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58178 PTE. R. A. BRIERLEY.  Y&L R.


Richard Alfred Brierley was born in the first quarter of 1900 in Bury.  His father was Joseph Brierley (b. 1864 in Bury), a twister and drawer-in in a cotton mill.  His mother was Sarah Ann (maiden name not known).  From the 1911 Census we know that Joseph and Sarah Ann were married in 1898 and they had 6 children, 4 of whom survived infancy.  Richard was the oldest, followed by Sarah (b. 1904), Hilda (b. 1905) and John Edward (b. 1909).  In 1911 they were living at 40 Openshaw Fold, Bury. Richard was only 11 and still at school.


Richard must have been under age when he enlisted, probably in 1916.  He joined the York and Lancaster Regiment, was assigned service number 58178 and posted to 2/4th (Hallamshire) Battalion.  The Bn came under orders of 187th Brigade in 62nd (2nd West Riding) Division.  They landed in France in January 1917.  In the Spring of 1917, 62nd Division were engaged in the pursuit to the Hindenburg Line and the Battle of Arras (at Bullecourt and Lagnicourt).  They were not involved in the Third Battle of Ypres, but they did play a role in the Battle of Cambrai – the tank attack on 20-21 November and the capture of Bourlon Wood (27-28 November).


In 1918, they were engaged in the German Spring Offensive, at Bapaume (25 March) and Arras (28 March).  In the summer, they fought in the Battles of the Marne (Battle of the Tardenois, 20-31 July), and after that they moved back to Arras to fight in the Second Battle of Arras, at the Scarpe (26-30 August) and the Battle of the Drocourt-Quéant Line (2-3 September).  This line of German defences was attacked, and broken, by British and Canadian troops on days 25 and 26 of the 100 Days’ Offensive.  Richard was killed in action on 2 September, aged 18.  57 officers and men from 2/4Bn lost their lives that day.  CWGC lists the ages of 31 of these men, and 18 of them were aged 18.


Rank:  Private

Service No:  58178

Date of Death:  02/09/1918

Age:  18

Regiment/Service:  York and Lancaster Regiment, 2/4Bn

Cemetery/memorial reference: Panel 9.


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