Walter Bertram Riggle

The following profile was researched and compiled by Candice L. Buchanan and Glenn J. R. T. Toothman III, for publication in "The Rain Day Boys: The Greene That Lay Near Grimpettes Woods" (2017). Learn more at

Birth: 30 October 1894 Aleppo Township, Greene County Pennsylvania

Parents: Lewis Perry Riggle and Nora Etta Kuhn

Residence at time of enlistment: Aleppo Township, Greene County, Pennsylvania (post office serving Aleppo was Cameron, West Virginia, which is in some sources listed as his location, but not to be confused with his actual residence in Aleppo)

Physical description: 5 feet 9 ½ inches tall, dark complexion, brown eyes, brown hair

Death: Killed in action 29 July 1918 Cierges, Picardie, France

Age at death: 23 years old

Last resting place: 4 June 1922 Centennial Cemetery, Aleppo Township, Greene County, Pennsylvania

Military rank: Serial No. 1241453. Lieutenant. Company K, 110th Infantry, 28th Division.

Witness account of death: Statement given by Sgt. James Kane. “Sergeant Walter Riggle was in charge of the platoon when he was hit in the leg and the leg broke. He turned the platoon over to Sergeant Waychoff and started back when he was wounded again and killed. I was in his platoon and saw him hit the first time and later saw him dead. This happened on the morning of July 29th 1918, between the Grimpette Woods and the Ourcq river.”

Additional information:

A young man with an interest in education, as well as athletics, Walter attended school in Aleppo, Wind Ridge, and Cameron, before going on to Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Greene County, Ohio. A star tackle on the football squad during his time at Cameron, he continued with the sport at Antioch and was able to travel the state with the team for games. Between these pursuits, Walter worked as a pumper for Wyoming Oil Company in AleppoThese activities contributed to a presence of mental and physical fitness that recommended Walter for officer’s training at Camp Hancock, Georgia. On 4 January 1918, Walter wrote a letter home from Camp Hancock to tell his father this news:

"I want to tell you about something, which I have never mentioned and I want you to mention it to absolutely no one. I was recommended some time ago by my platoon commander, at the request of my corporal, to the Co. commander for the officer training school. Later Capt. Montgomery recommended me to the division examining board, and they decided to give me a chance I guess for they summoned me over to Reg. headquarters this morning and started on the work. There are about 500 men from the Div. in the school and K Co., 110, has 8 of them. A larger number possibly than any other Co. here.


The school will last 3 months, ending April 5, and I guess we will catch the very hardest kind of work. So, do not be surprised if I do not write much.


I think I shall be able to get a furlough next April. Do not be surprised if I am wearing the gold hat cord and shoulder bars then, and on the other hand don't be too much disappointed if I fail. Any way I will give them -- and they can't say it was because I did not try."

Walter did not fail. He was promoted to Sergeant and held that rank at the time of his death. Posthumously, he was promoted to Second Lieutenant.

On 27 November 1918, Walter’s classmate from Antioch College wrote the following letter to Lewis Perry Riggle to express his grief at the loss of such a friend:

"Nov. 27, 1918.

My Dear Mr. Riggle,

I read in a recent edition of the Stars and Stripes, (a paper published for members of the A.E.F.) that November 24 would be father's day, and the boys should write to their father's. Having heard of Walter's death through a friend of mine from Antioch, I have decided to write to you.

Of course my letter cannot take the place of his letter, but I wanted you to know that my sympathy is yours. My heart aches for you in your loss. Words cannot express my feeling of sympathy and also my sorrow.

He was the dearest friend I had. He was a man of sterling qualities and I can never hope to find a friend such as he again. I was grieved beyond expression when I heard of his death. At first, I could not believe it, but as I read more of the letter the truth dawned on me.

Little did I think when Walter spent the Thanksgiving vacation with me two years ago, that the world war should call us to the colors and claim him a victim. He has given all to his country and humanity. My parents were pleased to have him and in the few days he spent in my home they learned to love him. In many letters, mother has asked about him. I know when she learns of his death she will be grieved also.

The greatest consolation to me is Walter's life was faultless. I know a side of his life which few if any knew. We worked and played together. He was my chum at Antioch and a man of better character I never knew.

Another consolation to me, is that death for such a clean life is only the opening of a way to a greater life, to a life in a land where sorrow is unknown.

Mr. Riggle I do not wish to bring you more sorrow by this letter. Possibly I should not have written.

We must remember our good Savior knows best and our dear Walter is in His great army now. The army which we all hope to join some day.

Sincerely yours,
Harry W. Farver
185 Air Squdn.
First Pursuit Group
American E. F.

