202362 PTE. W. BRIERLEY. K.O.Y.L.I.
Wilfred Brierley was born on 12 January 1884 in Golcar, near Huddersfield. He was baptised at the Methodist New Connexion Chapel in Golcar on 4 March 1888. This was a big family occasion as several of Wilfred’s siblings were all baptised on the same day. Wilfred’s father was Dyson Brierley (b. 1854 in Golcar), a fettler in a woollen mill (he took his unusual first name from his mother’s maiden name). His mother was Ellen Eastwood (b. 1854 in Golcar). Dyson and Ellen were married in 1876 and they had 9 children: John Thomas (b. 1877), Joe (b. 1878), Emily (b. 1881), Louis (or Lewis) (b. 1882), then Wilfred, Fanny (b. 1887), Joseph (b. 1888) (yes, there was a Joe and a Joseph both alive at the same time), Frank (b. 1889) and finally Harry (b. 1892). Ellen died in 1895. Dyson remarried possibly in 1896 or in 1909 but I haven’t found the records. In 1911, he was living with his 6 youngest children at 60 Glen Wood, Wellhouse, Golcar. Wilfred, then 27, was a worsted weaver in a woollen mill. Fanny was looking after the house but all the men in the family worked in the woollen mill. Shortly after the Census was taken, Wilfred married Edith Ashton (b. 1884 in Linthwaite).
Wilfred probably attested in 1915 as he was first assigned service number 5913, but when the new numbers were allocated he was assigned 202632 and posted first to 1/5 then to 1/4 King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry. From May 1915, both battalions came under orders of 148th Brigade in 49th (West Riding) Division, but in February 1918, 1/5Bn transferred to 187th Brigade in 62nd (2nd West Riding) Division. We can assume that throughout his service, Wilfred served with 148th Brigade in 49th Division. He was probably called up in 1916 and sent to France in 1917.
In 1917, 49th Division fought at Operation Hush and later at the Battle of Poelcapelle (9 October).
In 1918, the Division fought during the second phase of the German Spring Offensive – Operation Georgette or the Battle of the Lys (7-29 April). Specifically, they were engaged at Estaires (9-11 April), Messines (10-11 April), Bailleul (13-15 April), the First Battle of Kemmel (17-19 April) and the Second Battle of Kemmel (25-26 April). On 7 April, the Bn was in the line near Gheluvelt and they were relieved the following day. On 10 April, they were moved to Neuve Église where they attempted to hold the line in the face of the enemy assault. Neuve Église fell to the Germans on 13-14 April and on 15 April the Bn withdrew to Kemmel Hill. It was during the fighting for Neuve Église on 13 April that Wilfred was killed. He was 34 years old. From 11-14 April, 1/4Bn had 75 Other Ranks killed; only 8 bodies were recovered for burial.
Service Number: 202632
Date of Death: 13/04/1918
Regiment/Service: King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, 1st/4th Bn.
Grave/Panel Reference: Panel 108-111
Cemetery/Memorial: TYNE COT MEMORIAL
Additional Information: Son of Dyson Brierley, of Wellhouse, Golcar, Huddersfield; husband of Edith Brierley, of 28 Crossley Place, Linthwaite, Huddersfield.