Ernest Bradley, Private 58230, 16th Battalion, Cheshire Regiment
Killed in action 22nd October 1917 in Belgium, aged 18
Ernest Bradley was born in the village of Rainow on 28th October 1898, the youngest child and only son of Thomas Bradley (a hat maker by trade) and Ann Maria (formerly Hudson).
The family lived at Sugar Lane, Rainow and Ernest was christened at the parish church on 25th March 1903.
Ernest’s father died in 1910 and in early 1911 the family moved to Macclesfield, where Ernest was enrolled at St George’s Church of England School, having previously attended Rainow school. At the time of the 1911 census, twelve year old Ernest, sister Hetty and their recently widowed mother, were living at the home of his uncle, Joseph Hazeldine (a widower), at 29 Bridge Street, Macclesfield.
Ann Maria Bradley and Joseph Hazeldine were subsequently married in May 1912 and the expanded family moved the short distance to 23 St. George’s Street.
Ernest was too young to enlist when war broke out in August 1914, but his service record shows that he volunteered at Macclesfield on 19th September 1916, and was placed on the army reserve.
He was described as 5 feet 4 inches tall, weighed just 95 pounds and had a chest measurement of 30 inches. His physical development was said to be “Poor”, and he had a number of decayed teeth.
Ernest embarked from Southampton on 11th January 1917, arriving at Havre the following day and at Rouen on the 14th. He joined the 16th Cheshire Regiment on 25th January.
The night of the 21st/22nd October was bitterly cold and the rain fell heavily. Ernest and his comrades were perished and their mood did not not improve when the Battalion’s rum and tea supplies did not reach the front line… At 5.30am, the advance got underway through a mass of water filled shell holes.
Ernest was declared ‘missing’ on the 22nd October 1917, and was subsequently classified as ‘killed in action’.
Private Ernest Bradley has no known grave and is commemorated on panel ref. 61-63 on the Tyne Cot Memorial, West Vlaanderen, Belgium.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission holds casualty details for Private Ernest Bradley.
In Macclesfield, Private Ernest Bradley is commemorated on the Park Green, Town Hall, St Michael’s Church, St George’s Church and St Peter’s Church war memorials. Elsewhere, he is commemorated on Rainow war memorial.