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Henry Bradshaw a.k.a. Harry was born on the 17th March 1898 at Larches Cottages in Ashton on Ribble, Preston. He was baptised at St. Andrew`s Church in Ashton where his parents had married on the 11th September 1895. Harry had three sisters and two brothers, the others being; Ann (1896), Jane Ellen (1899), Fred (1901), Mary (1905) and John (1906). Harry`s father was a gardener and the Census entries confirm that he was born in Penwortham while his mother Mary was from a farming family and was originally from Leagram (Longridge/Chipping area).

By 1911 Henry and his sister Annie had both gone to work and live with their maternal Grandfather Richard Baines at Five Lane Ends Farm in Ashton on Ribble. Although both Richard and Annie are noted on the Census as `relatives`, they are also described as `servants`. The farm also had two more servants; Lavinia Bradley aged 17 and Robinson Mecham aged 19. There was also another family relative in residence, John Cookson with his wife Maggie and their 10 month old son Thomas.

Harry managed to enlist when he was just 16 years and 8 months old, the date of his enlistment being 14th November 1914. In the absence of any service papers it is impossible to know whether he lied about his age or whether the recruiting officer just turned a `blind eye`. He joined the 4th Battalion of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment and was given the service number 3322 which in January 1917 would become 201056 when the Territorial Force was renumbered. The Medal Rolls indicate that Harry only served with the 2/4th Battalion LNL so it`s very likely that he sailed with the initial deployment of the Battalion on the 7th February 1917, he would have been one month short of his 19th birthday at the time, the Battalion coming under the Command of 170th Brigade of 57th (2nd West Lancashire) Division.

On the 11th June 1917 the Battalion was in billets in Estaires remaining there for several days where they were mainly engaged in company training. Later in the month they were alternating with the 2/5th Battalion LNL in the trenches at Rue de Bois. On the night of 28th – 29th July 1917 “D” Company carried out a very successful raid on the enemy, the raiding party consisting of Captain Dawson, 2nd Lieutenants Jump, Driver and King and 135 other ranks comprising Nos. 14, 15 and 15 Platoons of which two composed the raiders and one the covering party.

Extract from the Battalion War Diary – Operations on the night of 28th – 29th July 1917

“ZERO HOUR was fixed for 10.30pm. At 10.30pm precisely Nos. 13 and 14 Platoons left our front line trench and proceeded across NO MAN`S LAND which was very broken and reached and reached the enemy front line about 10.20pm. No. 13 Platoon established Lewis Gun position and Platoon H.Q. Bombing section in their appointed places and the Lewis Gun section commenced to mop up the enemy front line. The remainder of the Platoon proceeded along enemy communication trench, which was easily located and proceeded down to point N.10. c. 20.15 where a sentry group of six Germans were posted. The enemy opened with bombs and our men retaliated with a salvo of bombs and then charged. One German was certainly killed and the remainder fled. Bombing was then heard in NO MAN`S LAND and a report was received to the effect that the Bombing section was being heavily attacked, so the Officer decided to withdraw to the enemy front line and there took up a position reinforcing the Lewis Gun and Bombing sections. Enemy party about 25 strong had got between No. 15 and No. 13 Platoons. The party was in extended order and going towards his front line. When this party got close to 13 Platoon they opened with rifle fire and bombs. The enemy drew away to the left and disappeared over his front line trench. Two of the enemy were captured and 6 killed and a good number must have been wounded. The Platoon Officer then received the order to withdraw”.

Nos. 14 and 15 Platoons had similar encounters, although 14 Platoon appears to have suffered the most casualties losing all their N.C.O. `s, the majority wounded by bombing.

After the action on the 28th – 29th July 1917 Harry was awarded the Military Medal for “gallant conduct and devotion to duty”; as was Lance Corporal John Alfred HULL (Click here)

The news of his award was announced in the Preston Guardian on the 25th September 1917 and the report also confirms that during the course of the action Harry had fractured his thigh and was in hospital in France.

Again, due to lack of any service papers it is difficult to know what happened to Harry after he fractured this thigh but he was officially discharged from the Army on the 27th August 1918 and issued with Silver War Badge No. B26498, cause of discharge given as `wounds`.

After the war, as well as his Military Medal, Harry would also receive the British War and Victory Medals in recognition of his service for his country.

In the September quarter of 1925 he married Dorothy Seddon in St. Paul`s Church, Farington near Leyland and the couple went on to have a family of their own. At some point after their marriage Harry and Dorothy moved down to Essex and in 1939 their home address was 2 Berechurch Hall Road, Colchester. Harry`s occupation was given as a general farmer, the record noting that he was also an ARP Warden in Colchester.

Harry passed away at Manning Farm, White Colne in Essex on the 10th June 1975 and Dorothy died in 1987.

Janet Davis
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One Response to 201506 CPL. H. BRADSHAW. L.N.LAN.R.

  1. Carole Cowgill says:

    Thanks very much for this article. Harry Bradshaw was my great uncle, my Grandma Jane Ellen’s brother. He and his wife “Dolly” moved to a farm at Blackheath/Berechurch , near Colchester in Essex, in 1932, a year after my grandparents also moved to a farm at Fordham Heath, just a few miles away. Harry and his family moved to Mannings Farm, White Colne, in 1943. Harry’s brother Fred and his family also moved to Essex, to a farm in Fordham in 1937.

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