Clarence Bradburn

Clarence BradburnBorn: 16 October 1896
Died: 27 August 1918
Service number: 41306
Rank: Lance Corporal
Regiment/Service: Second Battlion, King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry
Family information: Son of Joseph and Elizabeth Bradburn of the Alma Inn, High Street, Castleford

War service

Clarence Bradburn enlisted in Castleford in 1916. His first taste of service life would have been at Pontefract Barracks, where he would have been kitted out and given initial training. He was then assigned to the Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry (KOYLI) 2nd Battalion.

At the outbreak of WW1 the Battalion was in Dublin. It was part of the 13th Brigade, 5th Division. In December 1915 it was transferred to 97th Brigade, 32nd Division.

The 2nd KOYLI was then part of the 32nd Division.

This Division was originally part of the Fifth New Army, and was numbered 39th. However, the Fourth New Army was broken up in April 1915, and the Division was renumbered 32nd, part of K4. It served on the Western Front with distinction throughout the war.

All troops landing in France went straight into further training in trench warfare before moving up to the line and getting used to the trench rota system. This consisted of 4 days in the front line, 4 days in the rear and 4 days in reserve (just behind the front line). In fact the rear positions could be just as dangerous as the front, due to heavy constant shelling.

Clarence Bradburn would have been involved in the following battles -The Battle of Albert (first phase of the Battle of the Somme 1916), The Battle of Bazentin (second phase of the Battle of the Somme 1916), The Battle of the Ancre (tenth phase of the Battle of the Somme 1916), Operations on the Ancre, The German Retreat to the Hindenburg Line, The First Battle of Arras, 1918 (fourth phase of the First Battles of the Somme 1918) (97th Brigade), The Battle of Amiens, The Battle of Albert (first phase of the Second Battles of the Somme 1918) and The Battle of Bapaume (second phase of the second Battles of the Somme 1918).

Very sadly Clarence Bradburn died of wounds on 27 August 1918, aged 21 – During the Second Battle of the Somme, having survived all the battles of the 32nd Division and been promoted to Lance Corporal.

The second battle began on 21 August 21 with the opening of the Battle of Bapaume to the north of the river itself. That developed into an advance which pushed the German Second Army back over a 55 kilometre front, from south of Douai to La Fere, south of Saint - Quentin, Aisne. Albert was captured on 22 August. On 26 August, the British First Army widened the attack by another 12 kilometres. Bapaume fell on 29 August. The Australian Corps crossed the Somme River on the night of 31 August, and broke the German lines at Mont St Quentin and Battle of Peronne.

Lance Corporal Clarence Bradburn KOYLI was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

His grave is in the Daours Communal Cemetery Extension, grave number VII B 10.

Clarence Bradburn death certificate  

Family story

Clarence Bradburn was my mother’s first cousin. He was born on 16 October 1896 at Beancroft Street, Half Acres, Castleford, West Yorkshire. The eldest child of Joseph and Elizabeth Bradburn, he had a younger brother and sister, Joseph and Nellie.

By 1900 the family had moved a short distance to Nicholson Street, and not long after that they moved again, this time to the Alma Inn, High Street, Castleford when his father Joseph became landlord.

Clarence’s mother Elizabeth died in 1914 at the age of 39.

Shortly after his 20th birthday Clarence married Mary Ann Nathan at the Parish Church, Castleford on 21 October 1916. Their marriage certificate states that Clarence was a “glasshand” so he probably worked at John Lumb’s glassworks in Castleford which was near to his home. The couple set up home in the Alma Inn but sadly it was to be a brief marriage, lasting less than two years.Clarence Bradburn marriage certificate

Clarence’s father Joseph was a close friend of Ezra Taylor (Castleford’s first mayor 1955-56) who was landlord of the Hightown Hotel, and later the Ship Inn. When the Second World War was declared on 3 September 1939, it brought back memories to Joseph Bradburn of losing his son Clarence in 1918. He was distressed at the thought of more young lives certain to be lost yet again. Five days later, on the 8th September, he was found drowned in the River Calder at Whitwood

Story submitted by Sheila Madden.

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