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Tuesday, November 10, 2015



Those of us that worship at St. Stephens Anglican Church, Hornby, ON blindly find our pew seats and dispurse at the end of service through the main aisle, without giving much else a thought. However on the rear wall in the corner are two war memorial lists from the First and Second World Wars. The World War One Memorial holds the names of thirteen men that presumably served in the Great War. My intention was to write short profiles on some of the men if I could positively identify them. They seem to be local born folks, residents or employees from the area. I have been able to  positively identify all but two. However the first man listed has actually proved the most interesting so far.
CSM Leslie Bradley, 4th Battalion
St. Stephen's Anglican Church, Hornby est. 1836
This man is described in his Military Medal citation as “courageous and brave”. He was also awarded a Belgian Croix de Guerre for valour on the battlefield. He served continously from August 1914 to March 1919, fighting in some of the fiercest battles of the war like Ypres, Vimy Ridge, Passchendaele, Amiens and Cambrai. In the process he received gunshot wounds 3 times, lost a thumb and was awarded both the Military Medal and aforementioned Croix de Guerre. More importantly he is buried within our beautiful St. Stephens Cemetery (with his wife Jean) without any notification  or any sign of his heroics or contributions to the Canadian Expeditionary Force. Leslie Bradley was born March 15, 1889 in the small hamlet of Linton, King Township (between Schomberg and Nobleton, Hwy. 27) as the 4th child of farmer John Bradley and Elizabeth Bryan’s ten children. Sometime between the 1891 and 1901 Canadian Censuses, the family moved to a farm in Trafalgar, Lot 12, Concession 7. In the 1911 Census Leslie is shown as a 22 year-old farm labourer still on his father’s farm and one of 8 children at home. There is no sign of the impending heroics or leadership skills to come in a few years. Leslie belonged to not only the St. Stephen’s congregation but also the No. 165 Hornby Orange Lodge and the 20th Halton Battalion Lorne Rifles militia regiment (“H “ Coy. Hornby). The 36th Peel Battalion and the 20th Halton Rifles provided 16 officers and 404 other ranks to the 4th Battalion of the 1st Canadian Division, CEF. 4th (Central Ontario) Battalion, CEF was organized at Valcartier under Camp Order 241 of 2 September 1914 and was composed of recruits from Military District 2  The battalion was commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel W.S. Buell who was replaced within days by Lieutenant-Colonel R.H. Labatt. Leslie Bradley was one of the 404 men to travel to Valcartier attesting to the 4th Battalion on September 22, 1914 giving his occupation as a carpenter, address as R.R. 3, Georgetown and shaving a year off his age.
The battalion embarked at Quebec on 23 September 1914 aboard SS TYROLIA, disembarking in England on 14 October 1914. Its strength was 44 officers and 1121 other ranks. The battalion disembarked in France on 11 February 1915, becoming part of the 1st Division, 1st Canadian Infantry Brigade. It was later reinforced by the 3rd Canadian Reserve Battalion.  It was involved in the following battles: Ypres (1915) Passchendaele (1917); Gravenstafel; St. Julien; Festubert (1915);Mount Sorrel; Somme (1916); Pozières; Flers-Courcelette; Ancre Heights; Arras (1917); Vimy (1917); Arleux; Scarpe(1918); Hill 70; Passchendaele; Amiens; Drocourt-Quéant; Hindenburg Line; Canal du Nord; Pursuit to Mons.
The following are excerpts from Leslie Bradley’s war service record, beginning with his arrival St. Nazaire, France on February 11, 1915:
·         Participated in the 2nd Battle of Ypres, April 1915 – first use of German gas
·         Participated in the Battles of Givenchy and Festubert, May & June 1915
·         Promoted to rank of Corporal, June 22, 1915
·         Promoted to rank of Lance Sergeant, August 1, 1915
·         Granted seven days leave. November 2, 1915
·         Attached to 1st Cdn Div. Training School, January 22, 1916
·         Admitted 3rd Cdn General Hospital, Boulogne, gun shot wound right leg & arm, March 10, 1916 – Battle of Mount Sorrel
·         Discharged hospitals, August 2, 1916
·         Taken on strength 36th Reserve Battalion, West Sandling, October 8, 1916
·         Transferred to 4th Battalion, In the Field, October 27, 1916
·         Admitted No. 39 General Hospital, LeHavre, December 3, 1916, VDS
·         Rejoined 4th Battalion, In the Field, March 13, 1917
·         Promoted to rank of Sergeant, May 4, 1917
·         Admitted #6 Casualty Clearing Station, concussion, blown up by a shell, neurosis, November 6, 1917 – Battle of Passchendaele
·         Awarded Military Medal for bravery and devotion , December 23, 1917 for actions at the Battle of Passchedaele
