204104 PTE. E. BRIERLEY. MM. E.LANCS.R

 

Edward Brierley was born on 7 November 1893 in Haslingden and baptised there on 28 January the following year.  His mother was Mary Ann Brierley (b. 1873 in Haslingden), a cotton weaver.  Mary Ann was unmarried when Edward was born.  In 1895, she married John Robert Haworth (b. 1872 in Waterfoot), a firebeater in a slipper works.  John may have been Edward’s father, though in the 1911 Census Edward is listed under his mother’s surname even though he is living with John and Mary Ann and their 5 other children.  They lived at 1 Booth Place, Boothfold, Waterfoot.  Edward was working as a bobbin carrier in the card room of a cotton spinning mill.

 

Edward enlisted when War broke out; he joined the East Lancashire Regiment and was assigned service number 1469 and posted to 6th Battalion.  His service number was later changed to 240104 and at some stage he was transferred to the Labour Corps and given a third service number, 654693.

 

6th (Service) Battalion of the East Lancashire Regiment came under orders of 38th Brigade in 13th (Western) Division.  After training in the sough of England, the Division left Avonmouth on 16 June 1915 and landed at Gallipoli on 7 July 1915.  Edward was with them.  He fought through the Gallipoli campaign and the Division was evacuated from the peninsula in December 1915, going first to Moudros then on to Egypt in January 1916.  After a brief period of rest and refitting they were sent to Mesopotamia in February 1916.

 

Their initial task in Mesopotamia was to relieve the Bristish and Indian forces besieged at Kut-al-Amara.  The attempted relief failed and Kut fell in April.  General Sir Stanley Maud was then given command of the Mesopotamian force and throughout the summer he reorganised the force and strengthened communication and supply lines.  The campaign was renewed at the end of the year and eventually Baghdad was captured in March 1917.  Once Baghdad had been taken, the British sought to consolidate their occupation. 

 

There are no citations for the Military Medal.  Edward’s award was announced in the London Gazette on 12 July 1918.  There were a number of military engagements towards the end of 1917, so it could have been then.  In 1918, there was relatively little fighting and many of the troops were engaged in building and maintaining roads, so that may have been when Edward was transferred to the Labour Corps.

 

The Ottoman Empire finally sought an armistice on 31 October 1918.  By 31 December 1918, all areas north of Kirkuk had been evacuated. On 11 January 1919, the Division – by now only some 12,000 strong – began to move south to Amara, and disbandment of the Division proceeded there during February 1919.  13th (Western) Division, the only wholly British Division to have served in Mesopotamia, ceased to exist on 17 March 1919. During the war it had suffered 12,656 killed, wounded and missing, and 57,667 went sick (most of whom returned to duty, and this figure will include men who reported on more than one occasion).

 

It appears from the records as if Edward returned to Haslingden and died in 1932, aged only 38.  Clearly his service in Gallipoli and Mesopotamia had taken its toll.

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