Thomas Irwin Earl Riddolls

Information about birth

Date of birth:
Place of birth:
Drayton, Wellington County, Ontario, Canada

General information


Army information

Canadian Expeditionary Force
Service number:
Enlistment date:
Enlistment place:
Guelph, Ontario, Canada
 —  Canadian Infantry, 2nd Bn. (Eastern Ontario)  (Last known unit)

Information about death

Date of death:
Place of death:
Hill 60, Zillebeke, Belgium
Cause of death:
Killed in action (K.I.A.)


Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial
Panel: Panel 18 J

Distinctions and medals 2

Points of interest 3

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

My story

Thomas was born in 1895 at Drayton, Ontario, to Elizabeth and Thomas H. Riddols, who lived on Main Street. He had four siblings, two brothers and two sisters. His mother died in 1906. When the War broke out, Thomas was still studying. He enlisted in January 1915 at Guelph, Ontario and was taken on by the 2nd Battalion (Eastern Ontario) at the end of the year.

In the days after the Battle of St. Eloi, the 2nd Battalion rotated in and out the frontline at Hill 60. On the 26th of April 1916 the German Artillery started shelling the area around Hill 60, Railway Cutting and Larch Wood. The bombardment was steadily increased and at about 6:30 pm a mine was exploded beneath Trench 42, along the Wervikstraat street, near Hill 60.

Immediately after the mine was exploded the Germans opened up a heavy bombardment on the rear trenches, preventing reinforcements to come up. The Germans attacked the crater with hand grenades and spades, but were eventually forced back by rifle- and artillery fire. Artillery fire also prevented the Germans from launching a full scale infantry attack. The line and the crater, remained in Canadian hands.

Though the 2nd Battalion, which defended the sector suffered heavy casualties; 44 men were killed and 116 were wounded. Ten men, who were in trench 42, when the mine exploded, went missing. They were buried alive. Thomas, 21, was one of them. His Circumstances of Casualty stated: "Whilst acting as a bomber at Hill 60, Zillebeke, the enemy sprung a mine immediately under his section and Private Riddolls and the comrades with him were blown up with the debris. It is believed that he was killed instantly.”

Thomas is remembered on the Menin Gate Memorial.

Sources 5

Kelsey Lindinger, Archivist Assistant Wellington County Museum and Archives, personal communication, 10 January 2023.
Sources used
Personnel Records of the First World War (Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa (LAC) RG 150, Accession 1992-93/166, Box 8268 - 26).
Sources used
War diaries: 2nd Canadian Infantry Battalion (Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa (LAC), RG9-III-D-3, Volume number: 4913, Microfilm reel number: T-10705, File number: 353).
Sources used
War Graves Registers: Circumstances of Death (Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa (LAC), RG 150, 1992-93/314; Volume Number: 233).
Sources used
War Graves Registry: Commonwealth War Graves (Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa (LAC): RG150, 1992-1993/314, Box 39-244; Box: 115).
Sources used