Percy Bradbury, Private 17447, 3rd Battalion, Grenadier Guards
Died 17th October 1915 in France, aged 20
Percy Bradbury was born in May 1895, the son of Mary Ann and Alfred Bradbury, a basket maker of Broken Cross, near Macclesfield.
Alfred died in 1900, and in 1901, six year old Percy was living at 127-129 Broken Cross with his widowed mother, who was working as a laundress, and siblings Bertha (13) and George (1). By 1911 Alfred’s mother had remarried and Percy, aged 15 and employed in a boot factory, lived at 127 Broken Cross with his mother Mary, stepfather Fred Benton, brother George (11) and half-brother William Benton (7).
Percy was educated at Broken Cross School, attaining standard grade VII, and on 27 September 1909, when employed as a telegram messenger boy, he enrolled at Macclesfield Technical School to further his education.
Percy enlisted very soon after the start of the war, on 11 August 1914, and was said to be the tallest recruit sent up from Macclesfield, being 6ft 2in tall. After training, he left for France on 23 May 1915, and was reported missing after an attack which took place on 17 October 1915. One year later he was presumed to have died on or after that date.
News of his death was reported in the Macclesfield Times of 13 October 1916. His death was confirmed after the end of the war and reported in the Macclesfield Times on 15 August 1919:
SOLDIER’S DEATH PRESUMED – Mrs Benton, 127 Broken Cross, near Macclesfield, has been informed… that her son, Pte Percy Bradbury, Grenadier Guards, has been presumed dead after having been posted missing since Oct 17th 1915. Pte Bradbury enlisted a week after the outbreak of war, and trained at Caterham in Surrey. From there he was sent to Chelsea Barracks and was drafted to France in May 1915. Pte Bradbury was 24 years of age and received his education at St Thomas’s School, Broken Cross, and Christ Church School, Macclesfield. He was connected with Broken Cross Wesleyan Chapel and prior to enlisting was employed at the Macclesfield Slipper Works, Sunderland Street.
Private Percy Bradbury has no known grave and is commemorated on Panel Ref. 5 to 7 on the Loos Memorial at Pas-de-Calais, France. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission holds casualty details for Private Percy Bradbury, and he is listed on the Imperial War Museum’s Lives of the First World War website.
Locally, Private Percy Bradbury is commemorated on the Macclesfield Park Green, Town Hall, St Michael’s Church and Christ Church School war memorials, and on the Henbury and Broken Cross war memorial at St Thomas Church, Henbury.