Harold Wilson William RIDDELL DCM

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RIDDELL, Harold Wilson William

Service Number: 2371
Enlisted: 13 July 1915, Melbourne, Victoria
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 6th Light Trench Mortar Battery
Born: Violet Town, Australia, 23 July 1890
Home Town: Port Fairy, Moyne, Victoria
Schooling: Port Fairy State School, Victoria, Australia,
Occupation: Auctioneer's clerk/Farm labourer
Died: SW body, arms, legs & head , In front of Villers Bretonneaux, France, 23 July 1918, aged 28 years
Cemetery: Crouy British Cemetery, Crouy-sur-Somme
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Neerim War Memorial
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World War 1 Service

13 Jul 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 2371, 21st Infantry Battalion, Melbourne, Victoria
29 Sep 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 2371, 21st Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
29 Sep 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 2371, 21st Infantry Battalion, RMS Osterley, Melbourne
22 Jul 1918: Wounded AIF WW1, Private, SN 2371, 6th Light Trench Mortar Battery, "Peaceful Penetration - Low-Cost, High-Gain Tactics on the Western Front"

Help us honour Harold Wilson William Riddell's service by contributing information, stories, and images so that they can be preserved for future generations.

Biography contributed by John Edwards

"...2371 Private Harold Riddell DCM, 6th Australian Light Trench Mortar Battery from Port Fairy, Victoria. A 25 year old farm labourer prior to enlisting on 13 July 1915, he embarked for overseas with the 5th Reinforcements from Melbourne on 29 September 1915 aboard RMS Osterley. On 14 December 1916 he was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM) for bravery when he heard a bomb fusing in a full magazine and threw it over the parapet where it exploded, saving the rest of the bombs in the magazine from also exploding. He was wounded in action on 22 July 1918 and died the next day. Pte Riddell is buried in the Crouy British Cemetery, Crouy-Sur-Somme, France." - SOURCE (www.awm.gov.au)

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Biography contributed by Evan Evans

From RSL South Australia

This evening we remember the service and sacrifice of 2371 Private Harold Wilson William Riddell, 6th Australian Light Trench Mortar Battery, of Port Fairy, Victoria, who died of wounds in France on this day in 1918, aged 28. He was buried at the Crouy British Cemetery, Crouy St Pierre, Amiens, Picardie, France.

One light trench mortar battery was allocated to each infantry brigade in the AIF on the Western Front. Each battery was equipped with eight Stokes mortars, the first modern mortar, a simple and relatively portable indirect-fire weapon, much used in the trench warfare of the Western Front. The high angle-of-fire of a mortar is well-suited to attacking trenches. At full establishment strength, a battery was made up of fifty men of all ranks.

The trench mortar batteries were not always popular with their infantry brothers, as their presence in the trenches usually resulted in enemy counter-battery fire, which affected all and sundry.
Twenty members of the 6th Australian Light Trench Mortar Battery died as a result of their service in World War I.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
Lest we forget.
Ian Smith
Chair
Anzac Day Committee

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