Briggs, John Mackay

Briggs, John Mackay


18th Reserve Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles, previously served in ‘A’ Company, 13th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles (No. 16206)

Died of disease on Monday 2 October 1916 (aged 48)


Holywood Cemetery, Co. Down (Grave 605)


Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Holywood and District War Memorial

Holywood Parish Church of Ireland Church (St Philip & St James)


John Mackay Briggs was born on 9 October 1867 in Chatham, Kent and he was a son of Colonel John Briggs and Maria Anna Briggs (nee Mackey).

John Mackay Briggs and Frances Emily Turner were married on 12 October 1895 in the Independent Chapel, Brentwood, Essex, and they had at least four children:

Aileen Frances Emily (born 9 April 1898 at Kinsale)

Victor George (born 16 June 1900 at Brentwood)

Muriel Vera Prudence (born 22 February 1904 at Colchester)

Marjorie Eileen (born 6 October 1908 at Fort Napier, Pietermaritzburg, Natal).

John Mackay Briggs served with the Norfolk Regiment (No. 2915) for 22 years.  He saw service in Matabeleland in 1896 and fought in the South African War.

John Mackay Briggs was discharged from the Army on 8 August 1913 as a Colour Sergeant and after that he became actively associated with the Ulster Volunteer movement.

On 11 September 1914, aged 44 years 11 months, John Mackay Briggs re-joined the colours and was appointed Colour Sergeant in ‘A’ Company 13th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles (No. 16206) and then Sergeant Major on 15 September 1914.  He was 5 feet 11 inches tall with blue eyes.  He was discharged to a commission on 23 May 1915 and on 24 May 1915 he was appointed Captain and Adjutant with the 18th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles stationed at Clandeboye.

The Briggs family lived at 3 Park Road, Kinnegar, and at Glenside, Holywood.  Captain Briggs died there on 2 October 1916 as the result of septicaemia and cardiac failure following typhoid (enteric) fever for two months.  It was concluded that he had contracted the disease at Clandeboye Camp, and that it was attributable to military service.  He was a few days short of his 49th birthday and he left a widow and four children.

His brother George was with him when he died.

Two days after he died, Captain Briggs was buried with full military honours and many soldiers who had been invalided home from the Front were present.  The chief mourners were his brother George and his son Victor (No. 21922) Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Captain John Mackay Briggs is commemorated on Holywood and District War Memorial and in Holywood Parish Church of Ireland Church (St Philip & St James).