World War 1

Search the known records to date of those lost from the wider Alnwick area in World War 1

Generally showing where they are commemorated, when they died and some basic facts about each person. There are gaps, however, so if you can fill in any missing details do please contact us.

James Foster Riddell

James Foster



Service Number:


Commander, Northumberland Infantry Brigade (later 149th Infantry Brigade [Northumberland]), 50th (Northumbrian) Division



Tyne Cot Cemetery

Service History:
First commissioned as an Officer in the Northumberland Fusiliers in 1881 & served in campaigns in Africa between 1888 & 1902.

When WW1 broke out in August 1914 Riddell was appointed to command what became the 149th Infantry Brigade, which was made up of the Territorial Battalions of the Northumberland Fusiliers, including many local men in the 7th (Alnwick) Battalion. Initially the Brigade was tasked with guarding the North-East coast but after the regular army suffered heavy losses in the opening battles of the war the Territorials were sent to war. The Northumberland Brigade went in mid-April 1915 & were put in reserve near Ypres.

On 22 April 1915, the German's unleashed poison gas for the first time in war & terrified French troops ran away rather than be choked, leaving a significant gap in the Allied lines & the threat of a German breakthrough & the loss of Ypres. The Northumberland Brigade was rushed to the front in commandeered London buses &, on 26 April, it was ordered to counter-attack alongside the Lahore Indian Division, from the village of St Julien, north of Ypres.

As the Northumberland Fusiliers pushed forward, they were exposed to very heavy machine gun & artillery fire. Although this prevented them from pushing the Germans back it helped to re-establish the line.

The cost was high, with over 2000 casualties, including many local men. Brigadier-General Riddell was one, hit in the head as he conferred with his officers at the Front line. He is buried with 11,871 British & Commonwealth soldiers at Tyne Cot CWGC Cemetery. He was 52 years old, & he had been on the Western Front only a week.
(Source: Dave Barras; 'The Warkworth General'; November 2011)

Born 17 October, 1861, the only son of the late John Riddell (5th in descent from the Rev. Archibald Riddell, 3rd son of Sir Walter Riddell, 2nd Baronet of Riddell, Roxboroughshire, Scotland), by his first wife, Jane, daughter of William Peppercorn.

Educated at Wellington & Sandhurst.

He married at St. Mary Abbots, Kensington, 12 April 1912, Margaret Christabel (of Lesbury House, Lesbury, Northumberland), daughter of the late Sir Henry Scott (well-know in Northumberland, & of Eilanreach, Invernesshire).
(Source: 'UK, De Ruvigny's Roll of Honour 1914-18'; Part 1; Page 305)

Local Memorial:
Lesbury, Memorial Plaque at St. Mary's Church Warkworth War Memorial, by St Lawrence's Church