The story starts with the arrive of 7 WWI medals in my mail box.
John Bradney first served the colony of NSW in the Boer War as a member of the NSW Imperial Bushman. At aged 42 John enlisted in the AIF and was allocated to the 56th Battalion, AIF. John was declared killed in action on 9 Oct 17 and is commemorated at Villers-Bretonneux Cemetery.
Donald Walter Bradney was 26 when he enlisted in to 30th Battalion, AIF. Donald survived the war and died in 1955.
Another member of the Bradney family also served. This was Reginald Raymond Wildman, the nephew of the Bradney brothers. Reg was a Bradney and initially allocate to 1st Battalion but later transferred to 54th Battalion. Reg took part in the Battle of Fromelles and reported mission in action before being declared KIA on 19 July 1916. Reg's remains were not found. That would all change after the discover of a mass grave in 2006 based on the research of Lambis Englezos. Following extensive research and DNA testing many of the bodies in the grave have been identified. This included the remains of Reg. Norma provided the DNA sample. My friends Tim Lycett and Sandra Playle have also played a big part in the research of these soldiers and recently published a book about it called Fromelles: the Final Chapters.
My sincere thanks go to Renn M who sent me the medals and to Norma for all the information and pictures that she has allowed me to reproduce. The returned medal tally is now 1334.
Post update 13 Oct 13
I am very grateful to Norma who has provided me a 1891 newspaper article about the Bradney family and biographical details of the soldiers in this story.
Photo added 20 Oct 13 This cross was found on the body of Reginald Raymond Wildman.
2376 Private John Bradney
56th Battalion AIF
Born June, 1874 at Gundaroo, NSW
Died 2-4-1917 at Louverval Village, France
His name appears on the Memorial Panel 161, 26 Villers Bretonneux, France.
Son of John and Catherine Bradney of Gundaroo, NSW. The family later moved to Wagga Wagga NSW.
John Bradney Jnr. was born at Gundaroo NSW and was privately tutored at home. According to his sister, Emily, "he understood all kinds of machinery and farming". He went to the Boer War as a Riverina Scout Recruit with the Hon. Rupert Carington Force shortly before the end of that conflict. In 1907 he received a Soldier Settlement Grant, No. 1907.33 to purchase 'Gobbagombalin', Farm No. 150 in the Parish of Cottee near Wagga Wagga. He subsequently enlisted for WW1, at Wagga Wagga NSW on 9th April, 1916 and was killed in France during the campaign which pushed the German troops back to the Hindenburg Line (known as the Siegfried Line). John's brother Wentworth was killed at Glengorse Wood in Northern France whilst serving with the 54th Battalion and his brother Donald was severely wounded in 1918. His nephew, for whom he was guardian, Reginald Raymond Bradney/Wildman was also killed in France, at Fromelles, with the 54th Battalion on 20th July, 1916 and was identified and re-interred in the new Fromelles Cemetery in 2010.
1620 Wentworth Edward Bradney
54th Bn AIF
Born 1883 KIA 24 Sep 17 memorialised at Menin Gate, panel 158.
Son of John and Catherine Bradney. Wentworth was the twin brother of Mabel Ademia Bradney. He enlisted at Wagga Wagga on 22-11-1915 and joined the Kangaroo March
to Sydney, 315 miles away. He was taken into the 'B' Company of the AIF at Goulburn, embarked on the 'Ceramic' at Sydney with the 2/55th Battalion and was transferred to the 54th Battalion, the same Battalion as his nephew Reginald Raymond Bradney/Wildman,
who had enlisted on 31-12-1914 and who saw action at Gallipoli. They both served in Nth. Africa and then in France where they both died. His brother John also served in France with the 56th Battalion and was killed at Villers Bretonneux but his brotherDonald Walter Bradney of the 14th Howitzer Unit survived and returned to Australia as an invalid
846 Gunner/Driver Bradney, Donald Walter
Born 1888 Wagga Wagga, NSW - Died 1955 Gosford, NSW
Son of John And Catherine Bradney.
On 22nd July, 1915 Donald Bradney enlisted as Gunner/Driver
in the Australian Howitzer Battery of the 14th Field Artillery Brigade. He was 26 years and 8 mths old when he enlisted at Liverpool and was described as being 5'3", weighing 168 lbs
with a chest measurement of 38", with fair complexion, blue eyes and fair hair. At that time he was a farm labourer working on the family farm. After training in England and Egypt he left for France on 26th March, 1917 and was gassed, on 8th August, 1918, in France and returned to England. On 9th December, 1918 he was returned to Australia aboard the 'Argyllshire' with a wasted left leg.Of three sons and one grandson of John and Catherine Bradney he was the only one to return to Wagga Wagga where he was still living in 1943. His last known address was Stewart Street, Killcare, NSW in 1954 where he lived with his long-time partner Ellen.
