2nd Battalion, Suffolk Regiment, 17th September 1915
Synopsis of Life and Military Service
Born in the second quarter of 1895 at Chelmondiston, near Ipswich, Suffolk, Harry Briggs was the eldest son of Frederick and Henrietta Briggs. Along with his siblings and his parents, they lived with Henry Briggs, his grandfather at 40 Ling’s Lane, Chelmondiston. In 1900, his father Frederick was accidentally killed when it is believed that he was crushed by a cart.
In 1905, his mother Henrietta remarried to a Frederick Leist, they continued to live in the same house in Chelmondiston and had four further children.
In the 1911 Census he is shown as being a Stock Boy on a farm.
Harry joined the 2nd Suffolk Regiment sometime in 1914 at Ipswich as a Private soldier, number 13110, his religion was shown as Church of England and after training he transferred to the France / Belgium Campaign arriving in France on the 26 January 1915. According to the War Diary, 2nd Suffolk Regiment were in trenches at Vierstraat, Belgium throughout the period January to May 1915 with periods in billets at La Clytte, Petit Bois and Westoutre, Belgium. During that time, there were numerous soldiers killed and wounded.
It has been ascertained that Harry Briggs was injured with severe wounds to his leg, likely caused by shrapnel sometime between the 16th and 20th June (See the War Diary below), this is based on the assumption that it would have taken around 7 to 10 days for him to have been transported from the Front via various Clearing Stations back to the UK where it is known that he was admitted to the Ipswich Hospital (Anglesea Road Military Ward) on 29 June 1915.
He was taken off strength of the 2nd Battalion and held in the Depot Battalion during his injury. Over his 80 day stay, his leg became gangrenous and, according to family stories, he begged the surgeons to cut it off. He was told the operation would kill him, so they didn’t and, in the end, he died of a Pulmonary Embolism.
He was buried at Chelmondiston (St.Andrews) Churchyard, Suffolk. His Pension and other monetary and personal belongings went to his mother Henrietta.
Diary for the 2nd battalion, Suffolk Regiment
Extracts from War Diary of 2nd Battalion, Suffolk Regiment for June and 1915.
Hooge – 16th June 1915
3rd Div attacked at 4:15 A.M. Railway wood & the trenches south of it & Y WOOD. 1. 11 – B & D got into the Y WOOD without any casualties & through it – consequently our own artillery shelled our men heavily as it had been calculated that it would take some time to get through. Worcesters were stopped by bombing about midway between Y WOOD & HOOGE.
About 10:00 A.M. portions of the KSLI & KRRs of the 14th Div began to arrive about Battn H.Q. they were supposed to do a fresh attack through our line – they none of them knew where they were & were scattered in odd half coys all the way back to YPRES. This was in no way their fault – as practically no guides had been provided & only 4 officers per battn had done a very short reconnaissance a few days previously – consequently the battns did not get up to the firing line till about 2.0 P.M. with the help of all our orderlies servants etc. to show them the way & suffered immense & unnecessary casualties through exposing themselves to artillery in known bad spots.
Sgt. L.Mills 9041 Pte W.Symonds 12059 Pte H Seeley 6620 Pte A Plumb 12815 Pte L Martin 15369 killed. 16 men wounded.
Hooge – 17th June 1915 – 2Lt H C N Trollope wounded by shrapnel in arm & foot. C.S.M. Barker killed. Twenty men wounded.
Hooge – 18th June 1915 – 2Lt G F Llarena killed by spinter from shell in Y WOOD also 6893 Cpl F Pryke 12836 Pte L Anderson and at night 2Lt J K Prentice killed by a bullet in the head while pulling our barbed wire near HOOGE & CSM McGough A.7738. More men wounded – Lt J J Thall and 2Lt Hartopp joined.
Hooge – 19th June 1915 – Two men wounded
Hooge – 20th June 1915 – Nine men wounded. Relieved by the Shropshires 14th Div.
Brandhoek – 21-22 June 1915 – In Bivouac (billets).
Brandhoek – 23 June 1915 – Brigade Sports
The 2nd Suffolks were not in action again until 4th July when 2 Coys moved into dugouts in Sanctuary Wood (A & B Coys).
Harry Briggs was born at Chelmondiston, Suffolk, in the second quarter of 1895.
His family is shown as follows :-
- Father – Frederick Briggs.
- Mother – Henrietta Mary Briggs or Leist, born c.1878 at Chelmondiston, Suffolk.
- Step-Father – Frederick Leist, born c.1876 at Needham, Norfolk – Coal Carter.
- Brother – David Briggs, born c.1898 at Chelmondiston, Suffolk.
- Sister – Eva Briggs, born c.1900 at Chelmondiston, Suffolk.
- Step-Brother – Nelson Leist, born c.1906 at Chelmondiston, Suffolk.
- Step-Sister – Elsie Leist, born c.1908 at Chelmondiston, Suffolk.
- Step-Brother – Freddie Leist, born c.1911
- Step-Sister – Mabel Leist, born c.1916
- Grandfather – Henry Briggs, born c.1830 at Wingfield, Suffolk.
- Harry Briggs resided at 40 Ling’s Lane, Chelmondiston, Suffolk.
Harry Briggs was awarded the 1914-15 Star, Victory and the British War Medals for his service in the Great War.
Harry Briggs is honoured and remembered on the Chelmondiston War Memorial, Main Road, Chelmondiston, Babergh, Suffolk.
Links to Additional Information
- Commonwealth War Graves Commission – Harry Briggs
- Lives of the First World War – Harry Briggs
- A Street Near You website – Harry Briggs
- Find a Grave – Grave of Harry Briggs at Chelmondiston
- Imperial War Museum – Chelmondiston War Memorial
- Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
- Medal Index Card.
- Medal Roll – Suffolk Regiment – Victory and British War Medal.
- Soldiers Died in the Great War.
- Register of Soldiers Effects.
- The National Archive – 2nd Suffolk Regiment War Diary.
- Pension Card.
- 1911 Census.
- 1901 Census.
- England and Wales Registration of Birth 1937 to 1915.
- Anglesea Rd Wing Ipswich Hospital Register & Index 1915-1916.
- Stephen Briggs (Relative)
- Vincent Stuart
- William Briggs (Relative)