2nd LT. G. R. BRIERLEY. K.O.Y.L.I.
George Raworth Brierley was born in the third quarter of 1897 in Cardiff, South Wales. His father was George William Brierley (b. 1873 in Scarrington, Nottinghamshire). His mother was Mary Madeley (b. 1870 in Walsall, Staffordshire). This branch of the Brierley family was upwardly mobile: George’s grandfather (also George, b. 1840 in Long Bennington, Lincolnshire) was a wheelwright running a small workshop with at least 3 apprentices. In 1891, his father George William (aged 17) is show as an architect and surveyor, but he soon changed profession. In 1901, he is working as a lay clerk at Bristol Cathedral and by 1911 he was Assistant Vicar, Choral, at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. George and Mary were married in 1896 and had two children, George Raworth and William Henry (b. 1899). (Incidentally, Raworth is George’s paternal grandmother’s maiden name). In 1911, George Raworth, aged 13, was at school – he attended Alleyn’s School in Dulwich. The school maintains a website to record pupils who served in the First World War, see here.
George left school in 1913 and it is not known what his occupation was when he enlisted, but he would not have been old enough to enlist until late 1915. I have not found any record of his officer appointment in the London Gazette.
George served with 4 Battalion of the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry. This would appear to be 2/4Bn, which was a second-line unit, forming part of 187th Brigade in 62nd (2nd West Riding) Division. They landed at Le Havre on 15 January 1917. In 1917, the Division was engaged in Operations on the Ancre (15 February – 13 March); the German retreat to the Hindenburg Line (14 – 19 March); the first attack on Bullecourt (part of the Arras offensive) (11 April) and the German attack on Lagnicourt (part of the Arras offensive) (15 April). However, I have been unable to find any mention of George Raworth Brierley in 2/4Bn War Diary.
Alleyn’s school website says that: During his service, George was involved in the minor operations that took place near Wancourt in preparation for the Battle of Arras in 1917. During this action, the King’s Own had the task of capturing the trenches between Wancourt and Feuchy and defending them against any German counter-attacks. After leading his battalion in action, George was wounded on 2 April 1917. He was transferred from the front to hospital but later died of his injuries on 1 May 1917.
Rank: Second Lieutenant
Date of Death: 01/05/1917
Regiment/Service: King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, "B" Coy. 4th Bn.
Grave Reference: X. E. 9.
Cemetery: WARLINCOURT HALTE BRITISH CEMETERY, SAULTY
Additional Information: Son of George William and Mary Brierley, of 86 Harlescott Road, Waverley Park, London. Born at Cardiff.