892 PTE. G. BRIERLEY. R.J.G.B.
Guy Brierley was born in the third quarter of 1884 in Lees, near Oldham. He was baptised on 1 September 1886 at Leesfield St Thomas. His older brother Fred was also baptised on the same day. Their father was Eli Brierley (b. 1855 in Saddleworth), an iron driller working in an iron foundry. Their mother was Mary Ann Lowe (b. 1855 in Lees). Eli and Mary Ann were married in 1878 and they had 6 children, all of whom survived: Mary Jane (b. 1878), Fred (b. 1882), then Guy, Booth (b. 1888), Martha (b. 1891) and finally Joseph Herbert (b. 1892). In 1911, the family was living at 33 Church Street, Lees. Booth had married by this time, but the rest of the family, along with Mary Ann’s mother and brother Joseph (so in total 9 adults aged from 18-80) were living in the house with just 5 rooms. Eli was working in the iron foundry but all the other working adults were in the mill; Guy was a cotton cop packer.
Mary Ann died in 1914 and Eli the following year, and Guy got married in 1914, not long after his mother died, to Miriam Lees. She was probably from Failsworth, as that is where the couple were married. They had two daughters: Lily (b. 1915) and Miriam (b. 1917). Guy attested he was willing to serve in the Army on 17 November 1915; at the time he was living at 31 Wesley Street, Failsworth. He was first posted to the Reserves, with the Manchester Regiment with service number 32125, then to the Leicestershire Regiment, but he remained in the reserves until being transferred to the Royal Defence Corps in September 1917. He may also have been posted to the Durham Light Infantry. There are no medal records for Guy in any of these regiments so it is assumed he didn’t serve abroad. He died in service with the Royal Jersey Garrison Battalion of the Channel Islands Militia on 31 October 1918. During the war the Militia provided part of the guard for the German POW camp at Blanches Banque at St Brelade. The record of his death unfortunately does not state the cause of death, but this is the height of the influenza pandemic, so that is a possible cause. Guy was 34 years old, leaving a wife and two young daughters.
Service No: 892
Date of Death: 31 October 1918
Regiment/Service: Royal Jersey Garrison Battalion, Channel Islands Militia
Cemetery: ST. HELIER (ALMORAH) CEMETERY, JERSEY
Additional Information: Son of Eli and Mary Ann Brierley, of Lees, Oldham; Husband of Miriam Brierley, of 31 Wesley Street, Failsworth, Manchester.
As if the War wasn’t bad enough, there were several personal tragedies for this branch of the Brierley family. Mary Ann died in 1914 and Eli the following year. Guy’s brother, Booth Brierley died in 1916, aged 28, leaving a wife and young son. Another brother, Joseph Herbert, died in 1918, a couple of months before Guy, apparently in the workhouse. He was only 25.