, was born in Belfast in 1858. They have been married for thirty one and have three children declared on the record all of whom were born in Belfast, William aged 29, born 1882 is a University Lecturer M.A. in Biology, James Russell aged 27, born 1884 University Lecturer M A in Mathametics AND David Moore is an engineering student. They have a servant Susan Black aged 20, born 1891 in County Tyrone living with them. The family gave their religion as Wesleyan Methodist.
David attended Queens University Belfast and graduated with a BSC in Engineering.
It is not certain when he first joined the Army, but he was commissioned into the 16th Battalion of the King’s Liverpool Regiment, he was gazetted on 11th December 1914, and arrived at 30th Infantry Base Depot in France, on 29th June 1916. He was then posted to the 17th Battalion and reported for duty on 3rd July 1916,when it was stationed in the newly captured former German position known as Dublin Trench, on the Somme. This was just after the beginning of the Somme Battle and the Battalion’s successes South of Montauban. He was only with the Battalion for just over a week when he received wounds which would lead to his death over a year later.
The action concerned was the fighting for Trones Wood, which took place between the 10th and 12th July 1916. The wood was virtually impenetrable, being full of dense trees and shrouded in course thickets. By July 10th the Germans, having lost Montauban, had fortified it instead with trenches and machine gun posts. They also knew its range to the inch, and could shell any part of it.
At 08.00am on the morning of the 10th,’A’ Company of the 17th Battalion was lent to the 90th Infantry Brigade foe an attack on the wood. This attack took place at 14.30,to relive troops of the Brigade, who were dug in at the woods edge. It was met with extremely fierce machine gun fire from well prepared positions just inside the wood, and the attack faltered. In the evening, another attack was made against the same positions which also failed. Next morning the 2nd Battalion The Bedfordshire Regiment was sent to clear the wood. Its men also found the enemy well dug in and suffered casualties from sniper and machine gun fire, and they were soon pinned down. After a strong German assault, which forced the Bedford’s back, two Companies of the 17th were sent into the wood to mount a counter attack. This succeeded in establishing a strong point in the south east corner of the wood, from which further attacks could be made. The Battalion was withdrawn from the wood on 12th July, after having lost two officers and forty seven other ranks Killed, or died from wounds, and five officers and seventy nine other ranks wounded, with a further twenty eight missing. Some of these latter inevitably, would eventually figure in the tally of those who died.
David was one of the wounded officers, having being shot in the left arm and leg, probably by Machine-gun fire. He was taken back from the front line and was first admitted to No. 96 Field Hospital, on 12th July 1916,and then on the same date, transferred to No. 21 Casualty Clearing Station at Corbie. The following day he was put on an ambulance train and taken to No.2 British Red Cross Hospital. On July 19th 1916,he was transferred to the United Kingdom, on board the Hospital Ship ‘Salta’.
Although under the care of the surgeons for the next year, on 23rd September 1917,he died from acute blood poisoning.
The book Officers Died in the Great War does not list his death as being from wounds, however, merely records that he died. It also lists his Battalion as the 16th King’s Liverpool Regiment, and so presumably his transfer to the 17th Battalion, can not have been confirmed before his wounding.
News of his death was reported in the press:
THE LATE SECOND-LIEUTENANT RIDDELL
At the monthly meeting of the Belfast Corporation yesterday, the Lord Mayor, Councillor James Johnson said before they proceeded with the ordinary business he thought he would be expressing the feelings of the council when he said they sympathise most sincerely with one of their colleagues, Councillor Riddell, in the loss he had sustained through the death of his son Second Lieutenant David M. Riddell, of the King's Liverpool Regiment. Second Lieutenant Riddell had died from wounds received while serving his country, and the Council would like to express their sympathy with his parents in their deep sorrow. The members of the Council endorsed the Lord Mayor's remarks by standing.
Councilior Riddell said when his son offered himself for the service of his country in 1914 he did so eagerly but deliberately. War had no attraction for him but he thought it was the duty of every man to assist in defending his country; so when the call came he counted the cost and thought no sacrifice too great. He was greatly interested in the work in which he was employed at the City Hall previous to the war, and in almost his last breath he inquered about his friends there.
His funeral was also reported:
FUNERAL OF SECOND-LIEUT. RIDDELL
Yesterday the funeral took place at the City Cemetery of Second Lieutenant David Moore Riddell, Liverpool Regiment , youngest son of Councillor Harry Riddell, Belfast, who died on Sunday at the Officers Hospital, Dublin, from the effects of blood poisoning. He was wounded in action on the 12th of July 1916 and had been under medical care since that date. The remains arrived in Belfast by the Dublin train and were met at the Great Victoria Street Terminus by a large company of mourners, which included the High Sheriff (Alderman Tougher). The chief mourners were father, Councillor Henry Riddell, and brother James, uncle Dr R. M. Moore, and cousin Alexander Riddell. Mr. W. Rankin attended on behalf of Queen's University OTC, through which the deceased officer had received his commission in 1914. The funeral was accorded full military honours, the guard firing party and band were drawn from the Royal Irish Rifles. The service at the graveside was conducted by the Rev. Wesley Roddie, and the final rites concluded with the firing of three volleys over the grave and the sounding of the "Last Post." The arrangements in connection with the funeral were satisfactorily carried out by the firm of Messrs. Thomas Johnson and Sons Ltd, Bedford Street. Yesterday the members of three corporation committees - Works, Cemeteries and Parks, and Tramways, express sympathy with Councillor Henry Riddell in the loss he had sustained by the death of his son.
He now rests at Belfast City Cemetery, Ireland.where the inscription on his headstone reads:
IN LOVING MEMORY OF DAVID MOORE RIDDELL BSc 2nd LIEUT. KING’S (LIVERPOOL) REGT. DEARLY LOVED YOUNGEST SON OF HENRY RIDDELL OF BELFAST WOUNDED AT TRONES WOOD 12TH JULY 1916 DIED IN CONSEQUENCE OF WOUNDS IN THE OFFICERS HOSPITAL DUBLIN 23RD SEPTEMBER 1917 AGED 25 YEARS
SWEET AND PLEASANT IN HIS LIFE
He is also remembered on Ireland’s memorial records 1914-1918 and Queens University, Belfast.
Soldiers Effects went to his father Henry Riddell.
His father died on 30th January 1923 and his mother on 15th February 1947. They rest with their son.