Private Herbert Bradbourne
Born. 1898, Leeds.
Died. February 2nd 1990, aged 92
Herbert Bradbourne joined the Leeds Pals June 1915 Age 17.(Underage)
Herbert trained as a machine gunner with the 19th (Reserve) Battalion. He was sent then, to France during April 1916. He survived the battle of the Somme and in August 1916 was posted to the newly formed Machine Gun Corps. During the early months of 1918 he was seriously wounded by a bullet in the neck which, by deflection exited down and out through his back causing a very large exit wound. He was initially treated at a casualty clearing station behind the lines in France and then evacuated to England. After being transported by train to Leeds, was told at Leeds that there were no beds available. He eventually found treatment at St Lukes Hospital in Halifax, West Yorkshire. The entire journey, from being wounded in France to arrival at St Lukes was spent laid on a stretcher.
Still recovering when the war ended walter was discharged from the Army as 'A1 Fitness' on 13th January 1919.
In 1922, Herbert married nurse Edith Wormald, they met and fell in love whilst she nursed him back to recovery at St Lukes.
Whilst nursing in the Great War she had kept a pocket book which includes many poems and sketches written by wounded soldiers she cared for. Sadly, many of these young men, after recovering from their wounds, were sent back to the trenches to be killed in action in later battles .
With the kind permission from her Son, a few of these entries are shown. (These will be added posthaste)
The wording reads:-
'Roses are red,
Violets are blue.
If you think of me,
then I'll think of you.'
September 15th 1916.
Like so many who survived the killing fields of France, he kept a life-long silence regarding his experiences, yet every Remembrance Day, insisted that Edith join him in their garden for two minutes silence. In 1988, aged 90, he agreed to be Interviewed by the Yorkshire Evening Post for an article headed: 'Somme hell remembered'
When questioned, "What was it like?", he gave the following reply:
"The food was bad, everything was bad. Why relive a terrible memory? - We would go over the top as though we were going for a walk only to be hit by a battery of machine guns which blew us to hell . One day (1st July 1916), we went over and by 9.00am, the Regiment was blown to pieces. one hundred and fourty survived, the rest were slaughtered. They would send us out to face machine guns".
Herbert died February 2nd 1990 aged 92, one of the last three of the Leeds Pals.
Edith had died aged 85 in 1976.........