A Collection of Medals to Great War Casualties

Date of Auction: 14th April 2021

Sold for £1,100

Estimate: £400 - £500

Three: Private W. Briggs, West Yorkshire Regiment, who was killed in action on the Western Front on the first day of the Battle of the Somme, 1 July 1916, on which date his battalion suffered over 750 officers and men killed or wounded, the greatest number of casualties to a single battalion on the first day of the Battle

1914-15 Star (21057 Pte. W. Briggs. W. York: R.); British War and Victory Medals (21057 Pte. W. Briggs. W. York. R.); Memorial Plaque (Willie Briggs) in card envelope, with Buckingham Palace enclosure, extremely fine (4) £400-£500


Willie Briggs was born in Pudsey, Yorkshire, and attested for the West Yorkshire Regiment in Leeds. He served with the 10th Battalion during the Great War on the Western Front from 2 September 1915, and was killed in action on the first day of the Battle of the Somme, 1 July 1916. On this date the Battalion was involved in an attack on Fricourt. Two companies moved forward at zero hour on the left of the assault, and cleared the enemy front lines with little loss. The supporting companies, however, met heavy fire, machine-guns having been brought from the dug-outs. The Regimental history records that the latter were almost annihilated, with total casualties of 22 officers and approximately 750 other ranks, the most casualties of any Battalion on the first day of the Battle of the Somme.

Briggs was amongst those killed, and is buried in Dantzig Alley British Cemetery, Mametz, France.

Sold with copied research.