‚ÄčRoyton Roll of Honour

Joseph Briggs was born in Harrogate in 1877 to parents Joseph&Jane.His father was a stonemason by trade and Joseph William followed in his fathers' footsteps. When he was 5 or 6 years old the family moved to Oldham.Along with Joseph William the other children at that time were David,John & George.Elizabeth and Sam followed once they were in Oldham.
Joseph married Anne Ellen Foster at the United Methodist Church on King Street,Oldham in 1903 and together they had five children together - John,Jane,Joseph,Lillie & Nellie. At some point between 1911 and Lillie's birth (1914) they moved to Royton and settled on Union Street.
Joseph won the Military Medal in 1917. It's not yet known for what action or the date on which it occurred but his award is mentioned in the London Gazette of March 26th,1917. A little over two weeks after that he was killed in action along with 72 other men of the 10th battalion of the Loyals.
The Battle of Arras was into it's third day on April 11th 1917 when (following extracts from the Battalion War Diary):

11th April 05:00:

The Battalion having previously got into position for such advance, almost immediately came into full view of the enemy and was met with very heavy machine gun and shell fire.

05:30:
We received orders not to advance until barrage opened. By this time, we had carried by assault, the enemy trench in front (east of Sunken Road) and were establishing ourselves in shell holes 100 yards further east.It was at this time that Captain Peskett, 2nd Lieutenant Ibbotson and  2nd Lieutenant Goodman were killed.
During this assault, we suffered very heavy casualties and were being enfiladed from Monchy Le Preux. The right flank, perceiving that they were in the air and appreciating the fact that if it remained as such, there was a likelihood of their being outflanked, boldly determined to risk all and assaulted a small trench running southwards from Cambrai Road in the direction of Guemappe and about 30 yards east of Sunken road before mentioned.A tank apparently also appreciating the situation in a like manner, came to their aid.On obtaining possession of the trench, Corporal Leonard and Lance Corporal R. Dinwoodie and six men were all that was left. These eight men boldly bombed along the trench southward killing more than a dozen Bosche, taking three prisoners and found themselves in complete possession. To their almost surprise, seven Bosche officers miraculously appeared apparently from nowhere. This was not a time to stand on ceremony, whereupon the officers suffered the same fate as their men. Two machine guns were captured in this gallant assault, but as the new garrison were so weak in numbers and fearing that they might eventually be in their turn evicted, they blew them up.
These men retained possession of this trench as did also Captain Gravett, ably assisted by Second Lieutenant Deacon (being the only two officers now left) and CSM Webster with sixty men, made themselves masters of the situation of the corresponding trench running northwards from the Cambrai Road. Here the garrison remained throughout the day, although there were signs of the enemy massing for a counter attack from the south.It was about this time that Second Lieutenant Parker died after being badly wounded.The Commanding Officer and Adjutant, having collected enroute stragglers of all Battalions to the number of about fifty, arrived on the scene. By this time, and with the assistance of the these reinforcements, Captain Gravett was the complete master of the situation. From this time onwards, reinforcements of officers and men from other Battalions kept arriving.

13:50:
The Commanding Officer sent in a report to the General informing him that the situation had improved considerably and he had made plans for bombing parties to proceed along both sides the Cambrai Road and to attack the enemy trench after nightfall, which was about 300 yards in front of our line, as it was not deemed advisable at the moment to advance further, knowing full well that we were well in advance of all troops on our right and left, besides which in our present position we had command of a good field of view.During this period Second Lieutenant Deacon received two wounds, but would not desert his Captain or his men.About three hours after entering the trench, some of the 3rd Dragoon Guards, acting as Infantry, came up on their left. This gave them some breathing space.During this time men of the East Lancs and 10th L.N.Lancs oozed from shell holes and thickened the line of fire to our front line and could also enfilade the enemy on our right where the troops on that flank would advance further.

17:00:
We received orders that we would be relieved at 18:30hrs and immediately informed Captain Gravett to hold himself in readiness to be relieved. This relief was not completed until 01:00hrs. The men being in a very exhausted condition withdrew to Tilloy where we spent the remainder of the night.

