L/18293 DVR. A. BRADSHAW. R.F.A.
Alfred Bradshaw was born in the last quarter of 1890 in Preston, and baptised at Preston St Thomas on 15 February 1891. His father was James Bradshaw (b. 1862 in Preston), a coal carter. His mother was Lucy Elizabeth Lee (b. 1867 in Portsea, Hampshire), a shopkeeper. James and Lucy were married at St Thomas’ in 1886 and they had 7 children, 5 of whom survived: James (b. 1887), Lucy (b. 1889), then Alfred, Henry (b. 1894), and finally Lillian (b. 1900). In 1911, the family was still living in Preston, at 44 Peel Hall Street. Alfred was unemployed but had been working as a locomotive engine cleaner. His brother Henry was a labourer in a biscuit factory. By 1915, however, the family had relocated to 120 Station Road, Bamber Bridge as this is where Alfred and Henry were living when they signed up together on 8 May 1915.
The brothers signed up together as they have consecutive service numbers: Alfred is L/18293 and Henry is L/18294. They had obviously not been living in Bamber Bridge very long and they did not sign up with the other Briggers, rather they were both posted to “B” Battery of 170 Brigade. 170Bde formed part of the divisional artillery under the command of 31st Division. 31st Division were sent to Egypt over Christmas/New Year 1915/1916 to participate in the defence of the Suez Canal, but their stay here was brief as in March 1916 they were sent to the Western Front. They fought in the opening phase of the Battle of the Somme, at the disaster that was Serre, and also in the closing phase of the battle, the Battle of the Ancre in November 1916. They remained near the River Ancre during the early part of 1917 and were relatively lightly engaged later that year, during the Battle of Arras. They played no part in the Third Battle of Ypres.
24 March 1918 was the fourth day of the German Spring Offensive and by that night, German forces had reached Le Transloy and Combles and threatened to force a breakthrough between the British and French armies. Fighting north of Le Transloy (near Bapaume) was hard and 31st Division (amongst others) repulsed heavy attacks and held their ground. Nevertheless, Bapaume was shelled, evacuated and occupied by the Germans the following day. Albert fell to the Germans on 26/27 March. Despite significant advances over the Somme battlefield, the German army was eventually unable to make the breakthrough it needed and by 30 March the offensive was all but over.
Alfred was killed during the fighting on 24 March. He was 27 years old.
Service No: L/18293
Date of Death: 24/03/1918
Regiment/Service: Royal Field Artillery, "B" Bty. 170th Bde.
Cemetery/memorial reference: Bay 1.
Cemetery/Memorial: ARRAS MEMORIAL
Additional Information: Son of James and Lucy E. Bradshaw, of 23 Station Road, Bamber Bridge, Preston, Lancs.
Henry survived the War and was demobilised in March 1920. He died in 1959.