Recognition for Channel Islander killed during retreat from Mons

Captain Victor Briard, killed near Mons on 24 August 1914

A Jersey housing development is to be named after the first Channel Islander to be killed in the First World War.

Captain EFV (Victor) Briard was 25 when he was killed in action on 24 August 1914 during the retreat from Mons.

He was born in St Helier and educated at Felstead School and the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst. He was captain of hockey while at Felstead and went on to represent the Army at the sport. He also played cricket for his regiment.

Royal Norfolk Regiment

He was serving with 1st Battalion, Royal Norfolk Regiment. His unit, along with 1st Battalion the Cheshire Regiment, was left exposed as other battalions retreated and left them to be outflanked and overrun by the advancing German forces.

Around 250 Norfolks became casualties, along with more than 700 from the Cheshire Regiment.

Mons retreat

British troops take up defensive positions during the retreat

Family tragedy

Briard’s widowed mother, Maud, was initially told he had been taken prisoner and his death was not confirmed until 1916.

Private Henry Grigglestone wrote to Mrs Briard describing the moment her son was killed: ‘I was in the same section as Lieutenant Briard was in charge of on the 24th August 1914. He was directing operations and I stayed next to him. I saw him killed about two minutes before I was captured.

‘I cannot tell you any more, but all I can say is, “he died a hero”.’

Captain Briard is buried at Elouges Communal Cemetery in Belgium along with 24 other members of the Norfolk Regiment.

Briard’s younger brother, John, died aged just 19 on 15 October 1919 of complications related to wounds received in May at a skirmish on the Khyber Pass. At the time he was serving with 35th Sikhs and had been on his way to a posting on the Afghan border.

He was buried at Peshawar and is now commemorated on the Delhi Memorial.

 

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