Old Photographs: Military & Wartime

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Wiltshire Volunteers

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K Company cycle corpsK Company cyclists of Wiltshire Volunteers, photographed in 1901 outside Duckmead House, Monkton Farleigh, the home of their Captain, Erlysman Pinckney.

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Soldiers on Bradford Station platformPart of a line-up of soldiers on Bradford Station. They were probably from E Company the Wiltshire Volunteers and were about to depart by train for manoeuvres in 1903.

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The Great War 1914-1918

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Army Cyclists, Market Street 1915Watched by a crowd of Bradfordians, army cyclists file out of Church Street and down Market Street. They were probably members of a battalion of the Army Cyclist Corps, which was based at Abbey Mill early in the war. The date was probably 1915. The Town Hall, black with soot, had been up for sale since the Urban District Council decided to move to Westbury House in 1911.

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A.H. BakerThe commanding officer of these World War 1 soldiers, in the armchair in the centre, was Captain A. H. Baker. After the war he was a teacher at the Fitzmaurice Grammar School in Bradford.

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Great War soldiers out of uniformThe group of soldiers that have been photographed out of uniform in the Great War include Berkley James Uncles (front row, second from the right) who became a sapper, serving in the Balkans, because of his engineering background.

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Jack RaineJohn  Claude (Jack) Raine (1894-1916) was one of the Bradfordians who died in the Great War. He was an acting sargeant in the Wiltshire Regiment when he was killed at Falahiyeh in Mesopotamia (modern ‘Iraq) at the age of 22.

D.G. ParfittDavid George Parfitt, although originally from Bradford, was Company Sargeant Major in the Winnipeg Rifles, Canadian Infantry. He had been a member of the Bradford Church Lads’ Brigade before the war and this photograph, which is from the album belonging to Captain O.P. Skrine, has ” reported missing & believed killed” on the back. He died on 26th September 1916 on the Somme.

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Much more information on the Bradfordians who were killed in the Great War is in Jonathon Falconer’s book “Names in stone”.

Armistice parade, Victory Field 1918At the close of the war in 1918 an Armistice Parade was held in the field next to Pound Lane, Frome Road that has been called Victory Field ever since. As well as representatives of the forces, groups from churches, chapels, schools and scouts joined the march past with their banners.

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See also == > Avoncliff Red Cross Hospital

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Dedication of the war memorial in 1922The dedication ceremony of the town’s War Memorial in Westbury Gardens took place in 1922. The memorial is made of Ham Hill Stone from Somerset, rather than local stone and lists the names of those who died on two cast bronze plaques. Another plaque in the same style was added after the Second World War with a list of those who died in that war.

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Second World War 1939-1945

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Local Defence Volunteers (The Home Guard)

The Home Guard was drawn from men who were too old, young or incapacitated for active service in the forces, as well as many who were in reserved occupations -whose jobs were considered vital for the functioning of the country in World War 2. The volunteers were expected to defend the home front in case of invasion.

Bradford on Avon Home GuardMembers of Bradford on Avon Home Guard

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Holt Home GUardHolt’s Home Guard, photographed in the gardens of The Courts; the big tree in the background was a tulip tree which was blown down in a gale in 1995.

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Holt Home Guard Another photograph of the Holt volunteers, including names of the individuals which shows that several members were from Staverton, on the other side of the River Avon.

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ARP Wardens

Bradford ARP Wardens 1944Bradford’s Air Raid Precaution Wardens photographed outside the Memorial Baths in 1944. They were mainly part-time volunteers whose job was to enforce blackout regulations, to prevent lights being seen by enemy aircraft, but were expected to administer aid after a bombing raid. Their headquarters was at Christ Church Vicarage in Masons Lane.

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Royal Observer Corps

Royal Observer CorpsMembers of the Observer Corps who kept watch on the movement of enemy aircraft during World War 2. They were based at Ashley, where there was good view over the surrounding area and where an underground Cold War bunker was set up afterwards.

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