·         Rejoined 4th Battalion, In the Field, November 19, 1917
·         Granted 14 days leave, December 16, 1917
·         Promoted to rank Company Sergeant-Major  and Warrant Officer Class II, December 20, 1917
·         Awarded the Belgium Croix de Guerre for bravery on the battlefield, July 12, 1918
·         Admitted No. 32 Stationary Hospital, GSW hand & thumb amputated, September 27, 1918 – Battle of Canal du Nord
·         Returned to Canada, S.S. Empress of Britain, Liverpool to Halifax, February 17, 1919  
·         Discharged Toronto as “Medically Unfit” March 28, 1919
From the Milton Champion January 1916
A letter was received and printed from Sgt. Leslie Bradley who complained that the regimental goat nearly got his package from home: from Gunner Emory Bradley, at the Grange Hospital, Kent who reported that his foot was healing.
Leslie Bradley's gravestone in St.Stephen's Ceme
On return to civilian life, it appears that Leslie returned to farming. He is shown as the sole occupant of a farm on R.R.#3 Georgetown, Township of Esquesing in the 1921 Canada Census. On April 16, 1924, 35 year old Leslie Bradley married a 20 year-old clerk from Hagersville, Jean Elizabeth Wilson, in Hamilton. His brother Emery was his witness. Leslie Bradley took over the general store in Postville, Township of Trafalgar, in 1925. He also took over as postmaster. The Trafalgar Post office was at the rear of the store. Irene Saunders tells us in the 2011 Summer Newsletter of the Trafalgar Township Historical Society, that her Uncle Leslie's pay was not as much as the former postmaster because he lacked experience. The store was the second house west of Trafalgar Road on Dundas Road, then known as the 7th Line. In the late 1940's, the highway department insisted the store sign was too big so it had to be replaced. Some other information from the Bradley family: The previous owner's name was Carpenter. Leslie Bradley almost lost the store in the depression and the Carpenters tried to get it back, but he was able to borrow money from the McClary sisters to pay the mortgage and keep the store. The building on the left was not separate from the store. There was a veranda on the front of the house with a lattice for privacy. You may also note the trellis for Mr. Bradley's climbing roses. The left store window was on the hardware side; probably cans of paint. The right side was for groceries; the picture shows the ends of the shelving of canned goods. You may also note the post on the right store front is out of line, not straight up and down like the other ones. The story goes that in earlier times farmers would tie their horse to that post - and it was the horses that pulled it out of line. Leslie and Jean went on to have children Lorne, Donald, Laura and Edgar.
Belgium Croix de Guerre
Postville/ Post's Corners - Located at Trafalgar and Dundas, it was a Hamlet called Post's Corners from at least 1815 - 1851 and called Postville by 1857. It was the location of the local store, school, Steam saw Mill, Inn, Drill shed for the local militia and Post Office. It was also a stage stop between York and Dundas. It was called Post's Corners because Ephraim Post owned the sw corner and the north-east corner. It is not clear when they first owned this land but sometime between 1807 and 1816.The Inn was on the s.w. corner and the store and post office a bit farther west on the n.w. corner. The store was owned by Squire James Appelbe and around 1840 the post office was also moved into the store. (Having previously being located east of Post's Corners and Alexander Proudfoot being the postmaster.) Just below the south east corner there was a steam saw mill. In the late 1960's the Inn was torn down and the general store taken down to make way for a service station. The Post's home on the north-east corner of Dundas & Trafalgar was torn down in 1965.

Leslie Bradley's store near Trafalgar Road
So apparently, from the time the Bradley’s settled in Trafalgar about the turn of the 19th Century until Leslie’s death on July 2, 1979 (and perhaps longer) the family were regular constituents of our St. Stephens Anglican Church in Hornby. We should note at this point that Leslie’s younger brother, Emery, is also mentioned on the St. Stephens WWI Memorial Roll as well. Emery, born in 1895, tried to enlist in the 20th Battalion November 1914 but was refused as under aged. However he did enlist 1915 in Toronto’s 9th Battery, # 83222 Canadian Field Artillery and served in England and France through the war. After crushing his ankle under a horse in November 1916 in Belgium, it appears he served the remaining of the war as an artillery instructor in both England and France, being discharged 1919 in Toronto. He died March 12, 1981 in London, ON.

Bob Richardson
(416) 434-7784

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