John Mc Donald-Bradley

Co. Offaly

John Mc Donald Bradley

Early Life

John Mc Donald Bradley was born in Tullamore, the " King's County" (Offaly), sometime in 1891. For the first year of his life he lived in William's Street, Tullamore. Sadly he was orphaned at a young age when both his mother- Alice Elizabeth, and his father- Donald Alexander died within months of each other.

tullamore Co Offaly 

John's Birthplace

He was fostered by his uncle, John Bernard, who raised him and saw to his education in Wesley College Dublin, and Portora Royal School, Enniskillen.

1901 Census Return For " Donald Bradley" 

The War

Following his education, he trained as an accountant in Dublin, lodging in Bayview, Pembroke East circa 1911. Without doubt, this ultimately led to his joining of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers.  He died on the 30th of September, 1918, age 27 with no relatives, no one to remember him.    

He was buried in Grevillers British Cemetery- grave reference XV. A. 14. 

Brief Note

John McDonald Bradley was born in Tullamore County Offaly, his parents were Alice and Donald, and he was taken in by his uncle, John. However, this it truly as much as we can be sure of. If you look at the census returns up, you will notice that John is listed as Donald only. As there are no census reports at the time and a large amount of documentation has been lost over the years. We cannot even be sure that his actual name was John McDonald Bradley, as it seems as if, in earlier life he adopted the name of ' Donald Bradley' only to later take on the name of his uncle- ' John McDonald'. 

Due to these confusions, finding information on John, an only child with no living relatives was extremely difficult and I feel that without the help of my history teacher; Mr. Brian Kennedy and the kind members of the Offaly Historical Society, very little, if any information would have been found on the intriguing, and all but forgotten life of John McDonald Bradley.

My Story

In late 2014 I was sitting in class when my history teacher- Mr. Brian Kennedy came to the door and called me out. He informed me of a project in which a student from each county in Ireland would first research a soldier and then travel to the Somme in France for a 4 day trip where we would learn more about the history of World War One. All i had to do was send in a brief essay to Gerry Moore stating why I thought i would be a good addition to the project and what it would mean to me to go. A couple of days later I was notified by my school Principal that I was now one of the 32 young people heading to France and Belgium on June 26th, I was now representing Offaly. I could never have predicted the extent  to which this 4 day drip would impact me and the sheer power of the cemeteries that we would visit.