L/45385 GNR. J. BRIERLEY. R.F.A.
I don’t have enough information to trace this James Brierley in the Censuses. We know from his military record that he came from Rochdale. If you know who this man is, please get in touch via the Contacts Page.
James served with the Royal Field Artillery, in “A” Battery of 211 Brigade. He was a Gunner/Signaller. 211 Brigade came under orders of 66th (2nd East Lancashire) Division. They landed in France in February 1917 and during the summer they took part in Operation Hush (the unsuccessful attempt to take the Channel ports of Zeebrugge ad Oostende from the Germans). Then later that year, they took part in the Battle of Poelcapelle (a phase of the Third Battle of Ypres, or Passchendaele).
In 1918, they took part in the following actions (from The Long, Long Trail):
The Battle of St Quentin~ (21-23 March 1918)
The Actions at the Somme Crossings~ (24-25 March 1918)
The Battle of Rosières~ (26-27 March 1918)
~ the battles marked ~ are phases of the First Battles of the Somme 1918
The Battle of Cambrai^ (8-9 October)
The Pursuit to the Selle^ (9-12 October)
^ the battles marked ^ are phases of the Battles of the Hindenburg Line
The Battle of the Selle, a phase of the Final Advance in Picardy (17-20 October)
On 20-21 October the Division was withdrawn and rested in the Serain area until 1 November. It advanced through Le Cateau from 2 November and had some sharp engagements over the next few days. At the Armistice the advanced units of this Force were on the line Pont de Republique – Grandrieu – east of Sivry – Montbliart.
The Division was selected to march through Belgium as part of the British force for occupying the Rhine bridgeheads. The move began on 18 November and took the Division through Philippeville, Dinant and Ciney. The units billeted in the area Dinant – Huy – Marche – Rochefort and there halted. Demobilisation began here and at midnight 24-25 March 1919 the 66th (2nd East Lancashire) Division, the “Clickety Clicks”, ceased to exist.
The award of James’ Military Cross was announced in the London Gazette on 17 June 1919.