235301 PTE. S. BRIERLEY. Y&LR
Stanley Brierley was born in January 1896 in Hadfield, Derbyshire. His father was Joe Brierley (b. 1874 in Holmbridge, Yorkshire). Joe’s branch of the family moved to Derbyshire in the 1880s, which is where Joe met and married Stanley’s mother, Betty Hurst (b. 1873 in Glossop). Joe and Betty were married in 1894 and they had 4 children: Stanley, then Harriet Ann (b. 1897), Florence (b. 1899) and Martha (b. 1904). There is some confusion in subsequent records. In 1911, Stanley and his three sisters were living with their mother Betty at 1 Hole House, Chisworth, Broadbottom, Derbyshire. Joe is not listed as resident on the night of the census and the couple may have separated. At the time, Stanley was working as a machine tenter in a cotton rope factory. CWGC lists Joe Brierley as living after the War at 11 Hambleton Street, Wakefield, Yorks, and his wife Betty at Holehouse, Charlesworth, Broadbottom. (Charlesworth and Chisworth are villages about a mile apart and 2 miles from Broadbottom in Derbyshire). The Army Register of Soldiers’ Effects gives Joe as Stanley’s next of kin and sole legatee, so I think we should assume that Joe and Betty were separated but Stanley was still in touch with is father.
Stanley enlisted at Buxton and initially joined the Notts and Derby Regiment with service number 33998, but he subsequently transferred to the 1/5 Bn Northumberland Fusiliers, with service number 242907, before finally ending up in the 8Bn York and Lancaster Regiment with service number 235301. 8Bn Y&LR came under orders of 70th Brigade in 23rd Division, though from October 1915 to mid July 1916, the Brigade was attached to 8th Division. So they fought through the opening phase of the Battle of the Somme at Ovillers and Pozières with 8th Division before returning to 23rd Division for the later phases. In 1917 23rd Division fought at the Battle of Messines, then at Menin Road and Polygon Wood, phases of the Third Battle of Ypres. However, these latter battles took place in late September, after Stanley was killed (on 17 September). According to CWGC, 8Bn Y&LR had two officers and 27 other ranks killed between 15 and 19 September, so what were they engaged in?
In early September, the Battalion was in billets engaged in training and recreation at Lederzeele in France, about 30 miles west of Ypres. From 11-14 they marched to the Belgian border, receiving a visit from Herbert Bottomley (the popular journalist, orator and propagandist) on one of their stops en route, and on 15 September they went into the trenches to relieve 2Bn Royal Fusiliers near Gheluvelt, east of Ypres, in the trench known as Clapham Junction. This was a ‘normal’ period in the trenches, with the usual shelling of trenches, and on 18 September the Battalion carried out a raid on the enemy trenches when they took 14 prisoners, one of whom was later shot for attempting to escape. They were relieved on 18 September. For these 4 days in the trenches, the War Diary records 2 officers killed and 3 wounded; 23 other ranks killed, 50 wounded (4 of whom died on 19 September) and 20 sick. Stanley Brierley was among the dead. He was 21 years old. Of the 25 officers and men killed, only 4 bodies were recovered, the rest have no grave and are commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial.
Service No: 235301
Date of Death: 17/09/1917
Regiment/Service: York and Lancaster Regiment, 8th Bn.
Panel Reference: Panel 125 to 128.
Memorial: TYNE COT MEMORIAL
Additional Information: Son of Joe Brierley, of 11 Hambleton Street, Wakefield, Yorks; and of Betty Brierley, of Holehouse, Charlesworth, Broadbottom, Derbyshire