(Service number 38931)
|First Rank||Private||Last Rank||Private|
|Date||23 September 1896||Place of Birth||Woodend, Canterbury, New Zealand|
|Date||5 October 1916||Age||20|
|Address at Enlistment||Waihao Downs, Waimate, New Zealand|
|Previous Military Experience||D Company, 2 South Canterbury Regiment|
|Next of Kin||John Briggs (father), Waihao Downs, Waimate|
|Religion||Church of England|
|Medical Information||5 foot 6 inches tall, weight 11 stone 2 lbs, chest 33 - 36 inches, medium complexion, blue eyes, lt brown hair, dentally fit|
|Served with||NZ Armed Forces||Served in||Army|
|Body on Embarkation||22nd Reinforcements, Canterbury Infantry Regiment|
|Unit, Squadron, or Ship||Canterbury Infantry Regiment, C Company|
|Date||16 February 1917|
|Embarked From||Wellington, New Zealand||Destination||Devonport, England|
|Other Units Served With|
|Last Unit Served With||2 Company Canterbury Infantry Regiment|
|Service Medals||British War Medal and Victory Medal|
Award Circumstances and Date
Prisoner of War Information
|Date of Capture|
|Where Captured and by Whom|
|Actions Prior to Capture|
|PoW Serial Number|
Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses
2 October 1917 - Gun shot wound to face - admitted to No3 Australian Field Ambulance, transferred to No12 Gen Hospital Rouen; 25 August 1918 - Gun shot wound to neck and compact fracture to spine - admitted 1st Australian General Hospital Rouen, transferred to Hospital Ship Guildford Castle; Died 28 August 1918 while in transit to England.
|Date||28 August 1918||Age||21|
|Place of Death||At sea crossing from France aboard the Hospital Ship Guildford Castle|
|Cause||Died of wounds|
|Memorial or Cemetery||Brockenhurst (St Nicholas) Churchyard, Hampshire, England|
|Memorial Reference||Plot A, Row 4, Grave 19|
|New Zealand Memorials||On Memorial wall, Timaru; Waimate First World War Memorial|
Joseph was born at Woodend, Canterbury, on 23 September 1896, the second son of a family of five boys and six girls, to John (1864-1941) and Mary Jane (nee Scoon, 1872-1941) Briggs. John had earlier emigrated out from Cumberland, England, and working as a farmer, when he married Mary Jane, born in Rangiora, at Woodend, Canterbury, in 1893. The family later moved to the Waihao Downs district, Waimate.
Joseph was working as a labourer on his father’s farm, when he enlisted at Waimate, aged 20, on 5 October 1916. He was described as being single, Anglican, 5 foot 6 inches tall, weighing 11 stone 2 lbs, his chest measuring 33 – 36 inches, of medium complexion, blue eyes, light brown hair and being dentally fit. He had also had had some service with D Company, 2 South Canterbury Regiment. He was posted to C Company, Canterbury Infantry Regiment and after initial training, was part of the 22nd Reinforcements which left on the Navua from Wellington on 16 February 1917, bound for Devonport, Devon, England. Further training followed at Sling Camp in England before being posted to 2 Company, Canterbury Infantry Regiment in France on 26 May 1917, where the Regiment was at Basseville, preparing for the attack on Passchendaele. He also undertook a short course at the School of Instruction from 11 July until returning to his unit on 19 August.
On 2 October 1917 near Passchendaele, Joseph received a gunshot wound to the face and was admitted to No 3 Australian Field Ambulance and later transferred to No 12 General Hospital at Rouen. By 30 November he was back with his unit at New Hutting Camp, which was half a mile south of Ypres. In December he had 2 ½ weeks leave in England before returning to Ypres on 7 February 1918. On 25 August during the battle of Bapaume, Joseph’s Battalion was involved in the capture of the town and the high ground to the east when he received further gunshot wounds to his neck and a compact fracture of his spine. After a short admittance to the 1st Australian General Hospital at Rouen, he was transferred to England aboard the hospital ship Guildford Castle. Unfortunately he died during the passage aboard ship on 28 August 1918. His body was then taken to Brockenhurst where he was buried in the St Nicholas churchyard in Plot A, Row 4, Grave 19 by New Zealand Chaplain the Reverend E.D. Rice.
After the war Joseph’s medals, the British War Medal and Victory Medal, plus a scroll and plaque were sent to his father at Waimate. His name is commemorated on the Waimate War Memorial Gates.
NZ BDM Historical Records at https://bdmhistoricalrecords.dia.govt.nz; Every Man Remebered at http://www.everymanremembered.org/search/results/?forenames=joseph&surname=briggs&nationality=4®iment=Canterbury+Regiment%2C+N.Z.E.F.&male=1&sortby=surname; New Zealand ANZACs in the Great War 1914-1918 at http://nzef.adfa.edu.au/search?type=search&name=®Num=38931&place=; NZ War Graves Project at http://www.nzwargraves.org.nz/casualties/joseph-briggs; Clare Church “New Zealand Graves Brockenhurst”, pages 178–180
- Great War Stories - Private Joseph Briggs - Timaru Herald 8 April 2017 (pdf, 76.0 KB updated 15-Sep-2017)
Researched and Written by
Carol Bell, SC branch NZSG & Timaru Herald; Ted Hansen, SC branch NZSG
Currently Assigned to
Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License unless otherwise stated.
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