40127 PTE. L. BRIERLEY. LANCS.FUS.
Lawrence Brierley was born on 23 March 1888 in Blackburn and baptised at Christ Church, Blackburn, on 8 April that year. His father was Adam Brierley (b. 1851 in Blackburn), a flagger and slater by trade. His mother was Mary Metcalf (b. 1851 in Livesey). Adam and Mary were married in Blackburn in 1875 and they had 11 children in all, nine of whom survived infancy: Jane Alice (1878-95), Ann (b. 1879), George (b. 1882), Nathaniel (b. 1884), James Robert (b. 1886), then Lawrence, Mary Ellen (b. 1890), Adam (b. 1893), and their last daughter (b. 1896) whom they named Jane Alice after their first daughter who had just died. Adam died the following year, aged just 46, so Mary was left to bring up the family. In 1911, Mary was living with 6 of her children at 85 Rockcliffe Street, Blackburn. Most of the children worked in the cotton mills, Lawrence was a spinner. In 1913, Lawrence married Jane Whalley (b. 1888 in Blackburn), who also worked in the mills, as a weaver.
Lawrence enlisted in the Lancashire Fusiliers, probably in late 1915 or early 1916, and was assigned service number 40127 and posted to 9th Battalion. 9th Battalion came under orders of 34th Brigade in 11th (Northern) Division. They had fought at Gallipoli although Lawrence joined them when they went to France in July 1916. That year, the Division fought at Flers-Courcelette and Thiepval during the Battle of the Somme. In 1917, they fought on the Ancre, then at Messines, and during the Thrid Battle of Ypres they fought at Langemark, Polygon Wood, Broodseinde and Poelcapelle. In December 1917, the Bn was in and out of trenches in the front line near Béthune and at the end of the month they were billeted in the village of Lapugnoy where they began a three-week training period. On 22 January 1918, they returned to the front line in trenches near Hulluch, south of La Bassée. That night, the enemy renewed heavy shelling after a relatively quite period lasting about a month. The Battalion remained in the trenches from 23-28 January, during which time there was no heavy fighting, but a number of raids on enemy trenches, though only one resulted in contact with the enemy. In fact, during this period, the Battalion received notification that it was to be disbanded, which occurred the following month.
The War Diary records just one OR killed in the month of January, that was Lawrence Brierley. He was 29 years old.
Service No: 40127
Date of Death: 25/01/1918
Regiment/Service: Lancashire Fusiliers, 9th Bn.
Grave Reference: III. B. 14.
Cemetery: PHILOSOPHE BRITISH CEMETERY, MAZINGARBE
Additional Information: Son of Mary Brierley, of Blackburn; husband of Jane Brierley, of 85 Rockcliffe Street, Blackburn.