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John William Brierley was born in the first quarter of 1895 in Rochdale.  His father was Joseph Henry Brierley (b. 1872 in Rochdale), a railway platelayer.  His mother was Ada Harris (b. 1874 in Rochdale).  Joseph and Ada were married in 1894 and they had 11 children, 9 of whom survived infancy.  John William was their first born, then came Joseph Holden (b. 1896), Ann Ellen (b. 1898), Frank Harold (b. 1899), Ruth (b. 1902), Nora (b. 1906), Evelyn (b. 1907), Doris (b. 1909) and finally Harry (b. 1910).  In 1911, the whole family (parents and nine children) were living at 2 Robinson Street, Rochdale – a 2-up, 2-down.  John William was working in a cotton mill as a bobbin carrier.


John signed up in Rochdale at the outbreak of War, joining the Lancashire Fusiliers.  He was assigned service number 8584 and posted to 1/6 Battalion.  1/6Bn were formed in Rochdale in August 1914 and formed part of the Lancashire Fusiliers Brigade in the 42nd (East Lancashire) Division.  The 42nd was the first Division of the new Territorials to be sent abroad.  They went to Egypt in September 1914, where they were initially involved in the defence of the Suez Canal, and thence to Gallipoli, where they landed on 5 May 1915.  The East Lancashire Division began to embark at Alexandria on 1 May 1915. The first transports left next day, and the last on 6 May. 14,224 men of the Division landed at Cape Helles. The Division was involved in three notable attempts to break out of the Helles bridgehead to capture the dominating heights around the village of Krithia. These attacks took place on 6-8 May (in which only the Lancashire Fusiliers Brigade of the Division took part), 4 June and 6-13 August.  It was during the second of these attacks that John lost his life, on 6 June 1915.  He was 20 years old.  On 4-6 June, 1/5 and 1/6 Battalions (both of 42nd Division) had 104 officers and men killed.  By August, through battle casualties and sickness, the 42nd Division would be reduced to one third of its normal establishment.


Rank:  Private

Service No:  8584

Date of Death:  06/06/1915

Regiment/Service:  Lancashire Fusiliers, 1st/6th Bn.

Panel Reference:  Panel 58 to 72 or 218 to 219.


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