Eric Riddle 061118 CREDIT SWNS

Pensioner Lays Poppies On 100 War Memorials

Eric Riddle will lay his final wreath on the war memorial that bears his grandfather's name.

Eric Riddle 061118 CREDIT SWNS

Eric Riddle standing in front of a local war memorial (Picture: SWNS).

A 67-year-old pensioner has travelled hundreds of miles laying poppies on 100 war memorials in the run up to Remembrance Day.

Eric Riddle was inspired to lay the poppies after visiting Ypres last year – 100 years after his young grandfather died there.

Mr Riddle thinks he has travelled a total of 350 miles across his native Hertfordshire and the endeavour has helped him raise £5,390 for the Royal British Legion.

War Memorial in Hertfordshire 061118 CREDIT SWNS
One of the war memorials visited by Eric Riddle (Picture: SWNS).

"On the 100th anniversary of the end of World War One, I thought it would be a fitting tribute to honour all those who gave so much,” Mr Riddle said.

“I painstakingly looked up every town and village, and to my relief more or less every one has a memorial.

"Since I started the journey, I've religiously read every single name on the war memorials.

"Personally, I believe there were many acts of bravery not recognised, and they were all heroes."

His grandfather, Private James Riddle, was wounded during the Battle of Passchendaele and died from his wounds weeks later.

He was just 27 years old and it is not known whether he met his young son – Mr Riddle’s father – who was not even a year old at the time.

The former teacher has also learnt about many personal stories on his travels:

“In the small village of Kelshall, seven men with the surname Sole made the ultimate sacrifice.

"You wonder whether they were all brothers, or if they were a father and his six sons, and try to imagine how the women coped with so many losses in just one family."

"In the village of Newsells, nearly all the men died, and the village ceased to exist," he added.

Other locations he visited included St Paul’s Walden, where the Queen Mother was christened and one of her brothers is named on the memorial inside the church.

Mr Riddle expects to finish his pilgrimage on Armistice Day, when he will lay a wreath at Ware War Memorial, on which his grandfather James Riddle is named.