Private Patrick Bradley

This is part of a series of essays about the First World War casualties commemorated by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission in New York.

The grave of Private Patrick Bradley
The grave of Private Patrick Bradley

Patrick Bradley was an Irishman, who enlisted in early 1918 but fell ill soon afterwards and was discharged. He was born at Cushybraken near Kilrea in County Antrim, Ireland on 15 January 1893[1] the son of Charles and Mary Bradley.[2] His father was a farmer, who died before the turn of the century.

His mother emigrated to the United States around 1904, with his older brother James, and settled in New York. Patrick remained in Cushybraken with his widowed maternal grandmother and his mother’s family. After he left school, he worked as a farm labourer. James returned to Ireland in 1909 and in January 1910 he sailed back to New York from Londonderry on the SS Furnessia with his brother Patrick. Both sons lived with their mother and Patrick found work in service. At the time of his enlistment he was a footman for Mrs Sterling Postley, who lived in a sumptuous apartment at 830 Park Avenue.[3]

Like all residents of the United States, he completed his draft registration in 1917. He decided to enlist for service with the Canadian Expeditionary Force, however, and, having enlisted in New York, he travelled by train to Toronto with other volunteers, where he attested on 14 March 1918. He joined the 2nd Depot Battalion, 1st Central Ontario Regiment and was allocated the number 3232950. Within days he fell ill and he was admitted to the Exhibition Camp hospital on 22 March, suffering from pneumonia—he had been troubled by a cough since a bad cold in November 1917.

On 11 May he was transferred to Spadina Military Convalescent Hospital—where Amelia Earhart worked as a volunteer nurse—but, in June 1918, having complained of a painful ear, he was diagnosed with tuberculosis otitis (tuberculosis of the ear). He was then diagnosed as suffering from pulmonary tuberculosis and transferred to the Weston Sanatorium in Hamilton, Ontario, which specialized in the treatment of that disease. While sick he was held on the strength of the 2nd Battalion, Canadian Garrison Regiment.

On 5 November Private Bradley was discharged as being medically unfit for further service and he was passed to the care of the Invalided Soldiers’ Commission.[4] He entered the Queen Alexandra Sanatorium at Byron in London, Ontario, where he died of tuberculosis on 12 February 1921, aged 28. His remains were returned to New York and he was buried in Calvary Roman Catholic Cemetery, Woodside in Section 42, Row 3T, Grave 12. Initially, Private Bradley’s death was determined as ‘not due to service‘.[5] This was revised on 8 March 1927, allowing his official commemoration.

He is commemorated on page 555 of the Canadian First World War Book of Remembrance; that page is displayed on 25, 26 and 27 November.

The Canadian Book of Remembrance showing the entry for Private Patrick Bradley
The Canadian Book of Remembrance showing the entry for Private Patrick Bradley

His mother was sent his memorial plaque and scroll, and the Memorial Cross.

1. (Back) His birth registration shows 15 March 1893. All other records (United States draft registration, Canadian Expeditionary Force attestation,  etc) show 16 March 1893.
2. (Back) Charles Bradley married Mary McFerran (also shown as McVerran, McFerron, McFerren and McFearn) (1861-17 June 1932) on 27 March 1881 at St Mary’s church, Rasharkin: John (24 August 1883-NK); Sarah (later O’Connell) (26 May 1885-1 November 1954); Mary (c1887-NK); and James (8 December 1889-8 February 1913).
3. (Back) Sterling Postley (1877-1928) married his second wife, Jeanne Guidet Martin (née Buckley) (1882-1955), in 1911. They had one son—Brooke Vincent (1914-1989)—and a child by Postley’s first marriage—Clarence Sterling (1906-1983).
4. (Back) Upon discharge all officers and soldiers passed to the control of the Commission if they required ‘medical treatment on account of their suffering from tuberculosis, epilepsy, paralysis or other diseases likely to be of long duration or incurable, or on account of their being mentally deficient or insane’.
5. (Back) Private Patrick Bradley: War Graves Registry: Circumstances of Death Records. Library and Archives Canada.

2 thoughts on “Private Patrick Bradley

  1. The number of United States citizens and first generation British immigrants who travelled north to enlist with for service with the CEF is very difficult to determine. The chance of lost citizenship resulted in many men claiming to be Canadians when they were, in fact, born in the USA. Immigrants like Bradley were very common in the ranks of the CEF; indeed, the first deployments of the CEF were largely made up of British expatriates, but the numbers are hard to tally. Somewhere over 35,000 men of the CEF recorded their place of birth as the United States. As for being from New York, the northern states (i.e. closer to Canada rather than the Civil War definition of ‘northern’) provided the majority of volunteers.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.