Deal/13878/S PTE. J. E. BRIERLEY. R.M.M.U.
James Elliot Brierley was born on 21 January 1879 at Newchurch in Lancashire. His father was Elliot Brierley (b. 1847 in Heyworth, Lancashire), a woollen felter by trade. His mother was Amelia Hurst (b. 1850 in Kidderminster). Elliot and Amelia were married in 1869. Their children were: Alice Ann (1870-1897), Alfred (1873-1895), Hannah (b. 1875), Moses (b. 1877), then James Elliot, Lizzie Ann (1881-1903), John William (1885-1907), Mary Ellen (b. 1886), and Lily (1888-1923). Elliot died in 1889, just after Lily was born, and in 1894 Amelia re-married. Her second husband was Arthur George Uttley (b. 1857 in Sheffield). It seems they had a daughter, Mary Amelia (b. 1896) and in 1900 she has another son, Thomas, but he appears in the Censuses with the Brierley surname. In 1911, Amelia completes a Census return in which she says she is married, is the head of the household, has been married for 40 years, had 11 children 6 of whom have died, and she is sharing the house with 5 children: Hannah, James Elliot, Lily and Thomas Brierley and Mary Amelia Uttley. They are living at Cutts Farm, Buckstones Road, Shaw, near Oldham. Arthur Uttley at the time was living a couple of miles away, at 62 Manchester Road, Shaw. He says he has been married 16 years, has had 5 children but 4 have died. The family life seems exceptionally fraught, especially with the loss of several of Amelia and Elliot’s children in their late teens and early twenties. Amelia herself died in 1917, whilst James Elliot was serving in the forces.
James Elliot was known in the family as Elliot. He was an insurance agent before he joined up. For some reason, Elliot lied about his age when he enlisted. According to his records with the Royal Marines, he enlisted on 30 April 1915, giving his age as 32 when in fact he was 36. He was posted to 1st (RN) Field Ambulance and he served at the Base Depot Étaples from 18 July 1915 to 5 August 1916. A month later he was invalided home to the UK suffering from Pyrexia of Unknown Origin Laryngitis, and he reported back for duty at Blandford on 16 October 1916. He presumably served there until he was posted back to France as a Qualified First Aid Nursing Orderly, landing in France on 13 February 1918. He joined Cyclist Base Depot Rouen two days later, and was then posted to 148th (RN) Field Ambulance on 3 March 1918.
At the start of 1918, 148th Field Ambulance was stationed at Barastre, just south of Bapaume. In the middle of February, they moved to Metz-en-Couture, 10km further east and closer to the front line. It was here that Elliot joined them on 3 March. On 12 March, the forward area was heavily shelled with mustard gas and as a consequence 56 Other Ranks from the unit were evacuated to 48 Casualty Clearing Station suffering from the effects of gas. 48CCS was based at Ytres. Elliot was among those gassed on 12 March and he died of his wounds at 9th General Hospital Rouen on 16 March 1918. He was 39 years old.
Service No: Deal/13878(S)
Date of Death: 16/03/1918
Regiment/Service: Royal Marines, R.M. Medical Unit, R.N. Div.
Grave Reference: P. VI. B. 3B.
Cemetery: ST. SEVER CEMETERY EXTENSION, ROUEN