Wilfred Bradley was born on 11 December 1894 and baptised on 1 February 1895 at the Trinity Wesleyan Methodist Church, Macclesfield. He was the son of Mary Ellen (nee Greenwood) and John Bradley, a weaving overlooker (foreman), of 14 Brock St, Macclesfield. In 1901, six-year-old Wilfred was living at 14 Brock St, Macclesfield with his parents and siblings Elizabeth (20), Lillian (17), John William (12), Ellen (9) and Albert (3).
Wilfred was educated at Mill Street School, where he attained a very creditable Standard Grade VII, and after leaving school found employment as a tin smith. In September 1908 he enrolled at Macclesfield Technical School for part-time or evening classes to further his education. By 1911 Wilfred was working as a slipper maker at the Macclesfield Shoe and Slipper Company.
Wilfred's father died on 9 April 1915; he is buried in plot X19234 in Macclesfield Cemetery.
Wilfred enlisted in October 1915 and initially served with the 17th Cheshire Regiment with service number 30068. He was later attached to the Manchester Regiment.
He was reported missing in the Macclesfield Times on 7 June 1918:
MISSING - Sergt Wilfred Bradley, Manchester Regt, son of Mrs Bradley, 14 Brock St, Macclesfield, was posted missing on March 21st. He joined the Army over two years ago and went out to France last February. Sergt Bradley is 23 years of age and was educated at Mill Street School. He attended Trinity Wesleyan Sunday School and Chapel and was formerly employed at the Macclesfield Shoe and Slipper Works, Sunderland Street. Two brothers are serving: Lce-Cpl J W Bradley, King's Liverpool Regt (in France) and Pte Albert Bradley, Monmouthshire Regt (in England). The former has been twelve months at the front and was over on leave at the beginning of this year.
Wilfred's death was later confirmed, as reported in the Macclesfield Times on 21 March 1919:
His Life for His Country - The War office has notified Mrs Bradley, 14 Brook (sic) Street, Macclesfield, that her son, Sergt. Wilfred Bradley, att. 2/6th Manchester Regt, who was posted missing between March 21st and March 31st, 1918, was killed in action on March 24th of that year. Sergt Bradley was twenty-four (sic) years of age and was educated at Mill Street School under Mr T H Hewitt. He enlisted in October, 1915 and at that time was in the employ of the Macclesfield Shoe and Slipper Co. Sergt Bradley, who was one of three soldier brothers, was connected with Trinity Wesleyan School and Church.
Sergeant Wilfred Bradley is commemorated on Panel Ref. 64 to 67 of the Pozieres Memorial. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission holds casualty details for Sergeant Wilfred Bradley, and he is listed on the Imperial War Museum’s Lives of the First World War website.
In Macclesfield, Sergeant Wilfred Bradley is commemorated on the Park Green, Town Hall, St Michael's Church and Trinity Wesleyan Methodist Church war memorials. The floral tributes laid when the Macclesfield Park Green War Memorial was unveiled on 21st September 1921 included one with the words “To our dear son, Sergeant W. Bradley, 6th Manchester Regiment.”
Wilfred is remembered in the inscription on the family gravestone in Macclesfield Cemetery, plot X19234:
In Loving memory of John Bradley, who died April 19th 1915 aged 58 years...
Also Sergt. Wilfred Bradley, 2/6 Manchesters, son of the above, killed in action March 24th 1918 aged 24 (sic) years DUTY NOBLY DONE
Also James Norbury died Nov 28th 1935 aged 47 years...
Also Mary Ellen Bradley who died Jan 6th 1941 aged 78 years...
Brother of Lance-Corporal John William Bradley, who served in France with the King's Liverpool Regt; and Private Albert Bradley, who served with the Monmouthshire Regt, and later as Private 498313 with 570th (Agriculture) Labour Corps.
Cheshire Non-Conformist & Roman Catholic Baptism Registers (Find My Past)
Census (England & Wales): 1901, 1911
National School Admission Registers (Find My Past)
Soldiers Died in the Great War (Find My Past)
WWI Britain Absent Voters’ Lists (Find My Past)
Commonwealth War Graves Commission website
Macclesfield Times: 7 June 1918, 21 March 1919
Macclesfield Courier: 24 September 1921
Family History Society of Cheshire (FHSC): Macclesfield Area Monumental Inscriptions
Research by Rosie Rowley, Congleton.