Born in 1893 at Theydon Bois, son of Thomas (Retreat Caterer) and Emma Elizabeth Riggs. He was the grandson of John Riggs who established the “Riggs Retreats” in Epping Forest. His father was responsible for running the Retreat at Theydon Bois. 1901: With his family at Coppice Row, Theydon Bois. 1911: A Merchants Clerk living with his widowed mother at 5 Marlborough Road, South Woodford. The family home was later 60 Marlborough Road. In 1911 his mother worked as a Boarding House Keeper.
He was admitted to the Regiment on 25th October 1915, and went to Europe on 23th March 1916.
During 23rd April 1917 Companies of the Battalion were involved in the attack on the village of Gavrelle, part of the campaign to reach and break through the Hindenburg Line. The attack was fairly successful, and during the night of 23/24 April “C” & “D” Companies relieved “A” & “B” Companies in the new front positions. One of those was an advanced post which was occupied by “C” Company. This came under very heavy German fire, and all men sent to it became casualties. A strong German counter attack using grenades was held off with no ground lost.
However when the Battalion was relieved later in the night it was found the action had reduced each Company to about 40 effective men.
Henry Riggs was one of those Killed in Action that day whose remains have not been recovered.
His name appears on the Wanstead War Memorial.
It is possible that Henry John Riggs is the unidentified ‘A.J. Riggs’ recorded as being on the memorial of the now demolished South Woodford Congregational Church.
Research by Adrian Lee, Local Historian