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BRIANT, Calvin Ellis (1896-1973)

BRIANT, Calvin Ellis (1896-1973)

Calvin Ellis Briant was born at Maryborough in July 1896, the son of Alfred Henry Briant and Emma Jane, nee Campbell. He was educated at Ballarat State School and as a boarder at Geelong College from July 1910 to December 1911. He was enrolled by A H Briant of 202 Seymour St, Ballarat. He served in the Cadets.

After enlistmnent (No. 3239) at Ballarat on 24 June 1915 during World War I, he embarked on HMAT A71 Nestor on 11 October 1915 for France with the 6 Battalion (11th Reinforcement Group). There he transferred to 58 Battalion in April 1916. He was reported to his family as wounded in action in July 1916 in France however he had been taken prisoner by the Germans at the Battle of Fromelles on 15-20 July 1916, as reported by Bean in the Official History:
'During the uproar, Germans - reported to be ten in number - were observed crossing No-Man’s Land; a bomb-fight occurred in the trenches of the 58th, and three members of an Australian Lewis-gun team with their gun were afterwards found to have been captured.'

Sgt C E Briant was a prisoner of war for two years in Germany and Holland, firstly at Minden in September 1916. He was then transferred to Friedrichsfeld in November 1917, and finally to Holland on 14 April 1918. He returned to Australia, via England embarking on 5 March, 1919.

He died in 1973.

His older brother, Alfred Charles Campbell Briant, a Private with 6 Battalion, was killed in action during the Gallipoli Campaign. He has no known grave.

Sources: 'Geelong Collegians at the Great War' compiled by J. Affleck. p143 (citing CEW Bean, 'The Official History of Australia in the War of 1914-18' Vol. III The AIF in France 1916; Graeme Massey, 'Gallipoli Heroes: a tribute to the men from Western Victoria who gave their lives for their country'; National Archives; memorial); NAA B2455 Briant C E.
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