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William Brierley was born in Februray 1878 at Pilkington, near Farnworth, just south of Bolton, and baptised at Prestolee, Holy Trinity on 21 February.  His father was Thomas Brierley (b. 1844 in Ringley), a coal miner.  His mother was Elizabeth Siddall (b. 1843 in Farnworth).  Elizabeth had a son out of wedlock – he was Thomas Siddall (b. 1863 in Kearsley).  Thomas and Elizabeth were married in 1867 and together they had 5 children: James (b. 1870), John (b. 1872), Harriet (b. 1875), then William, and finally Mary (b. 1883).

William was a coal miner, like his father.  In 1898, he married Jane Watson (b. 1880 in Kearsley) and the couple had 5 children: Elizabeth (b. 1899), Thomas (b. 1901), Betsy (b. 1902), Joseph (b. 1905) and Annie (b. 1907).  They also had an adopted son, Harry Moss (b. 1898 in Burnley).  In 1911, the family was living at 134 Cemetery Road, Kearsley.  [William’s adopted son, Harry Moss, served with the Royal Welsh Fusiliers and was killed on the Somme in August 1916].

William attested that he was willing to serve on 11 December 1915 and was initially assigned service number 7311 with 4Bn Loyal North Lancashire Regiment.  At that time, the family was living at 16 Alpine Terrace, Farnworth.  On his attestation form, William declares his trade as a carter, not a collier.  In his medical records he states that he had to give up work as a miner 18 months previously, due to rheumatism.  Had he still been working down the mines he presumably would not have been required to join the army.  He nevertheless passed his medical and is recorded as 5’ 11” tall, weighing 111lb and with a 36½” chest.  He was called up on 8 January 1917 and posted to France on 20 June 1917 and he joined 8Bn in the field on 8 July 1917.  He was listed as missing in action less than a month later, on 6 August 1917.

8th (Service) Battalion of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment was formed in September 1915, and came under orders of 7th Brigade in 25th Division.  On 8 July 1917, Divisional HQ was established at Busseboom and came under orders of II Corps for the opening of the Third Ypres offensive. When the attack began on 31 July, 25th Division was in Corps Reserve, behind 24th, 30th and 8th Divisions which were in the front line. 7th and 75th Brigades, in place at Belgian Chateau, received orders to reinforce the attacking units as early as 8.30am but were not called upon to take up the advance as expected, due to the attack being held up. 7th and 75th Brigades relieved the tired units of 8th Division in the front line of the Westhoek and Bellewaarde ridges on 1 August.  The War Diary states: “1 August. The relief of 2 East Lancs was successfully carried out but was very difficult owing to the lack of definite information about the position held by that regiment and the fact that the relief was carried out in daylight in full view of the enemy who still had GLENCORSE WOOD. 2-5 August. The battalion remained in this position from 1-5 inst.  The conditions were very bad owing to the weather and the difficulties of getting up materials and supplies of all kinds.  Our casualties during this tour were severe and amounted to 7 officers and 147 OR (total casualties, killed, wounded and missing)”.  When the final reckoning was made, 8Bn had had one officer and 45 men killed.  The battalion was relieved on the night of 5 August and spent 6-9 August in Winnipeg Camp.  6 August was recorded as William’s date of death.  He was 39 years old (CWGC incorrectly says 40).  This was his first experience of the trenches.

Rank:  Private
Service No:  203532
Date of Death:  06/08/1917
Age:  39
Regiment/Service:  The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 8th Bn.
Memorial:  YPRES (MENIN GATE) MEMORIAL

Author’s Note

William Brierley was the uncle of 6867 PTE. T. LONGWORTH and 17838 PTE. W. LONGWORTH.

Other men from 8Bn killed 1-6 August 1917 were:

34119 PTE WILLIAM ALDRED 04-08-17
27990 PTE A ARKWRIGHT 06-08-17
26503 PTE A BARRASS 01-08-17
20831 LCPL WILLIAM BATTERSBY 01-08-17
27915 PTE GEORGE LACY BECKETT 02-08-17
17109 PTE JOHN BERRY 03-08-17
36135 PTE RICHARD BROUGHTON 02-08-17
3426 CPL HENRY CALVERT 04-08-17
27930 PTE HARRY CAREY 01-08-17
28002 PTE ALAN CUNLIFFE DAVIES 03-08-17
27057 PTE SYDNEY DAVIES 04-08-17
27080 PTE ALEXANDER DAWSON 04-08-17
27354 PTE HENRY JOHN DEAKIN 01-08-17
15503 PTE RICHARD DERBYSHIRE 05-08-17
28116 PTE JOHN DUCKWORTH 06-08-17
28115 PTE JOHN WILLIAM DUCKWORTH 04-08-17
34698 LCPL ROBERT ELLIOTT 03-08-17
36123 PTE H F FOSTER 01-08-17
30114 PTE T FREEMAN 05-08-17
27954 PTE JOHN FURZE 05-08-17
34093 PTE LEWIS HAIRSINE 01-08-17
27706 PTE THOMAS HARRISON 01-08-17
29526 PTE W HART 04-08-17
27961 PTE ALFRED HEDGES 04-08-17
28009 PTE THOMAS HENRY HOLDEN 04-08-17
LT J D HOWARTH 01-08-17
34250 CPL WALTER THOMAS HYDE 05-08-17
29674 PTE OSCAR EDWIN JONES 02-08-17
24469 PTE EDWIN JOYCE 01-08-17
28013 PTE THOMAS H. W. JURY 04-08-17
29706 PTE ARTHUR METCALFE 06-08-17
24970 PTE ROBERT MORRIS 04-08-17
29882 PTE ROBERT SAMUEL ORDISH 01-08-17
34230 CPL C W PHIPPS 01-08-17
23455 PTE T D PHYPERS 04-08-17
33789 PTE R E RIDLEY 04-08-17
33995 PTE JOSEPH WILLIAM ROGERS 01-08-17
33883 PTE FRANCIS GEORGE SMITH 06-08-17
34219 PTE RAYMOND FREDERICK SMITH 04-08-17
27153 SJT WILLIAM TAYLOR 02-08-17
235172 PTE J TAYLOR 02-08-17
27988 PTE JOHN THOMAS THOMAS 05-08-17
31828 PTE H VEALE 05-08-17
28123 PTE MICHAEL WALSH 02-08-17
34703 PTE WILLIAM HENRY WOODLAND 01-08-17
235177 PTE EDWARD WORDSWORTH 04-08-17

 

Bill Brierley

Bill Brierley

Before taking early retirement in 2007 and returning to his native Lancashire in 2009, Bill Brierley was head of the School of Languages and Area Studies at the University of Portsmouth.Bill has researched his own family history and has developed a further interest in World War 1 especially as it impacted on the villages of Lostock Hall and Bamber Bridge, where his family originates from.Bill has also displayed his work at Lostock Hall library and contributed to other displays at Leyland Library and South Ribble Museum.
Bill Brierley

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