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Douglas Adye Ferdinand Brigstocke


2nd Tunnelling Company


Douglas Adye Ferdinand Brigstocke - Information

Fred stepped off the ship in England and later attended a School of Instruction in Stafford in February 1917. He was then marched into the 9th Training Battalion in Durrington, where he met his men. On the 24th of August, Fred and his Platoon proceeded to the Western Front in France. The next day, he was promoted Lieutenant. At the beginning of September, he was assigned Regimental duty. He commenced working with the 10th Brigade Headquarters during the Third Battle of Ypres in Belgium, helping coordinate the attacks. By October, the Headquarters were situated near Passchendaele Ridge. The area was being heavily bombarded by German artillery in an effort to repel recent assaults. Fred was subsequently blasted by shellfire and died instantly. Unfortunately, continual fire buried Fred’s body under mounds of earth. Consequently, he was reported missing on the 12th of October. However, when men from his unit were questioned, they confirmed that he was killed in action that day. A fellow officer and friend, Lieutenant F. Horne also of the 35th Battalion wrote his family to inform them of the tragedy.

Douglas landed in Marseilles in early May, and then boarded the train to Hazebrouck. The following month, he was promoted Lieutenant on the 15th of June in the field. Tunnelling warfare was essential to strategy in the First World War. The mines that were blown before the Battle of Messines in June 1917, were evident of this. Douglas began working under the ground in No Man’s Land, digging towards the enemy’s lines and searching for German tunnellers. It was a laborious and dangerous task. One false move and tunnels collapsed and the threat of being discovered by counter-miners was ever present. For most of January 1917, he was detached to the 1st Canadian Tunnelling Company, until he returned to his unit in early February. However, the conditions of working in the trenches and in the tunnels began to take affect on Douglas. In late July, he reported sick to hospital with dysentery. In August, he was then transported from the 12th Casualty Clearing Station, to hospital in Rouen. He was then evacuated to England for treatment. By the beginning of October, he was feeling better. He left Wandsworth to go back to France, travelling from Rouelles to the Australian General Base Depot in Havre. From here, he rejoined the 2nd Tunnelling Company in mid November, four days after the Armistice was signed. At the beginning of February 1919, he was made adjutant and Quartermaster for the 2nd Tunnelling Company. He was then granted leave in England from the beginning of July for six weeks. During this period, he gained non-military employment with East Pool & Agar Ltd, a mining company in Cornwall. He was then stationed to Sutton Veny Camp, until he returned to Australia and his appointment was terminated in January 1920.

Douglas then returned to his family in Camden and his civie life. In 1920, he commenced working for the Mount Boppy Gold Mining Company in Carbeligo. In 1926, he married Ada L. Davis in Sydney. They started a new life together, and by 1934, Douglas was working in New Guinea in Bulolo.