Rank: Second Lieutenant
Date of Death: 01/07/1916
Regiment/Service: London Regiment (Royal Fusiliers) 1st/4th Bn.
Panel Reference Pier and Face 9 D and 16 B.
Memorial THIEPVAL MEMORIAL
Born in 1896 at Woodford, eldest son of Archibald (Bank Clerk, later Manager) and Clara Sophia Bradford. 1901: With his family at 3 Woodland Villas South Woodford. 1911: A Pupil at St Saviours College, Ardingly, Heywards Heath, where he became a Sergeant in the O.T.C. His will gives the address of “Alverstoke”, 68, Derby Road South Woodford where his parents lived. He was also educated at Bancroft’s School.
He left employment with a Bank to join up shortly after war broke out, and saw service in Malta, Egypt (1915), Gallipoli and France. Unusually he served in the same battalion with the rank of Sergeant and then from 19-01-15 as a Commissioned 2/Lt.
On the evening of 30-06-16 the Battalion gathered in their assembly area for the attack on Gommecourt next morning. 1/4 London were to provide support on the left to the Rangers. The assault was expected; signs on the German front line called for the attack to begin.
The following day the Rangers advanced at 07.30, into a hail of shell and machine gun fire. “B” & “C” Companies were impeded by uncut German wire and suffered accordingly, only a few of “D” Company achieved their objective. By 08.15 when it was clear the Rangers attack was faltering, 1/4 London, who were under intense bombardment in their trenches when ordered to support them. At 09.00 “A” & “C” Companies advanced into no man’s land under shellfire, and many of those few who actually reached the German lines were killed or captured. Soon all that remained of the two full Battalions were small groups of men. A later attempt at reinforcement by “D” Company of 1/4 London got no further than yards into no man’s land, where it was halted by artillery fire. By 14.30 those survivors of the Rangers and 1/4 London who could do so were returning to the British front line via shell holes to gain a little protection. The “diversionary” attack was a costly failure.
Frederick Bradford was among those Killed in Action that day who have no known grave.
Memorial: Roll of Honour St Mary’s Church. Bancroft’s School
Separate Folder: NO.
Principal Sources: Ancestry. Woodford Times. The Bancroftian.
Qualification: Borough Resident.