1177 PTE. R. BRIERLEY. A.I.F.
Richard Brierley was born in Liverpool in April 1893. His father was Thomas Henry Brierley, (b. 1865 in Liverpool), who was a sailor. His mother was Eleanor Abram (b. 1869 in Liverpool). Thomas and Eleanor were married in 1892 and they had 6 children, 5 of whom survived infancy: Richard, Thomas Henry (b. 1894), William (b. 1895), Alfred (1896-99), Ernest (b. 1898) and Eleanor (b. 1902).
In 1911, Thomas was working as a ship’s rigger for the White Star line. Richard had moved out of his parents’ house and was living as a lodger at 1 Fraser Street, Liverpool, and his occupation is given as handcart lad.
Richard then emigrated to Australia, possibly in 1913. He enlisted at Rosehill in New South Wales on 11 September 1914, this time giving his occupation as seaman (he gives his mother Eleanor as his next of kin). He also says that he has previously enlisted with the King’s (Liverpool Regiment), 9th Battalion. Richard was given service number 1177 and posted to 1st Battalion, “B” Company. He was 5’ 8” tall and weighed 11st.
Richard left Melbourne aboard the HMAT Themistocles on 22 December 1914. On 5 April 1915, he embarked on the S.S. Minnewaska at Alexandria to join the Gallipoli campaign. 1st Australian Division (including 1st Brigade ad 1st Battalion) landed at Anzac Cove on 25 April. Richard was listed as missing in action on 2 May 1915. He was 22 years old.
A court of enquiry was held into the circumstances surrounding Richard’s death (and others killed at Lone Pine) in Tel-el-Kebir in Egypt from 20 January-12 February 1916. Given the confusion of the landing on 25 April, those in authority had been unable to confirm who had been killed and what had happened to the missing, there being at least one report that one or more had subsequently been reported as a prisoner in Constantinople. Richard’s death was not confirmed until March 1916. His brother Tom was killed in May 1916. Given the inevitable delays in communication, it’s possible that their mother would have heard the news of their deaths at almost the same time, although correspondence on his military file indicates she was still trying to locate his effects and belongings in December 1917. She probably never received anything. Another letter indicates that a Sergeant Kennedy had found Richard’s body lying in the battlefield in June 1915 and had recovered his identity disc and sent it to the orderly room but after that it appears to have got lost. Eleanor complains that a year and a half after her son’s death she has still received no back pay or compensation.
Service No: 1177
Date of Death: 02/05/1915
Regiment/Service: Australian Infantry, A.I.F., 1st Bn.
Panel Reference: 13.
Memorial: LONE PINE MEMORIAL
Additional Information: Son of Thomas Henry and Eleanor Brierley, of 115 Farnworth Street, Liverpool, England.
Richard’s brother is 1415 PTE. T. H . BRIERLEY killed 19 May 1916.