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Thomas Brierley was born in the first quarter of 1892 in Oldham.  His father was John James Brierley (b. 1854 in Saddleworth), a one-time coal miner and later property repairer.  His mother was Elizabeth Jackson (b. 1858 in Oldham).  John James and Elizabeth were married in Oldham in 1876 and they had 7 children, 6 of whom survived infancy: Jane Ann (b. 1877), Sarah Ann (b. 1879), James (b. 1887), then Thomas, Clara (b. 1895) and finally Edith (b. 1900).  In 1911, John James, Elizabeth and their three youngest children were living at Mayall Street, Oldham, where John James was a property repairer and Thomas was a piecer in a cotton mill.  John James died probably towards the end of 1915.


Tom was married in 1913 to Annie Swithenbank (b. 1895 in Oldham).  He signed up with the Manchester Regiment, probably in 1915, and was assigned service number 30117 and posted to 3rd Battalion.  3rd (Reserve) Battalion was formed in August 1914 at Ashton-under-Lyne.  It was a depot/training unit, and it moved on mobilisation to the Humber defences at Cleethorpes.  A detail in the Army Register of Soldiers’ Effects tells us that Tom was killed by a bomb from an enemy airship on 1 April 1916.  An account of the Cleethorpes Zeppelin raid can be found here.  84 men from 3rd Bn were in a billet at Cleethorpes when the Zeppelin scored a direct hit. 27 died instantly and another 5 died later from their wounds.  13 of the dead were from the Oldham area.  Tom Brierley had just turned 24.


Rank:  Private

Service No:  30117

Date of Death:  01/04/1916

Age:  24

Regiment/Service:  Manchester Regiment, 3rd Bn.

Grave Reference:  L9. CE. 169.


Additional Information:  Son of the late John James and Elizabeth Brierley; husband of Annie Power (formerly Brierley), of 35 Middleton Road, Oldham.

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