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.
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.
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.
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
Date of Death:11/04/1917
Regiment:The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment
Grave Reference:A. 17.
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