The Staggs boys were born in the Lismore district in northern NSW. The family came to Inverell in 1904 and purchased a property north of the town. Three brothers, Andrew (26), Neil (23) and Fred (22) enlisted on the same day, 27 August 1914. Their brother Paul (25) was rejected in December 1915 and their youngest brother, George, enlisted in December 1916.
Andrew and Fred were Privates with the 1st Battalion and sailed from Sydney on HMAT A19 Afric on 18 October 1914. Neil, a Private with the 2nd Battalion, E Company, sailed from Sydney on the transport ship A23 Suffolk, departing the same day as his brothers. George was a Private with the 18th Battalion, 19th Reinforcements and left Sydney on board HMAT A18 Wilshire on 7 February 1917.
Private Andrew Staggs was killed in action at Gallipoli on 19 May 1915. He has no known grave and his name appears on the Lone Pine Memorial at Gallipoli. Neil was seriously wounded at Gallipoli and when well enough returned to Australia in 1915. Fred became ill in Egypt and had to return home for treatment. George served in France and returned to Australia in 1920.
Neil, Fred and George all served again during World War II.
Andrew Staggs was the Pipe Major and Founder of the Inverell Independent Pipe Band and one of the Band members killed in action. His name is recorded on the Inverell Cenotaph and on the Pipe Band Honor Roll.
Photo: Neil Staggs (left) and his brother Andrew (right)
Sydney Morning Herald 24 August 1915 (NAA Trove Newspapers)