Boyce Dunsford RIGNEY (1898-1946)


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SAPPER: 20031 Boyce Dunsford RIGNEY.

Born: 1898. St-Peters, New South Wales, Australia. Birth Cert:15996/1898.

Married 1: 1920. Randwick, New South Wales, Australia. Marriage Cert:12766/1920.

Wife 1: Elsie May Rigney. nee: Lloyd.

Married 2: 1946. Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Marriage Cert:16877/1946.

Wife 2: Sarah Rigney. nee: Bartholomew.

Died: 12th June 1985.

Father: Frederick Charles Rigney. (1876-1956)

Mother: Florence Rigney. nee: Hopegood.


Boyce Dunsford Rigney enlisted with the 9th Field Company Engineer on the 5th of June 1917 and left Melbourne on board HMAT A71 "NESTOR" on the 21st of November 1917 and disembarked at Plymouth, England on the 30th of January 1918 and was marched in to the No:3 Camp at Parkhouse.

Boyce was admitted to the Tidworth Military Hospital on the 5th of February suffering from Scabies which was rampant in a number of camps and after being discharged returned to training and proceeded overseas for France via Southampton on the 13th of August 1918 and was marched into camp at Roulles the next day.

Boyce also saw service in the 35th Battalion and was with them from the 31st of August 1918 until the 3rd of September when the Australians stormed, seized and defended 'the key height of Mount St. Quentin a pivotal German defensive position on the Somme'.


30-31st August 1918

On the northern flank the 3rd Division's attack had been arranged at short notice after a day exhausting to both infantry and artillery, and in the face of other particular difficulties. The timming of the attack was to be taken from the left where the 58th Division, somewhat further back than the 9th Brigade, started at 5:10am behind a very slow barrage to attack Marrieres Wood. The 9th Brigade using the 33rd Battalion, started at the time arranged, 5:40am, but the artillery had not yet received its orders and though it fired, the barrage was thin and machine-guns in the south-west corner of Road Wood stopped the 33rd.

One Company was late, but Captain DUNCAN. MC. had swung his Company into its place. Major: Brodziak was now killed while referring to his map.But within twenty minutes the artillery greatly increased its fire. The 33rd were able to raise their heads. A private Private: 726 George CARTWRIGHT V.C. stood up and from the shoulder fired at the troublesome German gunner and then walking forward shot him and the two men who took his place.

Next, covering his run by exploding a bomb shot of the trench, he rushed the gun and captured 9 Germans. The 33rd stood up and cheered him, and then advancing by two's and three's entered the wood. Private: 792 William Allan Irwin DCM, an Australian half-caste, after attacking like Cartwright, was mortally wounded and died of wounds on the 1st of september 1918.

The 33rd was now considerably behind the 6th London (58th Division), having chased the Germans from Marrieres Wood, was held up by fire from Wary Alley which curved up the gully between the woods. Comming through the south Company Sergeant Major: 967 Louis John MATHIAS. DCM & Bar. cleared the Germans by fire from a Lewis Gun.

The 33rd now set to bombing up the old trenches leading up to the upper end of the 1916 Spur where the Peronne-Bapaume Road also ran through. On the nearer side of the road a German battery commander with his gun crews and some infantry was blazing with six field-guns into the Australian groups everywere they left shelter.

From the southward side Lieutenant: 559 Edward Allen TURNBULL. and Lieutenant: William Alexander McLEAN. M.C. of the 33rd-the latter greartly helped by the leaders of the 10th Brigade Sergeant 1007 E E Walters. DCM, 39th Battalion and Corporal 5024 A V Grinton. DCM, 38th Battalion, worked up and presently rushed the guns, the German Battery Commander fighting to the last with his revolver. He was shot by Lieutenant: 559 Edward Allen TURNBULL.

Captain: DUNCAN. MC. reaching realised that the old quarry beyond it was a commanding position and accordingly took it and 40 German prisoners and placed a post on its eastern rim. He then went back to Wary Alley, and finding some of the 6th London Regiment, got Captain: S T COOKE MC, and 20 men to garrison the quarry while the 33rd lined the Bapaume Road on the right.

Boyce was transfered to the 35th Battalion AIF on the 26th of September from the 9th Australian field Engineers and was Taken on in Strength in the field after serving with them at St-Quentin.

A German Officers luger pistol holster souvenired by Rigney Engraved/scratched on flap "MT ST. QUENTIN 11-9-18 SAP. B. D. RIGNEY". Maker 'GOLDMANN BERLIN 1916'

Boyce remained in and out of billetts for the next 6 months before being granted leave in France 0n the 13th of March to Paris but was Hospitalised on the 22nd of March suffering from a Septic Throat and was admitted to the Station Hospital in Paris on the 22nd of March until he was discharged on the on the 31st and rejoined his unit. Boyce was demobilised and returned to England on the 8th of May and was marched in to Codford where he remained until he returned to Australia on board the "Wiltshire" 20th of August 1919 and was discharged from the AIF on the 12th of September 1919.

Family Information

Boyce was a single 19 year old Salesman from 19 Duke Street, Kensington, N.S.W. upon enlistment. Boyce's last known address was at 12 Rockwall Court, Potts Point, N.S.W on the 12th of February 1937. His parents Frederick and Florence Rigney were married in 1897 at Sydney, N.S.W. Marriage Cert:351/1897 and had 5 children. Francis Frederick Boyce Rigney born 1897 at Marrickville, N.S.W. Birth Cert:13939/1897 and died in 1897 at Marrickville, N.S.W. Death Cert: 5360/1897. Boyce Dunsford Rigney born 1898 at St-Peters, N.S.W. Birth Cert:15996/1898 and died in 1985 N.S.W. Death Cert:..George Boyce Rigney born 1900 at St-Peters, N.S.W. Birth Cert:16702/1900 and died in 1901 at St-Peters, N.S.W. Death Cert:7096/1901. Raymond Frederick Rigney born 1902 at Sydney, N.S.W. Birth Cert:391/1902 and died in 1965 at Sydney, N.S.W. Death Cert:2694/1965. Norman E Rigney born 1904 at Sydney, N.S.W. Birth Cert:9306/1904 and died in 1905 at Sydney, N.S.W. Death Cert:7650/1905.

Boyce's British War Medal:79316 and Victory Medal:75437 to SPR 20031 B.D.RIGNEY 9 F.C.E. AIF were acquired in June 2009 from a dealer in Victoria Australia and are now in the collection.

Military Records

Australian National Archives

Under Construction. 02/06/2009-07/05.2015.

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