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17913 (CH). PTE. J. BRIERLEY. R.M.L.I.

Jesse Brierley was born on 13 December 1894 at Arnold, Nottinghamshire.  His father was Arthur Brierley (b. 1862 in Arnold), a brewery labourer.  His mother was Sarah Ann Reynolds (b. 1866 in Wellow, Notts.).  Arthur and Sarah Ann were married in 1887 and they had four sons: Josiah Frederick (b. 1889), William Henry (b. 1891), Robert Arthur (b. 1893), then Jesse.  Arthur died in 1898 and the following year Sarah Ann remarried.  Her second husband was Charles Blackman (b. 1848 in Portsmouth) and together they had a daughter, Violet Emily (b. 1905).


Jesse enlisted in the Royal Marine Light Infantry on 11 April 1913, aged 18.  He was assigned service number 17913.


On 1 January 1915, Jesse was serving on HMS Formidable.  HMS Formidable, the third of four ships of that name to serve in the Royal Navy, was the lead ship of her class of pre-dreadnought battleships. Commissioned in 1904, she served initially with the Mediterranean Fleet, transferring to the Channel Fleet in 1908. In 1912, she was assigned to the 5th Battle Squadron, which was stationed at Nore, in the Thames estuary.  Following the outbreak of War, the squadron conducted operations in the English Channel, and was based at Sheerness to guard against a possible German invasion. Despite reports of submarine activity, early in the morning of 1 January 1915, whilst on exercise in the English Channel, Formidable sank after being hit by two torpedoes. She was the second British battleship to be sunk by enemy action during the First World War.  The sinking claimed the lives of 35 officers and 512 men from a total compliment of 780.

For more information about the sinking, see here.

Jesse Brierley was 20 years old.


Rank:  Private

Service No:  CH/17913

Date of Death:  01/01/1915

Regiment/Service:  Royal Marine Light Infantry, H.M.S. "Formidable."

Panel Reference:  13.


Jesse’s brother, Josiah Frederick, enlisted with the Sherwood Foresters

(service number 12513) on 17 August 1914, but was discharged just over

a month later when he was found to be suffering from tuberculosis.

Jesse’s brother Robert Arthur also served with the Sherwood Foresters

(service number 18691) and he was awarded the Distinguished Conduct

Medal in 1918.

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