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Captain John Lawrence BrindleJohn Lawrence Brindle was born in the first quarter of 1895 in Chorley.  His father was Frederick William Brindle (b. 1868 in Preston), a cotton mill owner.   His family owned the William Brindle & Co. Greenfield Mill at Steely Lane.  His mother was Helen Lawrence (b. 1864 in Chorley).  Frederick and Helen were married in 1892, and John had two sisters, Aldwyth (b. 1893) and Helen Marion (b. 1900).  The family lived at Westwood House, 29 Southport Road.  They were able to afford to send their son to Shrewsbury School where he joined the Army Cadet Contingent.  The London Gazette of 11th November 1913 tells us that: 4th Battalion, The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment; John Lawrence Brindle (late Cadet Colour-Serjeant, Shrewsbury School Contingent, Junior Division, Officers Training Corps) to be Second Lieutenant. Dated 1st October, 1913.  He was 18 years old.

Brindle 1

Captain John Lawrence Brindle

4th Battalion of the Loyals was redesignated 1/4Bn in the Kitchener reforms of 1914 initially forming part of the North Lancashire Brigade in the West Lancashire Division.  In April 1915, the Bn was transferred to 51st (Highland) Division and at this time (12th April 1915) John was promoted Lieutenant, together with Edward M. Gregson and Leslie Duckworth.  (London Gazette, 13th May 1915).

Pictured with other LNL officers from Chorley.

Five 4th Bn. LNL Officers from Chorley. Brindle & Hibbert both lived on Southport Rd.

Lts. Brindle, Gregson and Duckworth were among the 31 officers and 1003 NCOs and men of 1/4th Battalion which landed at Boulogne on 4 May 1915.

The Battalion fought at Festubert in May 1915 then at Givenchy where Lt. Brindle was recorded as wounded on 15th June 1915.  This action was deemed a ‘complete and costly failure’.  For 1/4Bn. “in this its first general action the total casualties numbered 431 killed, wounded and missing”.

I haven’t discovered how bad his wounds were or how long he was out of action for but he was promoted to Captain on 18th September 1915, aged 20.  At this time, the Bn was involved in training New Army Divisions as they arrived in France.  At the end of the year, the Battalion left 51st (Highland) Division and was transferred to 55th (West Lancashire) Division.  In February 1916, they moved to a sector of the front south of Arras, and it was on this front, from May onwards, that raiding parties were regularly engaged in harassing the German lines.  One of his men, Charles Gillett was killed on 28th June 1916 during one such bombing raid and this prompted Capt. Brindle to write to Gillett’s mother.  Gillett was only 22 but Brindle was a year younger.  I recently came across an article in the August 1916 edition of the Preston Guardian about this episode and then discovered that Janet Davis had already written a biography of PTE. C. GILLETT.  I was intrigued to know more about his commanding officer, Captain Brindle, and if he had survived the War.

On 25th July 1916, 55th Division was relieved from its position near Arras and moved south to play its part in the Battle of the Somme, arriving to take its place in the line opposite Guillemont on 30th July.

[Capt. L. Duckworth, who was promoted at the same time as Brindle, was reported as being sent to hospital with 6 other ranks on 31st July 1916.]

Captain John Lawrence Brindle - stood second left

John Brindle is standing, second from the left; Leslie Duckworth is standing on the right.

At some stage Capt. Brindle contracted tuberculosis and died of the disease on 13th March 1918 at the Nordrach-on-Dee Sanatorium at Banchory, Scotland.  He was 23 years old.  He is buried at Chorley Cemetery.

Glen O’Dee Hospital opened on Christmas Eve, 1900, as the “Nordrach-on-Dee” private tuberculosis sanatorium – named by its founder Dr David Lawson in honour of the sanatorium at Nordrach in the Black Forest, Germany, where the open-air treatment of tuberculosis had been pioneered. The sanatorium, built at a time when TB was the biggest killer in Britain, soon gained a reputation for original and successful new treatments and was extended to allow the hospital to increase its patient intake from 36 to 75. Glen O’Dee was one of the first sanatoriums to use X-rays in the diagnosis and treatment of TB and had its own laboratory and X-ray department. Following the First World War, demand dropped as TB began to be successfully treated, and the sanatorium finally closed its doors in 1928. 

Susannah Knight recorded his service in the Chorley Memorial Album in Astley Hall on page CMB/I/155a.

Brindle 2

As John attended the Hollinshead Street Congregational Church he is remembered on their memorial, pictured below.

hollinshead memorial 2hollinshead memorial

His probate was given in favour of his parents and his sister Aldwyth, spinster.  Effects £1207 0s 4d.

I am grateful to Janet Davis for the photo of Lt. Brindle and the grave at Chorley Cemetery, and to Paul McCormick for the group photo. Adam Cree provided the photo of the memorial, plus the church and probate information.

Rank:  Captain
Date of Death:  13/03/1918
Regiment/Service:  The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 4th Bn.
Grave Reference:  A. N.C. 119.
Cemetery:  CHORLEY CEMETERY

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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