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Arthur and Ernest Brierley



Arthur Brierley was born in the first quarter of 1897, at Chadderton, Oldham, Lancashire.  His parents were John Arthur Brierley, b. 1860 in Oldham, a stripper and grinder in a cotton mill, and Mary Ellen Newton, b. 1862 in Oldham.  John Arthur and Mary Ellen were married at Werneth St. Thomas in 1884 and had 7 children, though they lost one in infancy.  The 6 surviving children were: Sarah Hannah (b. 1885), John (b. 1887), Minnie (b. 1889), Ernest (b. 1892), Arthur, and finally Alice (b. 1903).  John Arthur died in 1906 and in 1911 his widow and 4 of the children were living at 3 Drummer Street, Middleton Junction (Chadderton).  John (jnr), Ernest and Arthur were all working as piecers in a cotton spinning mill, Alice was still at school.  Sarah and Minnie had married by this time.


Arthur enlisted originally in the Manchester Regiment (16Bn), with service number 28430.  He was later transferred to the Loyals, with service number 27204, serving first in 8Bn, and finally 2/4Bn.  8Bn had suffered heavy losses throughout 1917 and by October it had already been decided to disband the Battalion and distribute the surviving soldiers to reinforce other battalions.  On 4 October the Battalion was at Givenchy and it seems likely that this is the point at which Arthur was transferred to 2/4Bn, which had recently moved to Boesinghe, just north of Ypres, where they went into the trenches on 24th October, as 57th Division prepared to make its contribution to the Second Battle of Passchendaele.


At 3.40 on the morning of 26th October 1917 the Battalion was formed up in its assembly position and moved off to attack at 5.40 and captured their immediate objectives (Mendling and Rubens farms) fairly quickly and with relatively light casualties. In the process, however, all four company commanders had become casualties. The centre of the attack was then held up by heavy fire from German pill boxes. The pill box was eventually taken and a more dominant position achieved, but further advance was impossible due to heavy German machine-gun fire from all sides. The Battalion captured 18 Germans and destroyed several enemy machine-guns. The ground advanced over was very bad, swampy and covered with shell holes.  Arthur was killed during this action.  He was just 20 years old.  His body was never recovered.  His mother had died during the summer of 1916 and his brother Ernest was killed on 15 November 1916 – he was 52523 Pte. Ernest Brierley, 1Bn The King’s (Liverpool Regiment) – so his effects and War Gratuity of £10 were divided among his 4 remaining siblings, each receiving £3 7s 3d.


Rank:  Private

Service No:  27204

Date of Death:  26/10/1917

Regiment/Service:  The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 2nd/4th Bn.

Panel Reference: Panel 102 to 104.



52523 PTE. E. BRIERLEY. K.L.R.


Ernest Brierley was born in the first quarter of 1892 when the family was living at Drummer Street, Chadderton, Oldham.  He enlisted with the King’s (Liverpool Regiment) and was assigned service number 52523 and posted to 1st Battalion.  His Battalion was active throughout the Battle of the Somme (June-November 1916) and he was killed on 15 November 1916 near Beaumont Hamel during the Battle of the Ancre, the very last phase of the Battle of the Somme.  23 other NCOs and men from 1Bn lost their lives that day, half of whom, including Ernest, lay unrecovered on the battlefield.  He was 24 years old.  His mother had passed away a few months earlier.  His older sister Sarah received his personal effects of 19s 6d, and after the War the War Gratuity of £8 10s was paid to his younger sister Alice.


Rank:  Private

Service No:  52523

Date of Death:  15/11/1916

Regiment/Service:  The King's (Liverpool Regiment), 1st Bn.

Panel Reference:  Pier and Face 1 D 8 B and 8 C.


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