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Thomas Barry Brierley

Portrait, Weekly News - This image may be subject to copyright

Portrait, Weekly News - This image may be subject to copyright


  • Title
  • Forenames
    Thomas Barry AWMM
  • Surname
    Brierley AWMM
  • Ingoa
  • Also known as
    Barry AWMM
  • Service number
    • WWII NZ417009 AWMM
    • WWII 417009 AWMM
  • Gender
    Male AWMM
  • Iwi
  • Hapū
  • Waka
  • Rohe
  • Religion

Civilian life

About birth

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  • Birth
    27 August 1923 RNZAF Biographies (R17845608) RNZAF Biographies (R17845608)
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Birth notes
  • Address before enlistment
  • Post war occupation
  • Next of kin on embarkation
    • WW2 Roland Brierley (father), 1A Apuka Street, Brooklyn, Wellington, New Zealand AWMM
    • WW2 Parents: Mr. & Mrs. R. E. Brierley of Brooklyn, Wellington AWMM
  • Relationship status


Wars and conflicts

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Military decorations

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Training and Enlistment

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Prisoner of war

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  • Capture details
  • Days interned
  • Liberation date
  • Liberation Repatriation
  • POW liberation details
  • POW serial number

Medical history

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  • Medical notes
    Killed in Action, Cause of Death AWMM
    Killed on air operations AWMM

Biographical information

Biographical information

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    • Eldest son of Roland and Rene Brierley. Brother of Lee.

      Known as Barry. Next of kin details compiled from information in the Casualty lists published in the newspapers.

      Attended Wellington College (Source: RNZAF Biographies (R17845608)) AWMM
    • Served 190 Squadron RAF.

      Killed in action on the first day of the Battle for Arnhem - Netherlands - during 'Operation Market Garden' - the attempted allied invasion of the Netherlands.

      2nd Pilot of Stirling Bomber Mark IV L982.

      Leading the squadron formation Stirling L982 had towed a glider of the British 1st Airborne to the drop zone over Arnhem, and after dropping supplies was turning away to climb when it was attacked by German fighters.

      The Stirling Bomber was shot down and all crew aboard were killed - including 2nd Pilot Warrant Officer Thomas (known as Barry) Brierley of Wellington, New Zealand. Also killed was fellow New Zealander Warrant officer Donald M. Mathewson RNZAF 421331.

      The wife of the pilot later wrote to Mathewson's widow in New Zealand and said
      “I actually met two airborne men who were taken prisoners at the bridge and watched our Stirling come in, leading. They said it was the bravest thing they ever saw in the war”. Public - Jenifer - Researcher - 23 September 2019 - Reference : and RNZAF Museum.
    • Words of Sergeant Jock Walker - of the British Army Film & Photographic Unit - who was on the ground at Arnhem September 1944 :

      "The RAF supply planes and their dispatchers (on board personnel who threw supply canisters from the aircraft to the forces on the ground below) were giants amongst brave men; whenever they came over with supplies (which unfortunately usually fell to the enemy) all the fury of the enemy (German) was directed against them (RAF aircraft) - but steadfastly they flew straight and level through the most fearful 'flak' (anti aircraft fire) - the (aircraft) dispatchers at the (aircraft) doors chucking out the containers - even when repeatedly hit and set on fire; flying on, blazing torches in the sky, until they eventually crashed in flames. What devotion to duty and so sorrowful to watch. There was not a man on the ground that was not moved by this display of courage - and in the main with no benefit to us". Public - Jenifer - Researcher - 7 October 2019 - Reference : (England). Profile of RAF 190 Squadron Stirling IV LJ982 L9-N - of which 2nd Pilot Thomas (Barry) Brierley, of Wellington, New Zealand was a member of the air crew.
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About death

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  • Death
    21 September 1944 AWMM
    Age 21 AWMM
    The Netherlands (Holland)Europe AWMM
  • Date of death
  • Age at death
  • Place of death
  • Cause of death
  • Death notes
  • Cemetery
    Arnhem Oosterbeek War Cemetery, Gelderland, Netherlands AWMM 4. D. 15. AWMM
  • Cemetery name
  • Grave reference
  • Obituary
  • Memorial name
  • Memorial reference



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  • Memorial name

Roll of Honour

Remember Thomas Barry Brierley by laying a poppy.

Leave a note

Leave a tribute or memory of Thomas Barry Brierley

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  • On saturday 14 September 2019 I will run the Airborne Freedom Trailin Arnhem, the Netherlands. Commemorating 75 Years Liberation of the Netherlands. I will lay my remembrance cross with poppy on the grave of Thomas Barry Brieley and Donald Meldrum Mathewson in honour of these heroes. New Zealand has a special place in our hearts.
    Public - Gaston - 14 September 2019



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  • External links
  • References
    • The Evening Post AWMM
    • Martyn, E. (1998-2008). For Your Tomorrow (Vols. 1-3). Christchurch, N.Z.: Volplane Press. AWMM
    • The Evening Post AWMM
    • This record is a work in progress and was partially compiled from the “Database of New Zealand Airmen who took part in Advanced Air Training in Canada during WW2”. Researched by Ivan and Lorna Lindsey of Tauranga. N.Z. 2003 – 2012. Reproduced with permission. AWMM
    • RNZAF [Royal New Zealand Air Force] Biographies of Deceased Personnel 1939 - 1945 (Bound Volumes) - Bo - Cl. Archives New Zealand (R17845608) - Former archives reference: AIR118 AWMM
    • Please note that the 12 volumes of the "RNZAF [Royal New Zealand Air Force] Biographies of Deceased Personnel 1939-1945" held at Archives NZ (formerly known as AIR118) should be used in conjunction with Errol Martyn's "For Your Tomorrow". FYT reflects detailed examination of all of the AIR118 bios which contain many inaccuracies and omissions. AWMM
    • List of RNZAF [Royal New Zealand Air Force] Personnel - List of Personnel Killed or Missing in Various Theatres, 1940 - 1945. [(New Zealanders Attached to R.A.F. [Royal Air Force]) (Officers), (Europe) - Airmen]. Archives New Zealand (R17845744) AWMM


Command item
Command item
Add new record Refresh
DateFirst namesLocationRelationshipContact
07 October 2019JeniferWairarapa, New ZealandResearcher
14 September 2019Gaston The NetherlandsOther

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