13076 PTE. B. BRIERLEY. E.LANCS.
Benjamin Brierley was born on 1 July 1884 in Burnley. His father was Isaac Brierley (b. 1848 in Worsthorne), a coal miner and later a general labourer. His mother was Ellen Eve Heap (b. 1848 in Burnley). Isaac and Ellen were married in 1868 and had 6 children, four of whom survived infancy: John James (b. 1874), Susan (b. 1879), Charlotte (b. 1881) and finally Benjamin. Both Isaac and Ellen died in March 1917, although the circumstances of their deaths are not known. Benjamin was to die the following month.
In 1901, Ben was living at Peter Street in Burnley with his parents and working as a labourer. In 1906, he married Maria Cunliffe (b. 1881 in Radcliffe). I haven’t traced them in the 1911 Census and one possible explanation is that Ben joined the army. Ben (re-)enlisted in 1914 with 6Bn East Lancashire Regiment but he did not serve abroad with 6Bn (they served in Gallipoli and Mesopotamia). In fact, Ben was transferred to 2Bn and he landed in France on 16 December 1914 to join his Bn in the field. 2Bn came under the orders of 24th Brigade in 8th Division. His Brigade was briefly moved to another Division but was back with 8th Division by June 1916. 8th Division fought in the opening phase of the Battle of the Somme in July 1916, specifically the capture of Ovillers. The Division was back on The Somme in April the following year. This was a relatively quiet period along this sector, nevertheless 2Bn had 6 men killed on 5 April, 7 on 12-13th, 1 on 21st, then Ben was killed on 26th and 3 more men were killed on 28th. This was typical of the sort of casualties that would occur from trenches being shelled or during the period when one battalion was relieving another. Ben was 33 years old.
Service No: 13076
Date of Death: 26/04/1917
Regiment/Service: East Lancashire Regiment, 2nd Bn.
Grave Reference: II. E. 14.
Cemetery: BRAY MILITARY CEMETERY
Ben’s cousin was 308196 PTE. W. H. BRIERLEY. K.L.R. who was killed near Ypres on 30 May 1917.