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Arthur William Brierley was born in the first quarter of 1895 in Nottingham.  His father was Philip William Brierley (b. 1870 in Nottingham), a chauffeur working for the owner of Gedling House.  His mother was Frances Markham (b. 1866 in Louth, Lincolnshire).  William (as he was known) and Frances were married in 1892 and they had 4 children: (John) Cecil (b. 1893), then Arthur, Hilda (b. 1899) and finally Annie (b. 1904).  In 1911, the family was living at 7 Marple Street, Nottingham, and Arthur (then aged 16) had started work as an office boy.


Arthur enlisted with the Sherwood Foresters (Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire Regiment), probably after conscription had been introduced in 1916, as he was given a new-style service number: 266960.  He was posted to 2/7 (Robin Hood) Battalion.  Along with 2/5 Bn, 2/7 had been sent to Ireland in April 1916 to quell disturbances there, but in early 1917 it was moved to the Western Front, landing in Le Havre on 26 February.  It seems likely that Arthur joined the Bn then or soon after.


2/7Bn formed part of the 59th (2nd North Midland) Division.  The Division had assembled in France by mid-March 1917, but reports indicated that the Division could not be considered properly trained (largely as it had been split up in Ireland); it did not have any opportunity to add to its training however before it was thrown into the front line south of the Somme, near Estrées.  When the enemy began his strategic withdrawal east from the Somme area towards the Hindenburg Line, 59th Division was among the formations that followed up in cautious pursuit. The lack of training began to be felt in this difficult tactical situation. Units of the Division captured Jeancourt but met a bloody repulse at Le Verguier.  Divisional HQ was established at Bouvincourt in April 1917. Further attacks took place at Villeret and Hargicourt quarries.  It was during these operations, on 27 April 1917, that Arthur lost his life.  He was 22 years old.


2/6, 2/7 and 2/8 Bns of the Sherwood Foresters were all part of 178th Brigade.  The Brigade had 80 officers and men killed that day but the vast majority were from 2/6 and 2/8 Bn, 2/7 losing only two men, Arthur and one other.


Rank:  Private

Service No:  266960

Date of Death:  27/04/1917

Age:  22

Regiment/Service:  Sherwood Foresters (Notts and Derby Regiment), 2nd/7th Bn.

Grave Reference:  I. C. 15.


Additional Information:  Son of Philip William and Frances Brierley, of 7 Marple Street, Alfred Street, Nottingham.


Arthur’s brother Cecil also served with the Sherwood Foresters.  He was 2930 CPL. JOHN CECIL BRIERLEY and he was also in 2/7 Bn.  He enlisted on 1 October 1914 but according to his military records he never served abroad.  He was discharged on 21 August 1916, suffering from tuberculosis.  He died in Nottingham of influenza on 5 December 1918.

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