52776 LCPL S. BRIERLEY. MM. LANCS.FUS.
Samuel Brierley came from Oldham and served with 1/7Bn Lancashire Fusiliers. About 20 men with his name served in the Army during the War and there are more than a dozen Samuel Brierleys from the Oldham area who could fit the age profile to serve. No attestation papers exist for him so it’s impossible to detect him in the Censuses.
1/7Bn came under orders of 125th (Lancashire Fusiliers) Brigade in 42nd (East Lancashire) Division. They fought in Gallipoli but Sam was not with them. The Division left Gallipoli in December 1915 and then served in Egypt where they were engaged at first in the defence of the Suez Canal, and then as an advance force to protect the building of a water pipeline and railway across the Sinai Desert which would eventually facilitate the campaign in Palestine. However, the army in Egypt was restructured at the end of 1916 and in February 1917 42nd Division was sent to the Western Front.
42nd Division were relatively lightly engaged throughout 1917, but in 1918 they took part in the following engagements (from The Long, Long Trail):
The Battle of Bapaume
The First Battle of Arras
The Battle of the Ancre
These battles are phases of the First Battles of the Somme 1918
The Battle of Albert
The Second Battle of Bapaume
These battles are phases of the Second Battles of the Somme 1918
The Battle of the Canal du Nord
The pursuit to the Selle
These battles are phases of the Battles of the Hindenburg Line
The Battle of the Selle, a phase of the Final Advance in Picardy
The forward units of the Division were at Hautmont and across the River Sambre when the Armistice brought fighting to an end at 11am on 11 November 1918. Not selected to join the Army of Occupation, the Division was visited by King George V on 1 December 1918. Units moved to the Charleroi area between 14 and 19 December and demobilisation began. By midnight 15/16 March the units were down to their last cadres.
The award of Samuel Brierley’s Military Medal was announced in the London Gazette on 17 March 1919.