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Thomas Brierley was born in the first quarter of 1893 in Rochdale.  His father was George Brierley (b. 1865 in Rochdale), a plumber’s labourer.  His mother was Rosanna Wolfenden (b 1869 in Rochdale).  George and Rosanna were married in 1885 and they had 8 children, 7 of whom survived infancy: George Henry (b. 1886), Annie (b. 1889), Joseph (b. 1891), then Tom, Alice (b. 1895), Fred (b. 1899) and finally Ethel (b. 1902).  In 1911, Tom was living with his parents at 33 Heights Lane, Rochdale, and working as a cardroom hand in a cotton mill.


Tom enlisted with the Lancashire Fusiliers at Bury probably in 1914 and was assigned service number 3584 and posted initially to 4th (Extra Reserve) Battalion but then to 2nd Battalion.  He landed in France on 15 May 1915.


2nd Battalion were engaged in the Second Battle of Ypres when Tom joined them on 22 May, along with a party of reinforcements, including 4 officers and 225 men, and they went immediately into the trenches near Wieltje.  They were subjected to shelling and gas attacks on 22-23 May.  2 officers and 12 men were reported killed, but more than 70 others were wounded.  According to his records, Tom died on 1 June 1915 from wounds sustained in action.  He is buried at Aldershot so it is assumed that he was evacuated and died on the way home.  Tom was 22 years old.


Tom’s father, George, died in the first quarter of 1915 so that year was especially distressing for Rosanna and her family.  Rosanna may have died shortly afterwards as by 1919, Joseph (Tom’s older brother) is identified as his next of kin.


Rank:  Private

Service No:  3584

Date of Death:  01/06/1915

Regiment/Service:  Lancashire Fusiliers, 2nd Bn.

Grave Reference:  AF. 1882.


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