top of page



Charles Edward Brierley was born in Rochdale in March 1881 – he was just a month old when the Census was taken on 8 April.  He was baptised at Rochdale St. Chad on 19 June that year.  His father was James Brierley (b. 1852 in Rochdale), a joiner by trade.  His mother was Sarah Milne (b. 1852 in Rochdale).  James and Sarah were married in 1873 and they had 7 children: John Thomas (b. 1874), Annie (. 1875), Frank (b. 1878), then Charles, then James Arthur (b. 1884), Sarah Hannah (b. 1884) and finally Harry (b. 1889).  James and Sarah appear both to have died in 1908.  Charles Edward was a plasterer’s apprentice and then house painter.  In 1904 he married Mary Canavan (b. 1883 in Lahardane, Co. Mayo, Ireland).  Mary had come to England with her widowed mother and three siblings in the late 1880s and the family had settled in Rochdale.  Charles and Mary had two children: Frank (b. 1906) and Leo (b. 1907).

Charles enlisted with the Lancashire Fusiliers, being assigned service number 36133 and posted to 1stBattalion.  1Bn had served at Gallipoli but Charles’ medal card does not show a date, meaning that he joined them presumably when they went to France, sometime after March 1916.  The Battalion came under orders of 86th Brigade in 29th Division.  29th Division fought on the Somme, at Albert on the opening days and later at Transloy Ridges.  In 1917, they fought through the Battle of Arras and later in the year they were sent to the Ypres Salient where they fought at Langemark (16-18 August), and then at Broodseinde (4 October) and Poelcappelle (9 October).  The map shows the position of 29th Division on 9 October, near Langemark.  These two operations were part of a new tactic adopted by General Plumer, the so-called ‘bite and hold’ tactic.  Charles was wounded and died of wounds at Dozinghem on 10 October.  He was 36 years old.  1Bn had 53 officers and men killed at Poelcappelle.


Rank:  Private

Service No:  36133

Date of Death:  10/10/1917

Age:  36

Regiment/Service:  Lancashire Fusiliers, 1st Bn.

Grave Reference:  IX. J. 18.


Additional Information:  Son of James and Sarah Brierley; husband of Mary Brierley, of 55 Redcross Street, Rochdale.

Charles’ brother, James Arthur, emigrated to Canada where in 1911 he married Phoebe Ann Collins.  The couple lived in Toronto.  There, on 21 January 1916, James enlisted in the Canadian Army, serving with the Canadian Engineers.  He was 502419 Sapper J. A. Brierley.  He served through the War but I have few details.  He was demobbed in 1919.

poelcapelle 1917.png
bottom of page