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WALKER

Bradley, J.R., Pte., 1916

Illustrated Chronicle

Medal Index Card

In Wallsend Church Bank Cemetery is a family headstone which reads:

In loving memory of
John Robert
dearly beloved husband of
Mary Bradley
died Dec. 16th 1912 aged 45 years.
R.I.P.
----
also their eldest son
Private James Robert, 5th N.F.
who was killed in action in France
Sept. 11th 1916 aged 20 years.
R.I.P.
Also the above
Mary Bradley
(the rest has eroded)

On the Thiepval Memorial is the name of 1651 Private James Robert Bradley, serving with the 1/5th Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers, who died on the 11th September 1916.

Known as 'Bob' or 'Bobbie' James Robert Bradley was born in 1896 in Walker. His parents were John Robert and Mary (nee Williamson) and he was one of 9 surviving children; Elizabeth Ann (born 1888), Isabella (born 1889), Mary (born 1891), Bridget Annie (born 1893), Margaret (born 1894) James Robert (born 1896), Joseph (born 1898), George William (born 1902) and Catherine (born 1905). Sadly two infants did not survive, who were Ada (born 1900) and Hannah (born 1903).

In the 1891 Census return the family are living at 14 Slag Row in Walker and in both the 1901 and 1911 Census they are found at 73 Benton Way in Wallsend. Father John Robert was working at the shipyard as a labourer/crane driver and Mary and Annie were both employed at the Haggie Ropeworks factory.

James Robert worked at the Swan Hunter & Wigham Richardson Shipyard in Wallsend when he enlisted at Walker into the 1/5th Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers, and served as a Private with service number 1651.

The 1/5th Battalion was raised in Walker as part of the Northumberland Brigade, Northumbrian Division. It was a unit of the Territorial Force and its Head Quarters were based at the Drill Hall in Walker, Newcastle upon Tyne with 'A' 'B' and 'C' Companies.
'D' Company was based at the Drill Hall in Newburn, 'E' and 'F' Companies were at St. George’s Drill Hall in Wallsend and 'G' and 'H' Companies were based at the Drill Hall in Gosforth. The Battalion proceeded to France in April 1915, and then joined the 149th Brigade, 50th (Northumbrian) Division in May.

On the 18th April 1915 the transport and machine gun section left Blyth for Southampton to board the S.S. Achimedes for Havre. The remainder of the Battalion (27 officers and 915 ordinary ranks) left Blyth two days later and embarked at Folkestone aboard the S.S. Victoria ship nu 123811 arriving at Boulogne at 10.30pm. The men proceeded to St. Martin’s Camp, which was about 3 miles from the landing stage.
James Robert would have been 19 years of age when he arrived in France on the 20th April 1915 with his Battalion
The 1/5th Battalion soon saw their first action, and their first casualties. Five men were wounded on the 24th April by shrapnel while passing through Ypres, the War Diary states 'Lay in a field just beyond Ypres for 2 hours under heavy shell fire'. The shelling continued the next day near Wieltze and the men had to stop and dig in and another 22 soldiers were wounded.

Over the course of the war the 1/5th battalion Northumberland Fusiliers fought in The Second Battle of Ypres in 1915, The Battle of the Somme in 1916, The Arras Offensive and The Second Battle of Passchendaele in 1917 and The Somme and The Battles of the Lys and Hindenburg Line in 1918.

James Robert appears in the wounded lists of the Northumberland Fusiliers (St. George’s Gazette) dated 31st July 1916, but he must have recovered from his wounds and returned to the front to re-join his Battalion.
September 1916 began at Henencourt, with training for the men although the rain caused them some disruption. The 3rd September is noted as a holiday in the War Diary, and the 7th was Divisional Field Day - Battalion had dinners in the field after operations were over.
The next day (8th) the Battalion moved from Henencourt Wood at 1.30pm and marched through Albert to the Quadrangle (trench), and finding it occupied they went into dugouts at Lozenge Wood.
On the 9th September the Battalion were at Contalmaison, and they moved back to the Quadrangle where they were under temporary orders from the 44th Brigade, 15th Division, whom they were to relieve. Three companies & HQ were to go at 1pm to relieve the 8th Black Watch in the line, which was carried out by 4pm.
At 4.45pm the same day the War Diary describes how 1st Division (on their right) attacked High Wood but the attack failed and there was heavy shelling, which lasted most of the night.
At 7.30pm the last remaining company came up and went into the front line, the relief completed by 10.30pm. By midnight the shelling had lessened, the casualties from midday on the 9th September to midday 10th September were 4 wounded in total; Captain P. Ransom and 3 ordinary ranks.

