37541 PTE. J. BRIERLEY. LANCS FUS.
I have not been able to find any conclusive family information for James Brierley. From UK Army Register of Soldiers’ Effects we know his father’s name was Charles. And from Soldiers Died in the Great War, we know he enlisted in Salford. There is a James Brierley who was born on 22 March 1892 in Salford and baptised at Brindle Heath St Anne’s on 6 April. His mother was Ellen (maiden name possibly Harvey), but I haven’t been able to trace the family in the Census records.
James enlisted in Salford with the Lancashire Fusiliers (initial service number 3347) and was posted to 1/8 Battalion. 1/8 Bn was raised in Salford in August 1914, and James joined them in Gallipoli on 22 October 1915. By then most of the fighting there was dying down and plans were beginning to be made for the withdrawal. Nevertheless, the winter conditions were appalling and many men were dying from exposure as well as shelling and sniper fire. The troops were withdrawn to Moudros at the end of December and then transferred to Egypt. During the spring James was transferred to 2Bn which was part of 12th Brigade in 4th Division. They fought in the opening phase of the Battle of the Somme, at Albert, and later at the Battle of Le Transloy. This battle, from 1-24 October, was the final British offensive of the year. It achieving nothing as the battlefield had been reduced to a swamp by persistent rain and artillery bombardment. Mist and fog made the conditions atrocious.
During October 1916, the Lancashire Fusiliers had 419 officers and men killed. Of these, 273 were in 2Bn. Action on 12 October claimed 143 lives and further action on 23 October claimed another 82 lives, among whom was James Brierley. Given that the Battalions were operating at little more than half strength, these casualties are horrendous. James was 24 years old, assuming he's the James Brierley identified above from baptismal records.
Service No: 37541
Date of Death: 23/10/1916
Regiment/Service: Lancashire Fusiliers, 2nd Bn.
Panel Reference: Pier and Face 3 C and 3 D.
Memorial: THIEPVAL MEMORIAL