I have been interested in my family history for some time, my initial interest being sparked by the picture below. Since uncovering information about the people in the photo and the period in which it was taken, I have developed a greater interest in military and social aspects of the First World War, both as regards my family members and also the location they lived in - Bamber Bridge and Lostock Hall, adjoining villages south of the River Ribble in Lancashire.
For information about Bamber Bridge in the First World War, click here
For information about Lostock Hall in the First World War, click here.
The photograph shows my great-grandfather, Jack Brierley (1857-1924), seated with four of his sons just after they enlisted at Bamber Bridge in the Royal Field Artillery, in May 1915. His sons, left to right, are Bill (1887-1954, my grandfather), Tom (1880-1940), Matt (1895-1953) and Jack (1890-1919). They all served together for most of the War, in the RFA West Lancashire Brigade. They all survived except for Jack who died of flu whilst still serving in Germany after the War had ended.
The map shows the distribution of the Brierley family name in 1881. The name is concentrated in the north-west of England, in an area stretching from Walton Le Dale to Huddersfield, with the strongest concentration around Oldham and Rochdale.
Use the Menu Tab at the top of the screen to access the information about individual soldiers, their families and the military actions they were engaged in.
The Alphabetical List also has a map showing the places where the men lived. The Time Line page has a map showing where they died.
Although the family name originates in the north-west of England, the Brierleys who fought and died in the War came from further afield, not only in England but also from Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
The average age of a Brierley soldier who lost his life was between 27 and 28.
10 more Brierleys lied about their age to enlist and were still 19 or under when they died, including 2nd Lt George Raworth Brierley (aged 19)
The oldest Brierley to die on active service overseas was 78560 George Wadsworth Brierley. He enlisted aged 54 claiming to be 44 and served with the Royal Army Medical Corps. He was 56 when he died at Boulogne.
poppies at Mametz
Please get in touch if you have any comments, corrections or additional information, especially photographs.