News reached Greene County in December 1921, that Walter’s body would arrive in the United States that month. A January funeral was planned, but cancelled when the road conditions made it impossible for friends and comrades to reach the Riggle home and Centennial Cemetery. The final services and interment did not take place until Sunday, 4 June 1922, but the decision to wait was worthwhile. On 1 June 1922, the Waynesburg Republican announced the date and encouraged attendance of James Farrell Post No. 330 American Legion members, who were told, “All members of the James Farrell Post are earnestly requested to meet at the headquarters at 12 o'clock where automobiles will be provided for their transportation. Members who have automobiles are requested to bring them.” On the actual day, over 2,000 people came to remember Walter. The crowd was too large for the little country church, so services were held outside. Among those offering remarks were Col. Edward Martin and Captain Walter C. Montgomery, Riggle’s commanding officers. The tombstone, which marks Walter’s grave, bears an inscription that seems to speak for so many U.S. soldiers of that era. It says, simply, "It's my duty to go / and I'm going."

In 1934, Nora Etta K. Riggle, Walter's mother, was granted $10.00 a month for 20 months, as part of the Pennsylvania Veteran’s Compensation Act, on behalf of her son.


·          Association of the 110th Infantry, History of the 110th Infantry (10th Pa.) of the 28th Division, U.S.A., 1917-1919: a compilation of orders, citations, maps, records and illustrations relating to the 3rd Pa. Inf., 10th Pa. Inf., and 110th U.S. Inf. (Greensburg, Pennsylvania: Association of the 110th Infantry, 1920), 177.

·          "Body of Walter Riggle to be Placed in Vault" article, Waynesburg Republican, Waynesburg, Pennsylvania, 5 January 1922.

·          Centennial Cemetery (Aleppo Township, Greene County, Pennsylvania), Lieutenant Walter B. Riggle tombstone; read by Candice Buchanan and Glenn Toothman, 2008.

·          "Funeral Services of Lieut. Walter B. Riggle" article, Waynesburg Republican, Waynesburg, Pennsylvania, 1 June 1922.

·          Harry W. Farver (185th Air Squadron, First Pursuit Group, American Expeditionary Forces, France) to Lewis P. Riggle (Cameron, WV), letter, 27 November 1918; Lewis Perry and Nora Etta (Kuhn) Riggle Collection, privately held by Paula "Riggle" Whitfill, 2018. The letter has been passed down from Lewis Perry Riggle and his wife, Nora Etta (Kuhn) Riggle, to their son Karl Wayne Riggle and his wife, Anna Geraldine (Whipkey) Riggle, to their daughter, Marcene (Riggle) Schutz, to her niece, Paula (Riggle) Whitfill who presently owns and with her aunt Joyce (Riggle) Hoover collaborated to share the letter with the Greene Connections: Greene County, Pennsylvania Archives Project (

·          "Lieut. Walter B. Riggle Buried with Military Honors" article, Waynesburg Republican, Waynesburg, Pennsylvania, 8 June 1922.

·          "PA National Guard Veterans' Card File, 1867-1921," digital images, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC), Pennsylvania State Archives Records Information Access System ( viewed 12 November 2017), Walter B. Riggle, Private, Co K, 10th Inf., P. N. G.; citing Pennsylvania State Archives, series #19.135.

·          "Remains of Another Former Company K Boy Arrives from Over Seas" article, Waynesburg Republican, Waynesburg, Pennsylvania, 22 December 1921.

·          "United States, Army Transport Service Passenger Lists 1910-1939," digital images, ( : accessed 14 October 2017), Walter B. Riggle entry, line 16, page 30 (stamped), Ausonia, box 373; citing Lists of Outgoing Passengers, 1917-1938. Textual records. 255 Boxes. NAI: 6234477. Record Group Title: Records of the Office of the Quartermaster General, 1774-1985. Record Group Number 92. National Archives, College Park, Maryland.

·          "United States, World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918," digital images, ( : accessed 17 November 2017), Walter Burtrum Riggle draft card, serial no. 101, Local Draft Board, Aleppo, Greene County, Pennsylvania; citing National Archives microfilm publication M1509, FHL roll 1892940.

·          Walter Burtrum Riggle obituary, Democrat Messenger, Waynesburg, Pennsylvania, 6 September 1918.

·          Walter Riggle (Camp Hancock, Georgia) to L. P. Riggle (Cameron, WV), letter, 4 January 1918; Lewis Perry and Nora Etta (Kuhn) Riggle Collection, privately held by Paula "Riggle" Whitfill, 2018. The letter has been passed down from Lewis Perry Riggle and his wife, Nora Etta (Kuhn) Riggle, to their son Karl Wayne Riggle and his wife, Anna Geraldine (Whipkey) Riggle, to their daughter, Marcene (Riggle) Schutz, to her niece, Paula (Riggle) Whitfill who presently owns and with her aunt Joyce (Riggle) Hoover collaborated to share the letter with the Greene Connections: Greene County, Pennsylvania Archives Project (

·          "WWI Veterans Service and Compensation Files, 1917-1919, 1934-1948," digital images, ( : accessed 5 November 2017), Nora Etta K. Riggle, mother of Walter B. Riggle - application no. 290123; citing World War I Veterans Service and Compensation File, 1934–1948 (RG 19, Series 19.91), Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC), Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.