Percy Reginald RIGG

Year of Birth:  1880

Place of Birth:  Sydney, New South Wales

Date of Enlistment:  18 October 1915

Date and Place of Embarkation:  8 May 1916, Sydney, New South Wales

Ship: HMAT Demosthenes A64

Rank:  Second Lieutenant

Unit(s): “B” Coy. 4th Battalion, 41st Battalion

Regimental Number:  350

Died:  1 September 1918

 

Percy Reginald Rigg was one of five children born to George Stephen Rigg and Ellen Hunter Mitchell in New South Wales. Gaveston Stanley born 1876, George Southerton 24 June 1877, Harold Norman 1878, then Percy Reginald 6 September 1880 and Edith B.W. who was born 1882. A George Stanley died in 1877, this is possibly Gaveston Stanley.

Percy Reginald’s parents, Ellen Hunter Rigg died 10 February 1883 and George Stephen Rigg, born England 1849, died 4 September 1929. They are buried in Rookwood Cemetery.

Edith Blanch Winifred, his sister, married Everard S. Bowden in 1909. His two elder brothers also joined the armed forces.

George Southerton Rigg, who had married Mary White in 1897, went to England and joined the British Army. He was attached to the 52nd Battalion Machine Gun Corp and also obtained the rank of Lieutenant. He was awarded the D.S.O. George was killed in Action in Belgium on the 31 July 1917 and is buried in Artillery Wood Cemetery, Boezinge, Flanders, Belgium.

Harold Norman Rigg, married Ellenor McFadden in Lismore in 1909, joined the army on the 5 November 1914 at the age of 36. His occupation was listed as an Inspector of Stock, regimental number 122. Harold rejoined the army on the 24 April 1915, after an illegal absence. His new regimental number was 688 and his occupation was Veterinary Surgeon. His unit was the Army Veterinary Corp. He was discharged on the 17 August 1918.

In 1903 Percy Reginald was living at 2 Reiby Street in Newtown, Sydney, occupation was a clerk. By 1908 he was living in Cairns and remained there until 1917, with his occupation still listed as a clerk.

Percy was a member of the “Cairns Gelling Masonic Lodge”.  There is an entry in the history of the Lodge:

As we all know the Great War had almost come to an end in Europe but the lodge had suffered a casualty in that war. There is an entry in the roll book that simply states. “No.79 Percy Reginald Rigg of Cairns, age 29 years, Accountant. Initiated, 13/9/1910. Passed 11/10/1910. Raised 13/12/1910. Advanced to the Mark Master’s degree 9/8/1911. Killed France”.

At the time of Percy’s enlistment he was living in Townsville and gave is occupation as an Accountant. He was 35 years of age, 5 feet 6 inches tall and weighed 132 pounds. His complexion was fair with grey eyes and light brown hair.

He named his sister, who was now married, Edith Blanch Winifred Bowden, as his next of kin. Edith’s address was given as  C/- J  E Vance Esq., “Sephen” Killara, Sydney, NSW, but was crossed out and changed to “Saida” 11a Montgue Road, Watersleigh. Percy’s father’s address was given as Brown Street, Newtown. NSW.

Percy Reginald was promoted to Provost Corporal in February 1916, Sergeant on the 22 October 1916 and then to Company Sergeant Major WO2 27 April 1917. He completed an Aspirant Officer’s Course on the 27 October 1917 and his final promotion to 2nd Lieutenant on the 1 May 1918. He was killed in open warfare near Clery-sur-Somme, France on the 1st September 1918 and is commemorated on the Australian National Memorial at Villers-Brettonneux.

 

HMAT Demosthenes – photo courtesy of AWM

 

An “Inventory of Effects” of Lieutenant G S Rigg, D.S.O , York & Lancashire Regiment and Lieutenant P.R. Rigg, 41st Battalion AIF, was made and forwarded to Percy’s father George Rigg.

Percy’s sister Edith, who was living in England at the time of his death, and brother Harold Norman living in Australia, were involved in several letters being written to the Australian Imperial Force regarding medals awarded to Percy Reginald and the effects belonging to both brothers Lieutenant G.S. Rigg D.S.O., of the York & Lancashire Regiment and Lieutenant P. R. Rigg.

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NAA: B2455

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NAA: B2455

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NAA: B2455

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Headstone photo – courtesy of FindAGrave

 

Online Resources

New South Wales Birth Death & Marriages Index

NAA: B2455 RIGG, Percy Reginald

Photo HMAT Demosthenes; AWM

FindAGrave

 

Other Resources

Cairns Gelling Lodge 176H UGLQ 100 Years (Held in CFH Library)

 

If anyone has a photograph of or further information about this soldier they would like to share and add to his biography, please a comment or contact the Society projects@cdfhs.org

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