59604 Pte W.Bradford Royal Welsh Fusiliers

Private (Pte) Walter Bradford was a bricklayer who lived at 87 Victoria Avenue, Newport. A married man of 33 with no children he had served 4 years with the local Militia Volunteer Battalion of the South Wales Borderers since his attestation papers record him as serving 4 years 13 days with the “VB SWB” ( The non deployable Militia was replaced by the Territorial Force (TF), [later to become the Territorial Army (TA)] in 1908).

Walter volunteered for regular service on 4 Dec 1915 and was subsequently posted to the 22nd (Reserve) Bn RWF, which subsequently became the 64rd Training Reserve Bn, part of the 14th Reserve Bde.

He was promoted to L/Cpl in August 1916, but was a Pte again when posted to the 8th Bn RWF in March 1917

(The 8th ( Service ) Bn RWF formed at Wrexham in August 1914 and was attached to the 40th Brigade, 13th (Western) Division.It moved first to Salisbury Plain but by February 1915 was at Blackdown. The Bn deployed to Mudros in July 1915 and subsequently served in Gallipoli, Egypt and Mesopotamia until the armastice with Turkey on 31st October 1918.)

When Walter joined the Bn the Division had occupied Baghdad and was pursuing the retreating Turkish army through what is now Iraq. During his time there the Division fought the following actions :

Duqma. 29 Mar 1917.
Nahr Kalis. 9-15 Apr 1917.
Passage of the ‘Adhaim. 18 Apr 1917.
Action of the Shatt al ‘Adhaim. 30 Apr 1917.
Second action of Jabal Hamrin. 16-20 Oct 1917.
Third action of Jabal Hamrin. 3-6 Dec 1917.

On the 29th of September 1918 Walter is shown as transferred to the 2nd (Garrison) Bn, Northumberland Fusiliers. (Formed in 1915 and serving in India).

Walter is recorded as qualifying for the Victory Medal and the British War Medal,

Pte Bradford would have been regarded as an old man by the army and his service records suggest he served most of his time with training and standing reserve units in the UK before being posted to the 8th Bn RWF. He was finally discharged on 11 May 1919 ( At which time he is, confusingly, recorded as serving with “Railway Troops, Royal Engineers”.) and awarded a pension of five shillings and sixpence a week for 56 weeks in respect of a “Weakness of shoulder”. He was 36 and returned to Newport and, hopefully, to a long and happy life with his wife Kathleen (nee Alker). Do you know more of him?

Pte Walter Bradford’s Victory medal. It is a little battered after 90 years.
Was he a regular in the British Legion parade every November?

As an ex Royal Welch Fusilier myself (Note that in WW1 the official spelling of Welch is with an “S”, the archaic “C” spelling was adopted in 1920) I am very interested in Walter and why he moved about quite as much as he did. I suspect he had many a tale to tell of his service in the Middle East.

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