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 George Nicholson Bradford

George Nicholson Bradford

Birth
Darlington, Darlington Unitary Authority, County Durham, England
Death 23 Apr 1918 (aged 31)
Zeebrugge, Arrondissement Brugge, West Flanders (West-Vlaanderen), Belgium
Burial Blankenberge, Arrondissement Brugge, West Flanders (West-Vlaanderen), Belgium
Plot A.5.
Memorial ID 9746377 · View Source
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World War I Victoria Cross Recipient. He received the award posthumously from British King George V (presented to his mother) on April 3, 1919 at Buckingham Palace in London, England for his actions as a lieutenant commander in the British Royal Navy aboard the Mersey ferry HMS Iris II on 22/23 April 1918 at Zeebrugge, Belgium during World War I. The son of a coal mine manager, he was born in Witton Park, Darlington, County Durham and educated at Darlington Grammar School, the Royal Navy School at Eltham, London, and Eastman's School in Southsea, England. In 1902 he joined the HMS Britannia as a cadet and joined the battleship HMS Vanguard in March 1910. From 1912 to the beginning of World War I he served on destroyers and rose through the ranks of the British Royal Navy throughout the war. In April 1918 the British formulated a plan to block to German U-boats that were based at the heavily fortified inland port of Ostend, near Zeebrugge, Belgium by sinking old British ships in the canal's shallow waters, to prevent the U-boats from entering the sea and wreaking havoc on British shipping. During the raid, he was killed in action at the age of 31. His body washed ashore three days later at Blankenberge, Belgium and he was given a military burial by the Germans. His Victoria Cross citation reads: "For most conspicuous gallantry at Zeebrugge on the night of the 22nd-23rd April, 1918. This Officer was in command of the Naval Storming Parties embarked in Iris II. When Iris II proceeded alongside the Mole great difficulty was experienced in placing the parapet anchors owing to the motion of the ship. An attempt was made to land by the scaling ladders before the ship was secured. Lieutenant Claude E. K. Hawkings (late Erin) managed to, get one ladder in position and actually reached the parapet, the ladder being crushed to pieces just as he stepped off it. This very gallant young officer was last seen defending himself with his revolver. He was killed on the parapet. Though securing the ship was not part of his duties, Lieut.-Commander Bradford climbed up the derrick, which carried a large parapet anchor and was rigged out over the port side; during this climb the ship was surging up and down and the derrick crashing on the Mole. Waiting his opportunity he jumped with the parapet anchor on to the Mole and placed it in position. Immediately after hooking on the parapet anchor Lieut.-Commander Bradford was riddled with bullets from machine guns and fell into the sea between the Mole and the ship. Attempts to recover his body failed. Lieut.-Commander Bradfords action was one of absolute self-sacrifice; without a moments hesitation he went to certain death, recognising that in such action lay the only possible chance of securing Iris II and enabling her storming parties to land." In addition to the Victoria Cross, he received the 1914-15 Star, the British War Medal (1914-20), and the Victory Medal (1914-19). His Victoria Cross and other medals are on display in the Lord Ashcroft Gallery at the British Imperial War Museum in London, England. His brother, Brigadier General Roland Boys Bradford, was also a Victoria Cross recipient who was killed at the Battle of Cambrai, near Canal du Nord in France. They were the only two brothers to receive the Victoria Cross during the course of World War I.

Bio by: William Bjornstad


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 3 Nov 2004
  • Find A Grave Memorial 9746377
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for George Nicholson Bradford (23 Apr 1887–23 Apr 1918), Find A Grave Memorial no. 9746377, citing Blankenberge Communal Cemetery, Blankenberge, Arrondissement Brugge, West Flanders (West-Vlaanderen), Belgium ; Maintained by Find A Grave .