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Herbert Brierley was born in Oldham in November 1879 and baptised at St Mary’s Oldham on 3 December that year. His parents were James Brierley and Martha Fletcher (both b. 1843 in Oldham). James and Martha were married at Chadderton in 1863 and had 10 children: George Fletcher (b. 1864), Mary Ellen (b. 1866), Daniel (b. 1868), Joseph (b. 1871), Albert (b. 1874), Eda (b. 1875), Clara (b. 1879), then Herbert, Sarah (b. 1882) and finally Annie (b. 1885). The family lived at 11 New Street in Oldham and James was a brass finisher. James died in 1909 aged 66.

In 1911, Herbert was living at 40 Pembroke Street, Oldham, with his mother, sister Annie and Martha’s grandson George (possibly Annie’s son). His occupation was listed as grocery porter (his death certificate later records this as grocers warehouseman). Herbert enlisted first with the 16Bn Manchester Regiment with service number 3506 but was later transferred to 8Bn of the Loyals with service number 27206. 16 Manchesters were the 1st City Pals Brigade, raised in 1914 in Manchester from Clarks and Warehousemen and sent to France in November 1915, but Herbert was not in this early draft as he was not awarded the 1915 Star, and we don’t know on what date he joined 8Bn. Both 16 Manchester and 8 L.N.LAN.R. fought and suffered heavy losses during the early days of the Battle of the Somme.

Not much more has been discovered about Herbert’s military service. He died in Whiston Auxiliary Hospital in Liverpool on 29 November 1917, aged 38. His death certificate gives ‘haematuria’ as the cause of death, or blood in the urine, which has many causes which may or may not have been due to or exacerbated by his military service. He is buried at Chadderton, Oldham.

Herbert’s effects of £6 7s 4d were forwarded to his mother and in 1919 a War Gratuity of £7 was paid to his sister Annie.

Rank: Private
Service No: 27206
Date of Death: 28/11/1917
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 8th Bn.
Grave Reference: D. 8. 10.

Bill Brierley
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