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Herbert Brierley was born on 12 September 1891 in Oldham and baptised there on 5 October.  His father was William Henry Brierley (b. 1856 in Oldham), a labourer in a boiler works.  His mother was Mary Hulmes (b. 1855 in Oldham).  William and Mary were married at Glodwick St Mark’s on 12 July 1875 and they had 8 children but 4 died in infancy.  The surviving children were: William Henry (b. 1876), Eda (b. 1880), Ben (b. 1889) and then Herbert.  In 1911, William and Mary were living at 171 Lord Street, Oldham with Ben and Herbert and Herbert’s soon-to-be wife, Sarah Marshall (b. 1890 in Oldham).  Herbert and Sarah were both piecers in a cotton mill, and they were married the following year on 12 September 1912.  They had a daughter, Lilian, in 1914.


Herbert enlisted with the Manchester Regiment when war broke out and was assigned service number 2220 and posted to 1/10 Battalion.  1/10Bn was raised in Oldham in August 1914 and came under orders of East Lancashire Brigade in East Lancashire Division.  They landed in Gallipoli on 10 May 1915 – Herbert’s medal records indicate he joined them on 15 May.  The formation was renamed 126th Brigade in 42nd (East Lancashire) Division.  They fought in Gallipoli until they were evacuated in late December moving first to Moudros then to Alexandria.  They remained in Egypt throughout 1916 where they were deployed in the defence of the Suez Canal, but in March 1917, they landed in Marseilles and made their way to the Western Front.  At some stage, Herbert was transferred to 2/7Bn and given a new service number, 303438.  It seems likely that this occurred when he arrived on the Western front, as 2/7Bn had arrived there in February 1917.  2/7Bn came under orders of 199th Brigade in 62nd (2nd East Lancashire) Division.  62nd Division was engaged in Operation Hush from 26 June – 25 September 1917; this was the failed attempt to advance along the Belgian coast to take the ports of Oostend and Zeebrugge, from which the Germans were launching their deadly submarine attacks.  They were then moved to Ypres and fought at the Battle of Poelcapelle (6-10 October).  


In 1918, 62nd Division were in the area of Pozières when the Germans launched their Spring Offensive on 21 March.  In the fighting that day, 199th Brigade (2/5, 2/6 and 2/7 Battalions) had 223 officers and men killed, including Herbert Brierley, who was 26 years old.


Rank:  Private

Service No:  303438

Date of Death:  21/03/1918

Regiment/Service:  Manchester Regiment, 2nd/7th Bn.

Panel Reference:  Panel 64 to 67.


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