William James Bradford
Serial No. 5334
1st Battalion & 53rd Battalion
William James Bradford - Information
William James Bradford was born in Campbelltown c1871. By the time war commenced in 1914, William was working as a lopper and post master, living in Nimmitabol with his wife Jessie Ada Bradford and their ten children. On the 11th of November 1915, William enlisted in the AIF at Goulburn, aged 44. William was made a Private to the 17th Reinforcements, 1st Battalion, which left Sydney Harbour on the HMAT Ceramic on the 14th of April 1916.
William arrived at Suez on the 16th of May 1916, and was marched into Tel-el-Kebir Camp, and then the 14th Training Battalion. In May, William was transferred to the 53rd Infantry Battalion and was sent to the trenches in France. The 5th Division were soon poised for a diversionary attack, to occupy German reserves from the Somme battle. William and his unit were to participate in the devastating operation at Fromelles. On the 19th of July, men ran into intense enfilading German fire. Some made it to the German's trenches only to become cut off. William watched many of his friends torn to pieces, and had to remain in the lines for months under strength. They spent the winter south, on the muddy battlefield of the Somme. On the 14th of December, he was taken sick at the 5th Australian Division Base Depot. He was then transferred to hospital in England with bronchitis. In England, William was also diagnosed with myalgia and debility. After recovering, he rejoined the 53rd Battalion at the end of March 1917. Despite his time in hospital, William continued to suffer from chronic rheumatism and debility. He reported sick again and was now diagnosed with neurasthenia, a form a shell shock. Unable to return to active duty, William was invalided home to Australia on the 22nd of July 1917.
William's son, Eric Arthur Bradford, also enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force. Eric was born in Goulburn and was 18 when he applied for service. Eric was assigned to the 53rd Battalion in the same unit as his father, and was shipped to Suez and then to Tel-el-Kebir. Eric again like his father, was transferred to the 53rd Battalion on the 20th of May 1916. Eric similarly suffered from illness and was invalided to Australian with debility on the 31st of January 1918.