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James Brierley was born in 1897 in Rochdale. His father was Robert Brierley (b. 1869 in Rochdale), a builder’s labourer by trade.  His mother was Mary Ann Clark (b. 1865 in Rochdale).  Robert and Mary Ann were married in 1894 and they had 10 children, 4 of whom died in infancy.  The six survivors were: Betsy Jane (b. 1894), Florence (b. 1895), then James, Sarah Alice (b. 1900), Katie (b. 1902) and Helen (b. 1905).


In 1911, the family was living at 20, The Paddock, Rochdale, and James was working as a doffer on a ring frame in a cotton spinning mill.


James enlisted with the Lancashire Fusiliers, probably in 1915 when he turned 18, and was assigned service number 36401 and posted to 9th Battalion.  9th (Service) Battalion was formed at Bury on 31 August 1914 as part of K1 and came under orders of 34th Brigade, 11th (Northern) Division. They sailed from Liverpool on 5 July 1915, going via Moudros to Suvla Bay, disembarking on 6 August 1915.  They were evacuated from Gallipoli in January 1916 and they moved first to Egypt before going on to France in July 1916.  James would have joined them as part of a draft in 1916.  11th Division was in and out of the trenches on The Somme in August and September, and by the middle of the month they were at Mailly Mallet where, on September 22, they practised an offensive operation on a large scale which they were to engage in in a few days.  On the night of the 25th they went into the trenches at Aveluy, from where the assault was to be launched.  They captured Zollern Trench but failed to capture Stuff Redoubt.  This was one of the last major assaults of the Battle of the Somme.  9thBattalion Lancashire Fusiliers had 145 officers and men killed that day, including James Brierley, who was 19 years old.


Rank:  Private

Service No:  36401

Date of Death:  26/09/1916

Age:  19

Regiment/Service:  Lancashire Fusiliers, 9th Bn.

Panel Reference: Pier and Face 3 C and 3 D.


Additional Information:  Son of Robert and Mary Ann Brierley, of 6 Haigh Street, Rochdale

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