Joseph Brearley


Private 236085, West Yorkshire Regiment (Prince of Wales’s Own)

Died 9th October 1917 aged 18

No Known Grave Commemorated Tyne Cot Memorial, Belgium

Son of James and Lydia Ann Brearley

Lived 50, Church Street, Heckmondwike

Joseph was born in early 1899 in Eldon Street, Heckmondwike. His parents were James Brearley born 1873 in Triangle, Halifax and Lydia Ann nee Gregg born in 1872 in Batley Carr. He was the eldest son, but had an older sister, and three younger brothers, Arthur, Horace and Percy and a younger sister. His older sister was called Elizabeth born 1897 and she married Samuel Ellison and she taught for many years at Battye Street Primary School. His younger brother Percy was born in 1902 and he also served in The Great War. After the war Horace married and had children, one of whom was the well known Middlesex and England cricketer Michael Brearley. Another sister of Joseph, Lydia born in 1911, married Robert A Heddon and they lived at Laurel Mount off Cemetery Road along with Samuel and Elizabeth Ellison.

Joseph originally joined the Yorkshire Hussars which was a Cavalry Regiment, but on the 9th October his Regiment joined the 8th West Yorkshire and Joseph was killed on that first day. He was shot through the lung and died instantaneously.

His commanding officer Captain Cecil Foster wrote to the family that “Joseph had a brave and unselfish spirit, and when but a lad of tender years he willingly offered himself to defend his country against Prussian Militarism. He has died a noble death”.

He was a Clerk in the Rate Office before the war and was a choir boy at St. Saviour’s Church, where his name is commemorated, along with War Memorials in St. James’s Church and Heckmondwike Grammar School and also on the Memorial in Green Park.

He has no known grave, but his name is on the Tyne Cot Memorial near Ypres, Belgium.

He was awarded the Victory Medal and the British War Medal.{MA-021}

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