BRIERLEYS IN WW1
64799 PTE. E. B. BRIERLEY. M.G.C. (I)
Edward Bennett Brierley was born on 8 September 1883 in Halifax, West Yorkshire. He was baptised at Halifax St Augustine on 10 October. His father was Charles Edward Brierley (b. 1842 in Ashton Under Lyne), a pharmacist and chemist. His mother was Jane Wallace (b. 1848 in Wardle, near Crewe, in Cheshire). Charles and Jane were married in 1875 and they moved to Halifax shortly afterwards and they lived there til the late 1880s. They had five children: John (b. 1876), Gertrude (b. 1877), George (b. 1879), then Edward, and finally Florence Mary (b. 1888). In the late 1880s, they moved to Rock Ferry, then Birkenhead (1901) and finally Liscard (1911). In 1911, Edward was still living with his parents, at 2 Clifton Grove, Egremont, Cheshire, and he was working as a clerk (book-keeper) in the accounts department of Burnaby Chantrell, a firm making lubricating oils.
Edward enlisted at Wallasey on 24 November 1915. His firm applied for military exemption on the grounds that his work was vital. Edward may have been granted temporary exemption but he was called up on 10 May 1916. He originally stated a preference to serve with the Royal Field Artillery but after an initial posting to them he was transferred first to the Lancashire Fusiliers then finally to the Machine Gun Corps. He was assigned service number 64799. Whilst still in training in England he was briefly promoted to Lance Corporal (14 February – 9 April 1917), but he was back as a Private when he landed in France on 11 April 1917. He was then posted to 9 Coy MGC whom he joined in the field on 26 April 1917.
9 Coy were attached to 3rd Division. When Edward joined them, 3rd Division were engaged in the Battles of the Scarpe, so Edward may have been involved in the Battle of Arleux (28-29 April 1917) and the Third Battle of the Scarpe (3-4 May 1917). These were the closing phases of the Battle of Arras (9 April – 16 May 1917) which had seen spectacular success in the first couple of days, followed by stalemate and a failure of the British forces to break through the German lines. 3rd Division were then moved to the Ypres salient where they fought at the Battle of the Menin Road Ridge (20-25 September 1917) and the Battle of Polygon Wood (26 September – 3 October). It was here at Polygon Wood that Edward was killed on 28 September 1917. He was 34 years old.
Service No: 64799
Date of Death: 28/09/1917
Regiment/Service: Machine Gun Corps (Infantry), 9th Coy.
Panel Reference: Panel 154 to 159 and 163A.
Memorial: TYNE COT MEMORIAL
Additional Information: Son of Charles Edward and Jane Brierley, of 21 Carrington Road, Wallasey.
Edward’s brother George enlisted the day after Edward, on 25 November 1915, and he was posted to 1/4Bn Cheshire Regiment with service number 5204. George was 36 and married (to Winifred Eleanor (maiden name not known)). He was called up on 23 March 1916. He served with 1/4 Cheshires in the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force, landing with reinforcements at Alexandria in Egypt on 24 July 1916. 1/4 Bn came under orders of 159th Brigade in 53rd (Welsh) Division and during 1917 they fought in the Palestine Campaign. George had suffered various bouts of illness in Egypt in 1916 but he rejoined his unit at Lahamdiyah (Al-Ahamdiyah or El-Ahmadiye in the Golan Heights) on 10 January 1917. He served in Palestine throughout 1917 but in January 1918 he was transferred to the Labour Corps with a new service number, 362163. In May 1918 he was granted three weeks’ leave back in the UK but he returned to Egypt after that and remained there for the rest of the War. He was demobilised in August 1919. He returned to the Wirral where he died in 1957.