Organisations/clubs: Idle RUFC; Idle Working Men’s Club
Medals/awards: Military Medal
Rolls of Honour:
Regiment: West Yorkshire
He enlisted by lying about his age in 1914 (he was 17).He was shot in the head in the Dardanelles where he was strapped to a canon wheel for refusing to urinate on a piece of cloth that acted as a gas mask. He was one of only 150 of his 1,000-man regiment who survived the bloody Battle of the Somme (where he went temporarily missing in action because he was partially buried in a shell hole).He was also gassed in France, where he got trench feet. Later in the war he won the Military Medal for rescuing an American tank crew trapped in the mud of a French field.
I wrote a story about him in our newspaper in Washington State, U.S., (I emigrated in 1958) on the 60th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme. MarriedDad married my mother, Alice Peel, in the 1920s, and moved to 13 Rawson Square, Idle, a few years later. He worked at Esholt until he retired; was a life-long member of Idle Working Men's Club; had a mother (Hannah Raistrick) who lived down Butt Lane, Idle. We moved to Moorhouse Ave., Five lane Ends about 1947 and he died at the age of 87 in 1984.
Pte J Briggs of the Duke of Wellington’s Regt, of 23 Butt Lane, Idle, joined the colours immediately after the outbreak of war and when only 17 years of age.He was one of the first in Idle to respond to the call of King and country.He fought at the Dardanelles, where he received a shrapnel wound in the body. He was formerly a prominent member of the Idle rugby team and very popular among his fellows.30 June 1916
Pte James Briggs, Duke of Wellington’s Regt, whose parents reside at 23 Butt Lane, Idle, is reported missing from October 12th.Pte Briggs is 19 years of age and after serving at the Dardanelles, was invalided home, afterwards being drafted out to France.Naturally Mrs Briggs is anxious about the welfare of her son and would welcome any news concerning him.10 November 1916
Early research produced two cuttings about James’s war experiences
But then we heard from Wanda Jack Briggs, James’s daughter who now lives in Washington State, USA, and she was able to fill in more details