Tilloy Wood - 12th April - 08:00:
Roll Call. Only a few of the brave fellows left. Our loses were estimated at 13 Officers and 286 men. That is over 60% of our fighting strength.

The other men of the 10th listed with the CWGC as dying that day are listed below.Two other men from the Oldham area were also killed,Ernest Daley from Chadderton and Herbert Cox of Werneth.

AINSWORTH ENOCH  Private  25362 BORN HINDLEY.LIVED GREAT HARWOOD                                           
ASPINALL ROBERT  Private 25746                                                                             
ATKINSON FREDERICK  20 Private 25237 SON OF MRS. RACHEL ATKINSON, OF BOLTON.                             
BARNETT  ALBERT Private 27630 FROM ST HELENS                                                              
BARRETT JAMES 21 Private 33804 FROM SWINDON. BROTHER WALTER ALSO FELL.   
BLEASE ROBERT 19 Lance Corporal 24683 SON OF ROBERT & ANNIE BLEASE, OF FARNWORTH                   
BOWDEN    ROBERT Private  203458  BORN MANCHESTER                                                          
BRADE  ISAAC  Private  31794                                                                             
BRIGGS  GORDON Private  33945  BORN DARWEN.LIVED BLACKBURN                                              
BUTLER W 28 Serjeant 13470 HUSBAND OF SARAH BUTLER, OF  PRESTON.                                        
BYROM HARRY  22 Private  31851 SON OF HARRY AND NANCY BYROM, OF  BLACKBURN.                             
CARDWELL LAWRENCE 22 Private 22615 SON OF HENRY AND REBECCA WILKINSON, OF KIRKHAM                        
CATLEY  FREDERICK 32 Private 33089 SON OF WILLIAM AND ELIZABETH CATLEY, OF LONDON.                       
CHESTER  RICHARD  33 Private  24022 SON OF MRS. MARY CHESTER, OF HORWICH                                   
CLARKE  HARRY Private  31993                                                                             
COLBERT  PATRICK  Private  2638 FROM WATERFORD                                                              
COOPER  SAM  27  Private  24626 SON OF MRS HANNAH COOPER, OF  BOLTON                                       
COSTELLO JAMES Private  22568                                                                             
COX  HERBERT  25 Private 25621 HUSBAND OF EVA COX, OF 16, LYNN ST., WERNETH, OLDHAM.                       
CURRIE ALLAN 23  Corporal 11195  SON OF JOHN AND MARY CURRIE, OF  BOLTON.                                 
DALEY ERNEST Private 203470  BORN LIVERPOOL.LIVED IN CHADDERTON                                           
DALEY GEORGE Private 22379  FROM LIVERPOOL                                                               
DAVIES  JAMES 23 Serjeant 15143  born Salford.Lived Manchester                                            
DAY  WILLIAM  Private  15353                                                                                 
DEVETO  ANTHONY  Private 23348                                                                             
DEWHURST JAMES Private    203436                                                                             
DINWOODIE  ROBERT  24 Lance Corporal  12621  SON OF MR. AND MRS. J. DINWOODIE, OF LIVERPOOL.          
ELLIOTT  ROBERT Private 32461                                                                             
ERWOOD  EDWARD 25 Private  33132 Born Bristol.Lived in Stoke Newington                                
FLEMMING JAMES  Private  25104                                                                         
FLETCHER ELLIS  Private  31938                                                                             
FOWLER    RICHARD Private  25539 from Bolton                                                              
GRIFFITHS G  24 Private 31884 HUSBAND OF MARY GRIFFITHS, OF CHORLEY, LANCS                             
GRIMSHAW FRANK 23 Corporal 12714 SON OF ROBERT AND ANN NORAH GRIMSHAW, OF CHORLEY                     
HADFIELD HERBERT Private 31860                                                                         
HAINES  ARTHUR  Private  35885                                                                             
