681335 GNR. W. BRADLEY. R.F.A.
William Bradley was born in the second quarter of 1897 in Preston. His father was Joseph Bradley (b. 1857 in Preston), a fireman operating a stationary engine in a cotton mill. His mother was Ann Melling (b. 1856 in Preston). Joe and Ann were married in 1877 and they had 7 children though 3 died in infancy. The survivors were: Mary Jane (1879-1897), Hetty (b. 1883), Henry (b. 1889) and William. The family appears to have been genetically disposed to asthma and bronchitis; according to William’s military records both his father and his sister died of the condition (Mary Jane in 1897 and Joe in 1900). So William would not really have known his father. In 1911, Ann, Henry and William were living at 9 Pakington Street in Preston (the street no longer exists but it was off the south side of New Hall Lane, where Lidl supermarket now stands). Ann and William (then aged 13) were weavers, Henry was a spinner.
William suffered from the same chest complaints as his father and sister but he was nevertheless keen to enlist. He first tried to join the King’s Own (Royal Lancaster Regiment) on 6 January 1915, but he was discovered to be underage and discharged in October (by which time he had actually turned 18). On 11 December 1915 he tried again and attested he was willing to serve in the West Lancashire Brigade of the Royal Field Artillery and was accepted and assigned service number 3500. He was posted to “A” Battery of 286 Brigade. His service number was later changed to 681335.
His military records show that he was admitted to hospital in July 1916, suffering from asthma, and again in October-November, suffering from bronchitis. He was finally judged unfit for military service on 20 September 1917 and formally discharged on 11 October. I have not found any medal awards for William so I presume he did not serve abroad (but I can’t find any Silver War Badge records either).
William died at home on 4 March 1919, aged 21. Given his existing medical condition he would have been unable to resist the influenza virus.
Service No: 681335
Date of Death: 04/03/1919
Regiment/Service: Royal Field Artillery, "A" Bty. 286th Bde.
Grave Reference: AA. CE. 877.
Cemetery: PRESTON (NEW HALL LANE) CEMETERY
Additional Information: Son of Ann Bradley, of 9 Pakington Street, Preston, and the late Joseph Bradley.