Gunner Ernest Solomon Bradley, 59th Siege Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery, died of pneumonia at No. 22 Casualty Clearing Station on 30th October 1918, aged 39, He was born in Shirley in 1879 and was the fifth of the ten known children (two sons, eight daughters) of parents William (a wheelwright) and Mary (née Millett). One of the children – Christabel Cecilia – died in 1884 at less than one year old. Another daughter, Florence Margaret, appears to have died in childbirth in 1904, aged 31.
Solomon, as he seems to have been known, attended St James’s School, Shirley and became a labourer before enlisting in the Royal Garrison Artillery in September 1901, aged 22 years and two months. He served in St Helena, 1901-2 and South Africa 1902-1909, before returning home in 1909 where he remained until being discharged in September 1913, having completed 12 years service.
On the outbreak of war, he rejoined the Army, and was given the service number 178, indicating he was the 178th man to sign up. He first entered a Theatre of War on 23rd April 1915 and joined the 59th Siege Battery in January 1916.
By 1911, his siblings had all left home, and his parents had moved to Hatton, where they were looking after two of their grandchildren. Commowealth War Graves Commission records indicate that his parents were living in Bristol Street, Birmingham by the 1920s.
Gunner Ernest Solomon Bradley is buried at Cambrai East Military Cemetery. With the family having moved away from Shirley by 1911, he is not listed on Shirley war memorial.
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