Leonard Douglas Bradshaw

He had joined the Royal Field Artillery at only 16 and was commissioned as an officer at 18. He had been gassed and wounded in France.

1898 Jul 18. Born Lancaster, Lancashire

1898 Aug 7. Baptised St Mary, Lancaster, Leonard Douglas Bradshaw - [Child] of Ernest Champion Bradshaw & Edith Born: 18 Jul 1898, Parkfield Terrace. Occupation: Photographer. Baptised by: W. L. Appleford

1901 census living at 56 Greaves, Lancaster with his parents and family. His father, Ernest Bradshaw is a 30 year old "portrait painter and mechanical photographer"

Not long after this, Ernest got a job at the Guardian Printing Works in Reddish and the family moved to live at 177 Reddish Road. Their stay in the Stockport area was relatively short as the family emigrated to America and Leonard is known to have been at school there between 1911 and 1913

1903 Nov 10. Leaves Liverpool with his family bound for New York

1903 Nov 21. Arrives New York on Lucania with Mrs E Bradshaw and F B Bradshaw

1910 USA census at Wood Ridge, Bergen, New Jersey

1914 Aug 10. Enlists in Cheshire Regt, 3rd battalion Special Reserve claiming he was 17 years and 25 days. (he took a year off his age here). And that he was a Farm labourer, living at Sparkbrook, Birmingham. He correctly stated his parents as Ernest Champion Bradshaw and Edith Bradshaw, and brother Frank Barton Bradshaw of Greg St, Reddich.

1914 Dec 12. Discharged as the army got his Birth Cert and he was too young to enlist

1915 Mar 13. He re-enlists at the recruiting office in Stoney Lane in Birmingham.with RFA, this time giving his year of birth as 1895, adding this time 3 years to his age. He was just over 5' 6" tall and weighed 133 pounds. The examining doctor noted that he had a tendency to flat feet. He had given his occupation as printer and, as a referee, had named Mark Smith, manager of Taylor, Garnett and Evans Ltd - a Stockport printing company at Greg Street, Reddish. It's not known if Leonard had worked for the company at some point or if Smith was an old family friend.

He was assigned to the 308th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery with a service number 835977

1915 Sep 25 Appointed Acting Bombardier

1916 May 24. Arrives in France as a Bombardier in 308th RFA

1916 Aug 16. Promoted Bombardier

1916 Aug 21 Shrapnel wound to chest and was in hospital for about 5 weeks before making a full recovery and returning to his unit.

1916 Nov 26 In hospital

1917 Apr 1.Leonard applied to become an officer. At the time he was attached to the 61st Heavy Trench Mortar Battery of the Artillery.

1917 Oct 31 To England as a candidate for commission

1917 Oct 28. Commissioned 2nd Lt in RFA from an Officer Cadet.

1918 Mar 21. Leonard was gassed during a German attack and was evacuated home on HS "Cambria"

1918 Jul 30. He was discharged from hospital as fit but a was sent on three weeks leave before returning to his unit.

He was sent to the U.S.A. with a party of returning American soldiers and was demobilised there.

1919 Apr 19. Back in USA

1919 Apr 19 Officially demobilised.

He returned to Wood Ridge, New Jersey, where he tried to earn a living as a motor engineer. And then moved to Blackburn with his mother and spent his gratuity in qualifying for engineering.

1920 Aug 18. Joined ADRIC with RIC no 72847 ADRIC no 297. Home address: 24 , Larkhill Terrace, Blackburn. (where his mother was living)

1920 Nov 28 Killed in Kilmichael Ambush . It is not known in which lorry Leonard was travelling.

The men's bodies were returned to England. His parents and brother, Frank, had also returned from the USA. His father and Frank had gone on to India and Mrs Bradshaw had gone to live at 34 Larkhill Terrace, Blackburn, thought to be the home of her sister. She went to Ireland as soon as she heard the news about Leonard . 

1920 Dec 4. Buried at Willow Grove Cemetery, Stockport

The Stockport Advertiser reported that hundreds of residents lined the route from St Mary's Church, Reddish to the Cemetery. The coffin was carried on a guncarriage pulled by a team of grey horses from 503rd Battery, Royal Field Artillery, from Fullwood Barracks in Preston. It was accompanied by a detachment from the Cheshire Regiment carrying reversed rifles.

The service was conducted by the Rev. Adams and concluded with the singing of "Abide with Me". Captain Robinson the saluted the grave and fired three shots from his revolver. This was followed by three volleys fired by the detachment of Cheshires. "The soldiers then got the order to "Fix bayonets", "Present arms" and then in a beautiful manner, the buglers sounded the Last Post." His mother is the only relative identified amongst the mourners. He is buried in grave reference P10176.

His tombstone reads

"Lieut. Leonard Douglas Bradshaw R.F.A . Auxiliary Force R.I.C. Dearly beloved elder son of E. Champion and Edith Bradshaw Killed in Macroom, Ireland, November 28th 1920 . Aged 22 Years . A Brave Life Nobly Lived"

The Bradshaws later returned to the USA where Mr Bradshaw became a noted artist in Springfield, Ohio.