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George Brierley was born in September 1888 in Oldham, and baptised there on 19 September 1888.  His father was Asa Brierley (b. 1862 in Oldham), a cotton spinner.  His mother was Alice Wild (b. 1865 in Oldham).  Asa and Alice were married on 12 April 1886 in Oldham and they had 4 children: Herbert (b. 1887), then George, Frank (b. 1893) and Edith (b. 1900).  I haven’t traced the family in the 1911 Census, but according to Probate data for Asa, who died in 1918, the family lived at 77 Trinity Street, Oldham.


George enlisted with the Manchester Regiment, was assigned service number 38706 and posted to 21stBattalion.  21st (Service) Battalion formed part of 91st Brigade in 7th Division.  George went to France some time in 1916.  His Division took part in the Battle of the Somme, including the capture of Mametz, the Battle of Bazentin and the attacks on High Wood, the Battle of Delville Wood, the Battle of Guillemont and the actions on the Ancre at the end of the year.  In 1917, they were also involved in the German retreat to the Hindenburg Line and the Arras Offensive in April.


On 2 April 1917, 91st Infantry Brigade was tasked with a general attack with the objective of capturing the villages of Croisilles and Écoust-Longate and the intervening ground.  20th and 21st Infantry Brigades were also involved in the same action, on the flanks.  The front being attacked was about 750 yards long.  In advance of the attack a creeping artillery barrage was mounted 200 yards in front of the advance line.  The Germans had dug themselves into their trenches and also occupied a sunken road from which they could launch a counterattack and stiff resistance from machine gun fire and rifle enfilade.  George was killed in this action on 2 April 1917.  He was 28 years old.  On the same day, 2 officers and 19 other men from 21Bn were also killed.  1 officer and 13 men were also reported taken prisoner, all badly wounded.  


Rank:  Private

Service No:  38706

Date of Death:  02/04/1917

Age:  28

Regiment/Service:  Manchester Regiment, 21st Bn.

Grave Reference:  I. A. 17.


Additional Information:  Son of Asa and Alice Brierley, of 77 Trinity Street, Coldhurst, Oldham.



14255 CPL. H. G. BRIERLEY of the 9th Battalion, the Devonshire Regiment was killed on the same day.  This Bn was in 20th Brigade of 7th Division (the same division as 21MANCH.R).

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