Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 1918, Sergeant Frederick Charles Riggs V.C., M.M., 6th Battalion, the York and Lancaster Regiment, was killed in action near Epinoy in France.
The son of a domestic servant, he was born in the Christchurch Union workhouse and later adopted. He left school at the age of fourteen and worked as an errand boy and later as a carrier with Pickford’s.
In September of 1914, Sergeant Riggs enlisted in the 14th Reserve Cavalry Regiment, and in June of the following year was transferred to the 6th Battalion of the York and Lancashire Regiment, sailing from Liverpool to the Gallipoli Peninsula. In June of 1916 his battalion was ordered to France, where they were involved in the major battles on the western front. During the fighting on the Somme in September, Sergeant Riggs received a serious head wound and was sent home to recover, after being awarded the Military Medal, not returning until June of 1917. He was promoted to Sergeant and continued to take part in the major battles.
On the day of his death, Sergeant Riggs had let his platoon under severe fire, they captured three enemy machine guns and accepted the surrender of fifty German soldiers. However, during an enemy advance, Sergeant Riggs was shot and killed. For his “most conspicuous bravery and self-sacrifice and resisting with his men to the last” he was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Vis-en-Artois Memorial at Haucourt in France.
Frederick, from Bournemouth in Dorset, was 30 years old.