Roll of Honour


James Keppie Riddoch


James Keppie Riddoch was born in Glasgow on the 29th August 1888, and was the only son of Major and Mrs D. S. Riddoch. The family lived at 5 Eton Terrace (now 49 Oakfield Avenue), and James was educated at the High School of Glasgow, where he was successful both academically and as a member of the school's Cadet programme. After leaving school, he enrolled as a day student of the Glasgow and West of Scotland Technical College (known from 1912 as the Royal Technical College, now the University of Strathclyde), where he studied Civil Engineering from session 1904-05 to session 1906-07. He was an excellent student, achieving first-class certificates of merit for almost every subject taken in his second and third years. He qualified for the Diploma in Civil Engineering in 1907, thus becoming an Associate of the College.

Memorial chapel at the University of Glasgow
The Memorial Chapel at the University of Glasgow

In 1906, James matriculated at the University of Glasgow, in the Faculty of Science. He attended classes in Mathematics, Natural Philosophy and Chemistry in his first year, and joined the University's Officers' Training Corps. During the following two years, he took classes in Applied Higher Maths, Electrical Engineering I, Engineering III and Engineering and Drawing. In session 1908-1909, his final year, he supplemented his University studies with an evening class in Mechanics of Structures III at the College. James graduated with the degree of Bachelor of Science in Engineering, awarded with Special Distinction in Physical Laboratory, on the 12th April 1909.

James subsequently became an Assistant Civil Engineer with the Clyde Trust, and was gazetted to the Scottish Rifles in 1911 as a Second Lieutenant. In 1912, he gained a position at the Admiralty Civil Engineering Works Department, H. M. Dockyard, Portsmouth, and joined the Hampshire Regiment as a result.

When war broke out, James' military experience made him a desirable recruit, and within two months of the beginning of the war he sailed for India. He was to spend the next four years on the Eastern Front, firstly as a representative of his regiment for probationary Staff Training, and then as second-in-command at the Officers' Training School at Bangalore. From September 1917 he served in Mesopotamia on the Tigris and Euphrates, acting as the Adjutant of his Battalion - and on one occasion taking it into battle. Captain James Keppie died on the 17th October 1918 of influenza.

James was a much admired member of both the army and the Kelvinside United Free Church congregation. In a long and moving memorial to him, he is described as having "a frank and energetic personality", which "won him a wide circle of friends among old and young". His death is described as tragic due to the fact that "his friends had not seen him for fully four years, that the fighting in Mesopotamia [was] almost over, and that he and all who knew him were looking forward, on his return, to his happy marriage". James is remembered by his Church, by the High School of Glasgow, on the Roll of Honour of the Royal Technical College of Glasgow, and on the University of Glasgow Roll of Honour.