NORMAN BRIGGS

Able Seaman KP/856, Royal Naval Volunteer Service

Died 27th December 1915 aged 27

Buried at the Redoubt Cemetery Helles, Turkey

Husband of Polly Briggs

Lived 6, Barber Square, Heckmondwike


Norman was born in Heckmondwike in 1888; he was the son of Sam and Ada Briggs and appears to have been an only child.  He was a Miner by trade.  He married Polly Allinson in 1908 at St Peter’s Church, Birstall and they had one son born in 1909.   In 1911 Norman and Polly were living at Nunroyd.  Polly re-married two years after Norman died.

The Hood Battalion was part of the Royal Naval Division; Winston Churchill as First Lord of the Admiralty formed the Royal Naval Division as an infantry formation in August 1914.  This continued a tradition of employing ad-hoc groupings of sailors and marines in land operations alongside units of the British Army.  The Royal Naval Division was selected to play a major part in Churchill's plan to defeat the German/Turkish alliance by an amphibious attack into what he called "the soft under-belly of Europe" to seize the entrance to the Bosphorus at Gallipoli.  This enterprise became one of the greatest disasters of the Great War.

After the division's massive losses at the Third Battle of Krithia, the Benbow Battalion and the Collingwood Battalion were chosen to be disbanded between 4th and 8th June 1915 to reinforce the other five depleted Royal Naval Battalions.  A shadow of its former self, the Royal Naval Division stayed at Helles Beach until the very end of the Dardanelles campaign.  Its units were amongst the very last to leave during the evacuation of the night 8th/9th January 1916.
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