Thomas Francis Patey Briggs RNR

1896 Sep 15. Born Batoum, Russia. His grandfather,Thomas Briggs, moved to Russia for business and the next two generations were born there.  The grandfather was managing director of Bellino-Fenderick Limited, iron founders. His father, who was born a member of the Scottish Presbyterian English Church, Odessa, Ukraine, Russia. Batoum (now Batumi) is a seaside city on the Black Sea coast and capital of Adjara, an autonomous republic in southwest Georgia. In 1723 Batumi became part of the Ottoman Empire. With the Turkish conquest the Islamisation of the hitherto Christian region began, but was terminated and to a great degree reversed, after the area was re-annexed to Russian Imperial Georgia in the mid 19th century. In 1878, Batumi was annexed by the Russian Empire in accordance with Treaty of San Stefano between Russia and the Ottoman Empire. Occupied by the Russians on August 28, 1878, the town was declared a free port until 1886. It functioned as a center of a special military district until being incorporated in the Government of Kutaisi on June 12, 1883. Finally, on June 1, 1903, with the Okrug of Artvin, it was established as the region of Batumi placed under the direct control of the General Government of Georgia. His parents married in Kherson, Orenburg, Russia on 4 Oct 1895. The family were back in England by 1900 when their next child was born in Durham

His father Henry Thomas Robinson Briggs had been in both the shipping business and later in the United States Consular Service in Russia.   In 1900, after graduating from Durham University (which is why a child was born there) , he became Assistant Curate of St Mary’s, Monmouth, Wales.   Three years later he became Chaplain of Christ Church, Neuily-sur-Seine, Paris.  He was also Chaplain in charge of the wounded in the Paris Hospitals during early stages of WW1 and the founder, together with Lord Robert Cecil and Sir Ian Malcolm, of the Wounded and Missing Enquiry Department of the Red Cross Society. He held the Mons Star and Service medals.   In 1917 he was offered the parish of Cricket Malherbie and Knowles St Giles, Somerset, by the Bishop of London.  His wife, Ada Sarah Mecklenburg, died in 1920.  In 1923 he became Vicar of St Paul’s, Ramsbottom where he died in 1925.

1901 census at 29, The Parade, Monmouth

1910 Apr. A Cadet on the Training establishment HMS Conway

1911 census I cannot find the family. He was in fact on the Naval training ship “Conway” and his parents and younger siblings were living in Paris at that time. 

1912 Dec Left HMS Conway

1913 Jan to Jan 1915 Served as a apprentice with Cunard on S Tyrea and SS Pavia

Medals sold online A WWI trio, the 1914-15 Star impressed "MID. T. F. P. BRIGGS. R.N.R.", the pair impressed "LIEUT. T. F. P. BRIGGS R.N.R.". These three medals are loose. The vendor also had the medals for his brotherArthur

1915 Feb 8 He was enlisted as a midshipman RNR. He served in Armed Merchant Cruisers of the 10th Cruiser Squadron on the Northern Blockade

1916 Feb 29 He was torpedoed when he was on the Alcantara during its encounter with the German Q ship "Greif".   The family story story was that he was in the water for five hours before being rescued but the online information suggests all survivors were rescued by nearby ships in 20 minutes.   This would fit with the dates on his naval service record and the fact that his next ship was Alcantara's sister ship, the Andes. A report my another crew member of the action

"Alcantara was a Portsmouth-manned ship. She went into action against the German raider Grief. Both vessels were sunk ....a great duel was fought in the North Sea. Alcantara was formerly a liner of 15,800 tons and was operating as an auxiliary cruiser. I was a Yeoman of the Signals on the bridge.  One of the signalmen spotted her (the Greif).  I looked at her through the telescope on the bridge. I didn't know what it was. She was flying the Norwegian flag and had the Norwegian flag painted on her side. We made a signal to her to stop. She replied: I am stopping my engines to adjust my machinery. She said she had come from Rio de Janeiro. But she had stopped to adjust her gunnery. The captain told the officer of the watch to man a board boat and he was sending a boarding party aboard. As the boarding party was being loaded over the side - she was about 300 yards away - she opened her gun ports...guns came out...7in guns...first salvo hit us and blew one of our guns over like a shuttlecock. Alcantara fired of the first salvos hit the Grief's magazine...she went up but as she went up she fired three torpedoes and all three hit the Alcantara.  She went over and order was given to abandon ship. I was three hours in the sea - floating ice ahead of me - bobbing about."

1918 He was a Sub Lt, 2i/c HMTB.80 in 1918.

1919 Mar 13. As a Lt RNR he was attached to the Principal Naval Transport Officer N. Russia. His RNR record is available

1920 Jan 18. demobilised

1920 Oct 14. Joined ADRIC with service no 727 Posted to G Coy. ex-army officer

1921 Apr 17 Was involved in the Castleconnell incident

1921 May 5 to 20 May on Leave

1921 Aug 3 to 2 Sep on Leave

1922 Jan 20 Discharged at demobilisation of ADRIC

1922 Nov 16. Leaves UK for Australia. Interestingly he travels with another G Coy man David Daniel Stiven. They both give final destination as New Zealand. Thomas Francis P Briggs left London on 16 November 1922 on the SS Borda, sailing to Sydney.   

1930 Oct 11. Married Mabel Beale at St Barnabas Church, Mt Eden, Auckland.  They had two children – Peter and Rosemary. They lived in Takapuna, Auckland until he died in 1970 aged 74 of cancer.   

1935 Electoral Roll has him in Auckland, "seaman"

1938. Electoral Roll has him in Auckland, "seaman"

1946 Jan 1. MBE Gazetted. Thomas Francis Patey BRIGGS, Esq., Shipping Officer, Naval Store Department, His Majesty's New Zealand) Dockyard, Auckland. He is on the Electoral Roll as a "clerk"

1954 Electoral Roll has him living in Auckland, he is a "clerk"

1960 May 9. Arrives in UK from NZ.

1960 Oct 18. Leaves UK for Australia. He is a Civil Servant. He travels with his wife Mabel and they both have NZ passports.

1963 On the Electoral Roll as "retired"

1970 Oct 14 - Died Auckland, New Zealand