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William Brierley was born on 5 June 1880 in Salford.  His father was James Brierley (b. 1860 in Salford), an engine machine fitter by trade.  His mother was Mary Emma Jones (b. 1859 in Salford).  James and Emma were married in Hume in August 1879 and William was born the following year.  They had 9 children in all, 6 of whom survived infancy.  William’s surviving siblings were: Robert (b. 1882), James (b. 1883), Edgar (b. 1886), Gertrude (b. 1896) and Albert Edward (b. 1901).  In 1911, the family was living at 160 Robert Hall Street, Salford, although James is not shown as living there at the time.  Emma was shown as head of the household, but William signed the Census form.  He was unmarried and working as a railway engine cleaner.


He enlisted with the Lancashire Fusiliers, assigned service number 10470 and posted to 15th Battalion.  15th (Service) Battalion (1st Salford) – 1st Salford Pals – was formed in Salford on 11 September 1914 by Mr Montague Barlow MP and the Salford Brigade Committee.  They moved to Conway on 28 December 1914 and on 21 June 1915 to Catterick.  On 21 June 1915 they came under orders of 96th Brigade, 32nd Division.  They moved on 13 August 1915 to Codford and were formally adopted two weeks later by the War Office.  They landed at Boulogne on 22 November 1915.  William’s Medal Index Card indicates he landed in France the following day.


The Battalion spent the early part of 1916 in training and preparation for the attack on 1 July at the opening of the Battle of the Somme.  32nd Division launched their attack near the village of Thiepval.  On that day, the Lancashire Fusiliers had 571 officers and men killed.  272 of these came from the 15th Battalion, including William Brierley, who was 36 years old (CWGC incorrectly states 34).  The other Lancashire Fusiliers killed that day were from 16th and 19th Battalions – the 2nd and 3rd Salford Pals Battalions.  The Salford Pals were effectively wiped out on that single day.


Rank:  Private

Service No:  10470

Date of Death:  01/07/1916

Age:  36

Regiment/Service:  Lancashire Fusiliers, 15th Bn.

Panel Reference:  Pier and Face 3 C and 3 D.


Additional Information:  Son of James Brierley, of 160 Robert Hall Street, Salford, Manchester.

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