BRADNAM, Albert Edward

No.15471, Private, Albert Edward BRADNAM
Aged 21

11th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment
Died of his Wounds on Sunday, 30th July 1916

Albert Edward Bradnam was born in West Wickham (Linton Q1-1895 3B:524), son of Charles and Mary BRADNAM (née REYNOLDS).
He was baptised in St. Mary's Church on 31st march 1895.

1901 census...Aged 6, he was at The Barracks, West Wickham with his father Charles BRADNAM [49] horsekeeper; his mother Mary [48]; brothers John [19] and Fred [17] both farm labourers, and Bennett [11]; sister Rose [14]. All were born in West Wickham. Also there were his sister Louisa [22] born West Wickham and her husband Henry GRANGER [22] farm labourer born in Dullingham and their son Reginald [7 months] born in West Wickham.

1911 census...Aged 16, a farm labourer, he was in West Wickham with his parents; brother Bennett (farm labourer) and nephew Reginald William GRANGER [10]

His mother died in 1912, and the pension card has his father at The School, West Wickham

His brother Bennett, also in the 11th Suffolks, (they have consecutive regimental numbers) was killed in France in 1917. see here

He, and his brother Benett, enlisted in Linton on 29th September 1914. The newley formed 11th Battalion Suffolk Regiment initially billeted in the Corn Echange, then Melbourn Place School before moving to Cherry Hinton.They left for France on 7th January 1916.
Since he died of his wounds and no service records have been found, there is usually no way of saying where or when he was wounded, but in the margin of the burial record it does say he was wounded on the first day of the Somme (1st July 1916) and died at Military Hospital, Chorlton upon Medlock. He was buried in West Wickham on 2nd August 1916. His "Soldiers Effects" entry says he died at No.2 Western General Hospital, Manchester which hospital was scattered around some 20 sites in the Manchester/Stockport area, and had 16,000 beds.

The West Wickham and Streetly End "Village Voice" November 2010 carried an article by Andrew Morris which states:-
"Albert became the batman (servant) to Lieutenant Robert Gilson. Robert was an undergraduate at Cambridge and also just 21 years old when he enlisted in the 11th Suffolks. Originally from Birmingham, he was at school with and a great friend of J R R Tolkien and it is from John Garth's book "Tolkien and the Great War" that much of this information comes. On the 1 July, the 11th Battalion received heavy casualties as they were literally mown down in the advance at Becourt Wood. Robert was killed by a shell and Albert received a severe leg injury which led to his being sent home. He had two amputations on his leg but died on 7 July." That date is at variance with Army records.

Albert Bradnam is buried in West Wickham (St.Mary's) Churchyard, south of chancel

click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details

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