Francis Arthur Riggenbach

Essex Regiment
Date of death 
19 September 1918
Age of death 
Murton House
Higham Road
Woodford Green
Woodford Green
Address source 
1911 Census
Cemetery / Memorial 
Israel and Palestine (including Gaza)

Born in 1897 at South Woodford, son of Swiss National Franz (Sugar Merchant) and Mary Ann Riggenbach. 1902: The family was at “Haslemere” Grove Hill, South Woodford. 1911: A Scholar at Bancroft’s, with his family at Murton House Higham Road, Woodford Green which remained his address at death. His father died on 4th January 1918 at Eastbourne. Having enlisted at Woodford, Francis was Commissioned from the Royal Fusiliers in January 1915, and sent out to the Middle East with 6 Essex.

The Battle of Tel Megiddo against the Turks in Ottoman Syria began on 19th September 1918, and subsequently ranged over the Plain of Sharon, Esdralon Plain, Arara in the Judean Hills and beyond. On 1st October 1918 Damascus was captured, and on 31st October 1918 hostilities ceased.

On 17th September a diversionary attack by Arab Revolt Forces caused some Turkish formations to be redeployed. The main attack then began at 04.30 on 19th September with an artillery barrage. The Allied Force quickly broke through the weakened Turkish lines, and then progressed further along the coast before encircling a large number of Turkish troops.

Francis Riggenbach commanded A Company as they advanced from near Majdal Yaba at 03.50. They were stopped by shell and heavy machine gun fire near Sivri Tepe and Semer Tepe which claimed Francis Riggenbach. Overall the attack was successfully concluded “at relatively little cost.” 

In September 2014 his death plaque and medals were auctioned by Wellington Antiques 36, Church Hill Loughton.

Research by Adrian Lee, Local Historian


Regimental History

For more information on this individual please see The Old Bancroftian website.