John Riddell

Information about birth

Year of birth:
Place of birth:
Lithgow, New South Wales, Australia

General information


Army information

Australian Imperial Force
Lance Corporal
Service number:
Enlistment date:
Enlistment place:
Lithgow, New South Wales, Australia
 —  Australian Infantry, 18th Bn. (New South Wales)  (Last known unit)

Information about death

Date of death:
Place of death:
Anzac, Belgium
Cause of death:
Killed in action (K.I.A.)


Buttes New British Cemetery, Polygon Wood
Plot: XXV
Row: C
Grave: 20

Distinctions and medals 2

Points of interest 3

#1 Place of birth
#2 Enlistment place
#3 Place of death (approximate)

My story

John Riddell a miner from Lithgow, New South Wales, enlisted in October 1915, at the age of 21. About a year later he proceeded to the Western Front and was promoted to Lance Corporal. John joined the 18th Battalion Australian Infantry, 5th Brigade, 2nd Australian Division. In November 1916 he was admitted to the hospital in Rouen with Trench Feet.

On 20th September 1917 the 18th Battalion took part in the Battle of the Menin Road. The attack of the 5th Brigade, from the Westhoek Ridge towards Zonnebeke, was carried by the 20th Battalion. The 18th Battalion was in support, and the 17th and 26th Battalions were in reserve. The Allied artillery barrage gave the troops good coverage and they were able to swiftly advance. The attack went well although the 20th Battalion met some resistance to their left from a line of concrete artillery shelters. They managed, nonetheless, to reach the first objective, but they then came under heavy fire from two German pillboxes which had to be dealt with immediately to minimize further casualties. When the first objective had been consolidated the 18th battalion took over the attack to the second objective line, taking ANZAC House and Iron Cross redoubt. They were then forced to advance on and take Garter point to stop German Sniping on Allied forces who were trying to consolidate the second objective line. The third and final objective line was later also reached and taken with relative ease, and they were able to successfully hold on to it. The attack, overall, was a success.

Lance Corporal John Riddell, 23, was killed in action on the 20th of September 1917. He was initially buried near the ANZAC house (28.J.a.10.70). His remains were reinterred in Polygon Wood Cemetery after the war.

Files 1

Sources 7

Australian War Memorial
Sources used
Australian War Memorial, War Diaries
Sources used
Sources used
Mc Carthy C., Passchendaele Day-by-Day account, Unicorn Publishing Group, 2018, London, pp. 82-83.
Sources used
National Archives of Australia
Sources used
The AIF Project
Sources used
The Long Long Trail
Sources used