HALL PERCY 21 Private  33836  SON OF MRS. JULIA WATSON, OF BRISTOL.                                    
HAMPSON  HERBERT  Private  31942                                                                             
HOOPER  THOMAS 20 MM Corporal 18116  SON OF ERNEST AND ELLEN HOOPER, OF PRESTON                           
HOWARTH PETER  37 Private  14585  SON OF JAMES AND MARGARET HOWARTH, OF  LITTLE HULTON                 
HUNT GEORGE  Lance Corporal  15968                                                                         
IBBOTSON  EDWIN  20 Second Lt. SON OF H&J  IBBOTSON, OF SOUTHPORT.ENLISTED IN CANADA
JACKSON  THOMAS Private 16759                                                                             
LANGMAID HENRY  19 Private    23351 BROTHER OF MR. F. E. LANGMAID, OF MANNINGTREE, ESSEX.                  
LEMON GEORGE  29 Private  33097 HUSBAND OF MARTHA LOUISA LEMON, OF HAMPSTEAD                         
LESTER  WILLIAM  28 Lance Corporal  31777  HUSBAND OF ELLEN LESTER, OF RAWTENSTALL                      
LONG GEORGE  21 Private  33851 FROM CHELTENHAM                                                      
LOVELL REGINALD 22 Private   33853  SON OF HERBERT HARRY AND MARY ANN LOVELL, OF  BRISTOL.               
LUPTON FRED 22 Private  31787  SON OF JOSEPH AND ANNA LUPTON, OF BURNLEY.                               
MAKIN HAROLD 21  Serjeant 12976 FROM ST HELENS                                                            
MASON EDWARD 21  Private  203475  SON OF JOHN W. AND CATHERINE MASON, OF LIVERPOOL.                        
MERCER  THOMAS  35 Private   25361 SON OF ROBERT AND BETTY MERCER, OF GREAT HARWOOD                     
McFARLANE WILLIAM  Lance Corporal  33927                                                                 
McPARTLIN EDWARD Private 12741                                                                             
PARKER  GEOFFREY Second Lieutenant                                                                         
PETTIGREW  THOMAS Lance Corporal 18466  BORN MANCHESTER.ENLISTED IN BOLTON                               
PHILLIPSON  RICHARD Private 27588 FROM PRESTON                                                  
RABY JOHN Company Serjeant Major  13660                                                                 
RENISON EDGAR 21 Private 32478  SON OF WILLIAM D. AND MARGARET E. RENISON, OF LIVERPOOL.                 
SALTS FREDERICK 27 Private 27628 SON OF MRS. MARTHA SALTS, OF  ST. HELENS                                
SELLERS WILLIAM 19 Private  22380 SON OF MRS. MARY AGNES SELLERS, OF OXFORD.                           
SHARP  W Private 35985                                                                                 
SHIPWAY PHILIP  22 Private 33880  SON OF THOMAS&JANE  OF BRISTOL.                                      
SWAIN HAROLD  23 Private 33916  SON OF MR. H. J. AND MRS. E. M. SWAIN, OF BATH.                      
TODD JOHN  23 Lance Corporal  33932  SON OF C. W. AND JANE TODD, OF SOUTHEND-ON-SEA.                  
TONG GEORGE  Lance Corporal  16835  FROM BOLTON                                                          
WALLIS GEORGE Private  33900                                                                             
WALLWORK  THOMAS Private 19163                                                                             
WARE RICHARD 21  Private  25915  SON OF RICHARD AND ELIZABETH WARE, OF PRESTON.                           
WATSON  KENNETH 22 Lieutenant SON OF CHARLES WATSON OF ANNAN                                             
WOOD GEORGE  Private  33141          
                                                               

JOSEPH WILLIAM BRIGGS
Age:39
Rank:Private
Service No:32467
Date of Death:11/04/1917
Regiment:The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment
Unit:10th Bn.
Awards:Military Medal
Cemetery:
Tank Cemetery
Grave Reference:A. 17.

this page is still under construction. If you have any information on Joseph or photographs of him or his gravestone please get in touch at roytonrollofhonour@gmail.com