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Harold Greenwood Brierley was born in the second quarter of 1893 in Rochdale.  His father was Benjamin Brierley (b. 1869 in Rochdale), a power loom overlooker in a cotton mill.  His mother was Emily Greenwood (b. 1870 in Rochdale).  Ben and Emily were married in 1890, and they had one other child after Harold, his sister Edith (b. 1897).  Emily died in 1909, aged 39.  In 1911, Benjamin was living with his two children at 45 Maud Street, Rochdale.  Harold was a cotton weaver and Edith was looking after the house.


Harold enlisted with the Devonshire Regiment.  He was assigned service number 14255 and posted first to 11 (Reserve) Battalion and then transferred to 9th (Service) Battalion.  He joined 9Bn in the field some time in 1916.  From August 1915, 9Bn formed part of 20th Brigade in 7th Division. In 1916, this Division took part in the Battle of the Somme, including the capture of Mametz, the Battle of Bazentin and the attacks on High Wood, the Battle of Delville Wood, the Battle of Guillemont and the actions on the Ancre at the end of the year.  In 1917, they were involved in the German retreat to the Hindenburg Line and the Arras Offensive in April.  Sometime during this period Harold was promoted to Corporal.


On 2 April 1917, 91st Infantry Brigade was tasked with a general attack with the objective of capturing the villages of Croisilles and Écoust-Longatte and the intervening ground.  20th (ie. Harold’s Brigade) and 21st Infantry Brigades were also involved in the same action, on the flanks.  The front being attacked was about 750 yards long.  In advance of the attack a creeping artillery barrage was mounted 200 yards in front of the advance line.  The Germans had dug themselves into their trenches and also occupied a sunken road from which they could launch a counterattack and stiff resistance from machine gun fire and rifle enfilade.  Harold was killed in this action on 2 April 1917.  He was 24 years old.  9Bn Devonshire Regt. had 4 officers and 24 other ranks killed that day, including Harold.


Rank:  Corporal

Service No:  14255

Date of Death:  02/04/1917

Regiment/Service:  Devonshire Regiment, 9th Bn.

Grave Reference:  III. E. 21.



38706 PTE. G. BRIERLEY. MANCH.R. was killed in the same action on the same day, a few hundred yards away.

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