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Henry (Harry) Brierley was born on 11 October 1897 at Mill Hill near Blackburn and baptised at St. Francis, Feniscliffe. His father, also Henry Brierley, was born in 1868 in Preston – occupation iron moulder. His mother was Elizabeth Ann Salisbury born in Kirkham in 1868. Elizabeth already had an illegitimate daughter, Mary Jane b. 1889, when she married Henry Brierley at St. Mark’s Church, Preston on 14th April 1892. Henry Snr died in 1909 and Elizabeth re-married in 1913 to Jesse Kendall (b. 1872 in Preston). Jesse, Harry’s stepfather, enlisted in 1914, although at the time he was above the service age, and was killed at Le Touret on 22 December 1914. He was 4115 PTE. J. KENDALL. L.N.LAN.R.

In 1911, Harry, his mother and sister Isabella and step-sister Mary Jane, were living at 73 Byron Street in Preston, and Harry had just started work (at 13) as an office boy but from the newspaper article, we learn that by the outbreak of War Harry was working as an engine cleaner and living in Lostock Hall. According to UK Soldiers Died in the Great War, he enlisted in Preston and served in 1/4Bn. He landed in France on 13 October 1915 (two days after his 18th birthday).

1/4Bn was engaged in the Battle of the Somme, taking up its appointed place in the line opposite the village of Guillemont on 30 July 1916. Guillemont had proved to be a serious obstacle to Allied progress and the task of the Division was to take the village in order to facilitate the general advance. On the night of 8 August, the battalion assembled in trenches east and west of a road running south from Trones Wood. The attack commenced at 4.20 in the morning, but was not a success. Considerable confusion was caused by the mist and the enemy’s use of smoke bombs. 3 officers and 9 other ranks were initially reported killed, 3 officers and 97 other ranks wounded, and 107 other ranks reported missing. In fact, when the records were finalised, 52 men of 1/4Bn were recorded as losing their lives that day. As with most of the men who fell that day, Harry’s body was never found and he is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial. He was still just 18 years old.BRIERLEY- harry

According to UK Army Register of Soldiers’ Effects, his next of kin and sole legatee was his mother, Elizabeth Ann Kendall. In 1916, on his death, his mother received his effects of £2 6s 11d and after the War she received a War Gratuity of £4 10s.

(I am grateful to Janet Davis for the newspaper article and pointing me in the right direction to find Census information about the Brierley and Kendall families).

Rank:  Private
Service No: 3913
Date of Death: 08/08/1916
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 1st/4th Bn.
Panel Reference: Pier and Face 11 A.
Memorial: THIEPVAL MEMORIAL

Other men from 1/4Bn killed on 8th August 1916:

Captain HENRY LINDSAY M.C.
Captain EDWARD MARMADUKE RENNARD MiD

201226 Private FRED GRIME
200604 Corporal HARRY HALL
200058 Private HENRY HALL
201486 Private JAMES HOGG
4454 Private RICHARD HORNBY
1681 Private RICHARD HOYLE
200063 Serjeant JOSEPH HURLEY
201026 Private JOSEPH INGRAM
201125 Lance Corporal J JACKSON
3929 Private JOHN KELLETT
202031 Lance Corporal CHARLES LARKIN
3252 Private ARTHUR LAW
202068 Private JOHN LEE
201632 Private JAMES MAYOR
1985 Corporal R McCULLOUGH
200664 Private JOSEPH McGOVERN
218 Private HAROLD MORRIS
201660 Private W OBRIEN
200121 Serjeant ERNEST OULDCOTT
202080 Private FRED RAY
1952 Private HENRY RICHARDSON
4307 Private JAMES ROBINSON
1434 Serjeant GEORGE SEDDON
200344 Corporal HUGH SEED
201780 Private ERNEST SMITH
200072 Corporal J SMITH
200882 Lance Corporal T TINSLEY
201721 Private SYDNEY WATERWORTH
4501 Private GEORGE WILLAN
202098 Private JOHN WILSON
201456 Private EDWARD WOODHOUSE
201046 Lance Corporal WILLIAM WOODRUFF
202138 Private FRANK WORSLEY
200505 Private ALBERT WORTHINGTON
4393 Private ARTHUR WRIGHT
201206 Private GEORGE HAROLD YULL

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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