Now at Martinpuich, the Companies were to be placed as follows:
'D' Coy. – Clark’s Trench and Bethell’s Sap
'B' Coy. – Brecon Trench
'A' Coy. – Argyle Street
'C' Coy. – Chester Street
H.Q. – Mill Street

At midday on the 10th September there was intermittent shelling during the day but it was quiet through the night, and orders were received (11pm) to take over some more front line on the left, so 'B' Company was sent to Swansea Trench with 'A' Company to support the trenches behind. The relief was carried out successfully by 7am on the 11th.
Additionally orders to move Headquarters to the Quarry were received and carried out. Casualties from midday 10th September to midday 11th September were 7 men wounded.

From 3pm-5pm on the 11th 'B' Company in Clark’s Trench was heavily shelled, and later that night the Germans opened a heavy barrage on the front line followed by machine gun fire which caught 'C' Company passing through Clark’s Trench and they suffered some casualties.
By midnight the 47th Division (who had relieved 1st Division) had taken over the strong point on extreme right of Clark’s Trench, and also Chester Street. Casualties from midday 11th September to midday 12th September were in total 13 men killed and 37 wounded.

James Robert Bradley was killed on the 11th September 1916, age 20 years. He left his heartbroken sweetheart behind, Maggie Richardson from 19 Diamond Row, Walker.

His effects were to be divided between his mother Mary and siblings Joseph, Mary, Margaret (Blake), Elizabeth (Thompson) Isabella (Blair) and Annie (Patterson).
James Robert was awarded the 1914/15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal for his services in the Great War.

Newcastle Evening Chronicle dated 26th September 1916
BRADLEY – Killed in action, Sept. 11th, 1916, aged 20years, James Robert (Bob) Bradley, dearly beloved son of Mary and the late John Roberts Bradley, 73, Bentonway, Wallsend. Some day, some time my eyes shall see, The face I loved so well; Some day my hand shall clasp in his, Never to say farewell. Eternal rest give him O Lord, And let perpetual light shine on him. May he rest in peace. On his soul sweet Jesus have mercy. No matter where I pray dear son, No matter how I call thee, There’s nothing left to answer, But your picture on the wall. Ever loved and remembered by his loving mother, sisters, and brothers. Deeply mourned. R.I.P.

BRADLEY – Killed in action, September 11th, 1916, aged 20, James Roberts (Bob) Bradley, dearly beloved son of Mary and the late John Roberts Bradley, 73, Benton Way, Wallsend. I mourn for you, dear Robbie, But not with outward show, For those who mourn sincerely, Mourn silently and low. Never forgotten by his loving auntie Bella and cousins. R.I.P.

BRADLEY – Killed in action, Sept. 11th, 1916, aged 20 years, James Robert (Bob), dearly beloved son of Mary and the late John Robert Bradley, 73, Bentonway, Wallsend. His name is written on honour’s page, In letters that will not fade; He made a noble sacrifice, And his life for his country gave. Sleep on, dear brother, and take your rest, They miss you most who loved you best. Always remembered by his loving sister Maggie. R.I.P.

BRADLEY – Killed in action, September 11th, 1916, aged 20 years, James Robert (Bobbie) Bradley, dearly beloved son of Mary and the late John Robert Bradley, 73, Benton Way, Wallsend. I little thought when he left home, He would no more return, But God has willed it otherwise, And left me her to mourn. What pain he bore I do not know, And did not see him die, I only know he is gone, And did not say good-bye. But the unknown grave is the bitterest blow, None but an aching heart can know. For King and country he did his best, May God grant him eternal rest. Deeply mourned and sadly missed by his loving sweetheart, Maggie Richardson, 19, Diamond Row, Walker, and her mother. R.I.P.

BRADLEY – Killed in action Sept. 11th, 1916, aged 20 years, James Robert (Bob), dearly beloved son of Mary and the late John Robert Bradley, 73, Benton Way, Wallsend. Only a private soldier, Just one of Britain’s sons; Buried on the field of battle, We know your duty’s done. You served your King and country, God knows you did your best; Now my dear cousin is asleep in Jesus, A British soldier rests. Ever remembered by his cousin Ada and sister Lizzie Ann. R.I.P.

Research :Jean Atkinson

James Robert Bradley is remembered at Walker in W2.21 and at Wallsend on W7.03.

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The CWGC entry for Private Bradley

If you know more about this person, please send the details to janet@newmp.org.uk