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Briggs-Gooderham, E.J.R., 2nd Lieut., 1916

2nd Lieut E.J.R. Gooderham M.G.C.

Cambridge University Roll of Honour page 122

Cambridge University ROH death entry, page 133

Photo: James Pasby

Medal Index Card

Anglian Church Roll of Honour Front Cover

In Agny Military Cemetery is the Commonwealth War Grave of Second Lieutenant Ernest John Robinson Briggs-Gooderham, serving with the 18th Battalion Irish Royal Regiment, Machine Gun Corps (Infantry) who died 13/12/1916.

John Robinson Briggs was born on the 23rd February 1889* at Bulcamp, Blythburgh, Suffolk, the second child to farmer Robinson Briggs, and his wife Harriett [nee Gooderham], Briggs. The forename of Ernest was added to John Robinson Briggs at the Baptism on the 20th March 1889.

* His sister Mary May Briggs Gooderham has mistakenly stated his date of birth as the 24th February 1885! in September 1917.

Both of their parents died when they were very young and both were adopted by an Uncle and Aunt who were deceased by the time the War broke out.

'2nd Lieut[enant] The Rev. ERNEST JOHN ROBINSON BRIGGS GOODERHAM. 3rd Royal Irish Rifles, was the son of J.R. Briggs Gooderham, Esq., and nephew of the Rev. A. Gooderham, Vicar of Chillingham. He was born in 1889, and entered the School House in September 1903. He left in July, 1908, for Caius College, Cambridge, where he took his B.A. (2nd Class Theological Tripos) on the 20th June 1911. He was ordained Deacon in 1912 and was curate of Christ Church, Crouch End.

Ernest was a member of the Cambridge University O.T.C. with the rank of Lance-Corporal until he left in June 1911. As he was a member he attended summer camps in 1909 1910 and 1911. Ernest enlisted about April 1915 into the 3rd Battalion Royal Norfolk Regiment.

Whilst he was in the 3rd Battalion Irish Rifles he applied on the 13th June 1915, for a commission and was residing at 1 Aydon Gardens, Alnwick. He was at this time in 'A' Company as an Acting-Corporal in the 3rd Battalion Norfolk Regiment based at Felixstowe, Suffolk. On the 21st June 1915 he has his Medical Examination at Dublin where he is considered fit for the army.
He embarked for France from Southampton to Boulogne on the 20th October 1916 arriving at Etaples on the 21st October. On the 24th October, he is assigned to company 'C' in the 36th Brigade Machine Gun Company.

In April 1915 he enlisted in the Norfolk Regiment, and he received his commission in the Royal Irish Rifles that year. Whilst serving in France he was attached to the Machine Gun Corps, and he was killed in action on [the] 13th December 1916. He was in charge of a machine gun, and was killed instantaneously by a shell.'

His captain later wrote:- Though we had known him so short a time we all appreciated his splendid qualities. He was loved by the men. We deeply mourn his loss, and feel that he cannot be replaced. We all join in sending you our deepest sympathy. The deceased officer's servant was killed with him.

His sister Miss Mary May Gooderham [was residing at The 'Nook' Wellington Heath, Ledbury, Worcester], had received a telegram from the Keeper of the Privy Purse expressing the sympathy of the King and Queen with her. She was residing at The Nook, Wellington Heath, Ledbury. His personal effects which consisted of 1 letter addressed to Rev. C. J. Sharp,* Envelope marked Diary containing unfinished Biography, Pocket Book, Field Almanac, Officer's Advance Book no 14541, Cheque book, Communion set in case, Communion cloth, Pipe, Tobacco Pouch, Whistle and Lanyard, Wrist watch damged, were sent to this address by Cox and Co's, Shipping Agency.

* This was given to the War Office who retained possession of the letter.

Source: War Record of Old Dunelmians 1914-1919 Edited by Captain Thompson and Captain Moses 1919

Morpeth Herald 12/01/1917 carries a brief obituary:

Miss Gooderham [sic], sister of Second-Lieut. [Ernest John Robinson] Briggs Gooderham, who was killed in action on the 13th December, when in charge of a machine gun, has received a letter from the commanding officer stating:- 'Second Lieut. Briggs Gooderham was killed instantaneously by the bursting of a big shell. The body was recovered and buried next day with due military honours'. His captain also wrote:- 'We all appreciated his splendid qualities. He was beloved by the men. We deeply mourn his loss, and feel that he cannot be replaced. We all join in sending you our deepest sympathy. His soldier servant [20299, Private William Davis, son of Mr. and Mrs. Davis, of Dockwell Lane, Hatton, Feltham, Middlesex]. was killed with him'. Miss Gooderham has also received a Royal message expressing the sympathy of the King and Queen. The deceased officer was a nephew of the late Rev. A. Gooderham, a vicar of Eglingham.

His name was originally "Briggs" but the London Gazette 14/6/1912 reports that he now wishes to be called "Briggs-Gooderham".

Ernest John Robinson Briggs-Gooderham is remembered in Durham on D47.020 and D47.057, at South Shields on S86.046 and on the war memorial in Hornsey London.

He is also remembered in the Anglian ROH remembrance book and in the Cambridge University Roll of Honour.

The London Gazette re change of name
The CWGC entry for 2nd Lieutenant Briggs-Gooderham

If you know more about this person, please send the details to janet@newmp.org.uk