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Earlestown War Memorial

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In Memory of

Second-Lieutenant Richard Bradley


4th Bn., King’s Own (Royal Lancaster Regiment)
Killed in Action 31st July 1917 Age 24

Richard was the son of Mr. And Mrs. Richard Bradley of Thornton House, Preesall, Poulton-le-Fylde. He was educated at the Secondary School, Blackpool, and afterwards at St. John’s College, York (1912-14). At midsummer of 1914, he was appointed as assistant master to the staff of Earlestown District School, where the school flag was hoisted half mast when the news was heard, according to the obituary in the NEG of 24th August 1917.

In January 1915, he joined the Public School Battalion of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers. He received his commission in January 1916 after training at the Inns of Court O.T.C. He proceeded to the front in August 1916, and took part in the Battle of the Somme, being invalided home with trench fever in November. He went out again on Whit Monday 1917.

Lieutenant-Colonel Balfour, C.O. of the Battalion, wrote that “it was due to his personal courage and leadership that his platoon did so well in the fight.”

Lieutenant Bradley visited the school in November 1916 when he addressed the boys of the upper classes with whom he was very popular.

Mr Alex. Brown, probably the Head Teacher of the District School, wrote: “Mr Bradley was a young man of high principles and great promise. I shall much miss a valued colleague and a personal friend. Mr Bradley was a soldier and a gentleman.”

Lt. Bradley was killed during the Battle of Pilckem Ridge on the first day of the Third Battle of Ypres, usually known as Passchendaele. Many who fell simply disappeared into the mud. Richard’s name is one of more than 54,000 names of officers and men who died in the Ypres Salient before August 16th 1917, have no known grave and so are commemorated on the Menin Gate, at Ieper.

The 4th KORL were part of the 164th Brigade of the 55th Division. The Official History gives a full account of the fighting of that day, while the Rev. Coop discusses the part of the 55th Division.

Chris McCarthy in his book “Passchendaele: The Day-By-Day Account”, gives this summary of the action involving the Brigade:

“164 Brigade: At 10.10 a.m. the Brigade advanced to capture the final objective, the Green Line. Spree Farm fell to the 2/5th Lancashire Fusiliers (VC to T/Lt-Col. Bertram Best Dunkley, Commander), who had the 1/8th Liverpool Irish in support. The 1/4th North Lancs., supported by the 1/4th King’s Own (R. Lancs.) (VC to L-Sgt. Tom Fletcher Mayson), successfully advanced to the Green line, capturing five batteries of 77mm guns on the way. Contact was made with the 15th Division on the right abd visual contact with the 118th Brigade (39th Division) on the left, who were around the distant Wurst Farm and Aviatik. Later, news that the 118th Brigade had been forced back to Border House on the Black Line caused the 164th Brigade in turn to bend their line back in order to keep in touch.”