The AIF Project

Frederick John BRIGGS

Regimental number16
Place of birthManilla New South Wales
SchoolHawarden Public School, Manilla District, New South Wales
ReligionChurch of England
AddressHawarden Post Office, Hawarden via Manilla, New South Wales
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation21
Next of kinBrother, T Briggs, Hawarden PO, Hawarden via Manilla, New South Wales
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date3 December 1915
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name33rd Battalion, A Company
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/50/1
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A74 Marathon on 4 May 1916
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll33rd Battalion
Other details from Roll of Honour CircularAwarded the Military Medal.
FateKilled in Action 29 September 1917
Place of death or woundingFrance
Age at death23
Age at death from cemetery records23
Place of burialNo known grave
Commemoration detailsThe Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial (Panel 23), Belgium

The Menin Gate Memorial (so named because the road led to the town of Menin) was constructed on the site of a gateway in the eastern walls of the old Flemish town of Ypres, Belgium, where hundreds of thousands of allied troops passed on their way to the front, the Ypres salient, the site from April 1915 to the end of the war of some of the fiercest fighting of the war.

The Memorial was conceived as a monument to the 350,000 men of the British Empire who fought in the campaign. Inside the arch, on tablets of Portland stone, are inscribed the names of 56,000 men, including 6,178 Australians, who served in the Ypres campaign and who have no known grave.

The opening of the Menin Gate Memorial on 24 July 1927 so moved the Australian artist Will Longstaff that he painted 'The Menin Gate at Midnight', which portrays a ghostly army of the dead marching past the Menin Gate. The painting now hangs in the Australian War Memorial, Canberra, at the entrance of which are two medieval stone lions presented to the Memorial by the City of Ypres in 1936.

Since the 1930s, with the brief interval of the German occupation in the Second World War, the City of Ypres has conducted a ceremony at the Memorial at dusk each evening to commemorate those who died in the Ypres campaign.

Panel number, Roll of Honour,
  Australian War Memorial
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: Frederick BRIGGS and Matilda WHYNDOM, his wife. Native of Kupit Station, Manilla, New South Wales

Military Medal

'On the night of 24th/25th February, 1917, in a raid on the enemy's trench, Private BRIGGS while acting as covering bomber for the wire cutters, was severely wounded in the right arm, but with great grit and determination he continued bombing with his left hand. He thus prevented the enemy, who were in readiness at the point of entry, from inflicting further casualties on our wire cutters, who were enabled to complete their work. His action contributed largely to the raiding party's success in entering the trench. The raiding party (drawn from 33rd Battalion) consisted of four Officers and 78 other ranks and entered the German trenches at PONT BALLOT, C.29.a.44.26 on 24th/25th February, 1917.'
Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 133
Date: 21 August 1917

Other details

War service: Western Front

Medals: Military Medal, British War Medal, Victory Medal

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