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Born: 1894, Idle
Died: 3 May 1917
Parents: James & Sarah, nee Clayforth
Siblings: seven
Occupation: Drapery salesman
Rank: L Cpl
Rolls of Honour: Eccleshill, Park & St Luke’s; Arras Memorial
Regiment: Duke of Wellington’s
Henry Briggs
Henry Briggs (aka Harry) was born in 1894 in Idle the son of James Briggs and Sarah, nee Clayforth who had 1878. James and Sarah had eight children, Elizabeth, Anne, Joseph, Mary, Walter, James, Harry and Stanley. By 1901 the family were living at 64 Ley Fleaks Road and James was a Fent dealer on his own account. In 1911 the family had moved to 51 Norman Drive, Eccleshill, and Henry’s mother Sarah was now a widow, James having died in 1909 aged 62 years. Harry was a salesman in drapery and well-known in the Idle and Eccleshill district as a baritone
vocalist, being a member of the Idle Congregational Church and also the Eccleshill Glee Union. His sister Annie was a music teacher. Harry enlisted on the 8th March 1916 as Private 306574 in the Duke of Wellington Regiment where he received machine gun training. At some point during his service he was promoted to Lance Corporal 4079 and he served on the Western Front. His Regiment landed in France in January 1917 and was involved in the spring offensive of 1917 known as the Battle of Arras, a principle offensive undertaken by the British at the Scarpe Valley near Arras.
Two failed attacks had already taken place, the first on the 9-14th of April, the second on the 23-24th April and the third took place on the 3rd of May. However the British army was unable to make any significant advances and the attack was called off the following day after incurring heavy casualties. Harry was one of four casualties who died this day whose names are recorded on the War Memorial in St Luke’s Church, Eccleshill. On the 15th of May 1917 a letter was sent to his mother Sarah from the Territorial Force Record Office informing her that Henry had been killed in action on the 3rd of May
and that information of his burial would be communicated to her at a later date. Harry is either buried or remembered at the Arras Memorial in the Western part of the town of Arras where the names of 35,492 men who fell in the Battles of Arras from the spring of 1916 until the 7th of August 1918 are recorded and who have no known grave. Harry left his effects to his mother who received £3. 17. 3d on the 20th August 1917 and the War Gratuity of £4. 0. 0d on the 31st October 1919. Researched and written by Jean Britteon, to whom many thanks.
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