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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Tpr James RIDDOCH Household Batt died 04/01/1918

christine liava'a

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Remembering Today:

Tpr James RIDDOCH, 2334 Household Battalion, who died aged 22 on 04.01.18. Windmill British Cemetery, France


Initials: J

Nationality: United Kingdom

Rank: Trooper

Regiment: Household Battalion

Age: 22

Date of Death: 04/01/1918

Service No: 2334

Additional information: Son of William and Lillias Riddoch, of Weetyfoot, Grange Keith, Banffshire.

Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead

Grave/Memorial Reference: I. H. 21.


Monchy-le-Preux is a village about 7 kilometres south-east of Arras. Windmill British Cemetery lies to the south of the village on the north side of the main Arras-Cambrai road, the D939.

Historical Information: On 23 April 1917, in the Second Battle of the Scarpe, Infantry Hill (east of Monchy) and Guemappe (due south of Monchy) were captured by Commonwealth troops. Guemappe was lost the same day, but retaken almost at once, and further progress was made in the following days. In May, the 29th Division began this cemetery and buried in it a number of the dead of 23 April. It continued in use until March 1918, and was used again from August to October 1918. In Plot II, Rows D and E, are buried 23 officers and men of the 1st King's Own Royal Lancasters who died in the Battle of the Drocourt-Queant Line at the beginning of September. Windmill British Cemetery contains 402 Commonwealth burials and commemorations of the First World War. 35 of the burials are unidentified but there is a special memorial to one casualty believed to be buried among them. The cemetery was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens.

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The 4th January 1918 was, according to the War Diary of the Household Battalion, a quiet day. The hard frost was continuing, which made any work on the trenches almost impossible. The death of Trooper James Riddoch isn’t mentioned in the diary.

The Battalion had relieved the 1st Bn. Rifle Brigade in the right sub sector of the Cambrai Road sector (South-East of Monchy-le-Preux) the day before.

The Household Battalion was formally disbanded on 10th February 1918.

Trooper Riddoch was not the last member of the Battalion to be killed in action.

Trooper R.J.M. Dewar was killed on 31st Januari 1918. He is buried in Monchy British Cemetery.

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The original CWGC register says 'Killed in Action'.

SDGW gives...

Born: Belrephine

Enlisted: Aberdeen

Residence: Keith

'Died of Wounds'

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Guest Pete Wood

Weetyfoot was a farm. Today it is owned by the Strathdee family, and "we look after sheep. It would have been a sheep farm in WW1, too."

I spoke to Alan Riddoch who knows some of the family history: James, his cousins, Alec, John [Junior] and their father, John[senior] all enlisted - but "decided to join different regiments and battalions as they thought that this gave the family a better chance of surviving."

Only Alec came home. He farmed the land next to Weetyfoot, after the war. William was unable to look after Weetyfoot on his own, and moved away from the village not long after the war ended. Alan has no knowledge of this family's whereabouts today - or if James had any brothers or sisters.

Both John Riddoch and his son were in the Gordon Highlanders and Alan still has their medals and the telegram announcing the death of John [junior], his grandfather's brother. He has no photos, sadly.

The Riddochs, and other soldiers who died in WW1, are remembered with brass plaques in Grange Hall - as well as the small war memorial on the main road running through the village (situated between Inverness and Aberdeen).

There is a website, with a small photo of the war memorial at Grange History, a nice site run by the teacher of the local school.

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James Riddoch:

Born at 11:30hrs on May 4th 1895 at Newton, Glack, Botriphnie.

Father: William Riddoch

Mother: Lilly/Lillias Riddoch (maiden surname - Burgess)

1901 Census:

23 Limehellock (as best as I could make out) Cottages (Grange)

3 rooms with windows.

Name - Age - Occupation - Status

William Riddoch - 52 - Farmer - Employer

Lillias Riddoch - 29 - Wife

Maggie Riddoch - 9 - Scholar

William Riddoch - 7 - Scholar

James Riddoch - 5

Liby Riddoch - 3

John Riddoch - 2

Ada Mary Riddoch - 1 month

James' death is recorded at the General Register of Scotland (GROS) in:

GROS Data 130/AF 0029

District: Service & war Returns

County: Minor Records

There isn't an available on-line link to these records, but they can be purchased through the GROS.

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