David John Bradley
Private 266819 David John Bradley who died at home. Grave ref: VI. 7. 144. Cefn Golau, Cemetery, Tredegar.
Welsh Regiment transferred to Labour Corps, 571st Agricultural Company. Formed in January 1917, the Labour Corps grew to some 389,900 men (more than 10% of the Army) by the Armistice. Of this total, around 175,000 were working in the United Kingdom and the rest in theatres of war abroad. The Corps was manned by officers and other ranks who had been medically rated below the “A1” condition needed for front line service. Many were returned wounded. Labour Corps units were often deployed for work within range of the enemy guns, sometimes for lengthy periods. In April 1917, a number of infantry battalions were transferred to the Corps. Labour Corps Area Employment Companies were formed in 1917 for salvage work, absorbing the Divisional Salvage Companies. In the crises of March and April 1918 on the Western Front, Labour Corps units were used as emergency infantry. The Corps always suffered from its treatment as something of a second class organisation: for example, the men who died are commemorated under their original regiment, with Labour Corps being secondary. Researching men of the Corps is made extra difficult by this, as is the fact that few records remain of the daily activities and locations of Corps units.
David John Bradley was born on 13 August 1874; married on 17 July 1895. Died at home at Tredegar on 12 Jan 1920 aged 46 years. Parents: John and Sarah Bradley. On the 1881 census he was 6 years old and lived at Llanbadarn Fawr, Radnorshire; his father was a tailor. By the 1891 census he worked as a servant for the Lewis family at Abbey Cwmhir and was 16 years old. On the 17 July 1895, he married Mary Ann Lewis, 19 years his senior, although the marriage certificate indicates only an 8 year gap! On the 1901 census, he lived at 25 Park Row, Tredegar, with wife Mary Ann, and was employed as a coal miner. The 1911 census shows John Bradley was still married to Mary Ann at 25 Park Row; he was 34 years of age and worked as a labourer underground. The couple had no children.
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