1888 Private Reginald Raymond Wildman
54th Battalion 2nd A.I.F
Born 14th April,1896 at Keiraville (Kiama) NSW
KIA Battle of Fleurbaix, Fromelles, 20th July, 1916
Son of Auriol Agnes Bradney
Reginald's early years were spent with his mother's relatives, the Wildman family of Kiama district and he took their name. Later he was living with his Guardian and Uncle John Bradney at the family farm, Hevington, near Coolamon, NSW. When he joined the Army Cadets he was advised to enlist under the name he was known by i.e. Wildman. Therefore when he attested for the Rein 2nd Battalion on 30th December, 1914 he did so as Reginald Raymond Wildman and was enlisted as Private No. 1888 in the 2nd Battalion AIF on 2nd January, 1915 and took part in the Gallipoli landing on 25th April, 1915. He was transferred to the 54th Battalion on 14th February, 1916 and was sent to Egypt, about May, 1916, according to his mother's information. Reg signed his enlistment paper as 'R. Wildman' and his attestation paper as 'Regenal Ramon Wildman'. He named his uncle John Bradney as his next-of-kin. John Bradney enlisted on 9th April, 1916 and was also killed in action in France in 1917. Reg's death was registered as Reginald Raymond Wildman. He was killed in action near Pozieres, in what the British called the Battle of Fleurbaix, on the morning of 20th July, 1916. His name is amongst those on the Memorial at VC Corner Australian Cemetery Memorial, Fromelles, Nord Grave/Panel No. 11. In 2010 He was re-interred, with others from the original mass grave, in the new Fromelles Military Cemetery - Plot 3, Row A, Grave 4, having been formally identified when his DNA was matched to that of his niece, Norma Staber, daughter of his sister Alice Rock, nee Jones.
There appears to have been contact between Reg. and his birth mother, Auriol Agnes Bradney, over the years as part of his schooling was done at Kittigra Public School, near Coolamon. He lived for some time at Coolamon and was working there at the time of his enlistment. He wrote to her whilst on active service and she received the notification when he was killed in action. Reg's uncle, Wentworth Edward Bradney (b.1883), transferred from the 55th Battalion to the 54th Battalion on 16th June, 1916 and appears to have been in North Africa when Reg. was lost, but he himself was killed in Glengorse Wood in Northern France or Belgium.
Three of the sons of John and Catherine Bradney of Wagga Wagga and one grandson enlisted with the Army and only one son, Donald Walter Bradney, returned home, gassed and lamed but he did return. John Bradney Snr. died on 1st February, 1916 at the age of 71. His wife Catherine had died in 1908, aged 56 years.
A portrait in oils, of Reginald was still in the possession of Auriol's daughter, Alice Rock (nee Jones) at the time of her death and was bequeathed to her daughter, Norma Staber. His Anzac Medallion was passed on to Norma by her cousin Alan Hayes' widow, Dot Hayes, in 2001 when she learnt of Norma's interest in his history.
The Bradney Family of Wagga Wagga
John Bradney was born in 1844 at Jamberoo NSW, the first of ten children of John Bradney and Ademia Henry. John Bradney Snr. also had eleven children with Anna Louise (Anne) Pugh Nicholls, whom he married six years after the death of Ademia. He and Anne already had nine children before their marriage with their tenth child being born the day after that event. Their eleventh child was born in the following year.
Catherine Bradney (nee Brownlow) was born in 1851 at Gundaroo, the daughter of George Moore Brownlow and Mary Ann Brownlow (nee Guise). After the deaths of both of her parents in 1855 Catherine and her sister Eliza were raised by their mother's sister and her husband, Henry and Elizabeth Lintott of 'Woodbury', Gundaroo and Wagga Wagga.
Catherine died in the Belmore Nursing Home in Wagga Wagga in 1908 and was interred at Wagga Wagga Cemetery.
John died at Coolamon on 1st February, 1916 and was also interred at Wagga Wagga Cemetery, whilst two of his sons, Wentworth Edward and Donald Walter were away at war. His eldest son, John, enlisted on 9th April, 1916, apparently leaving his youngest brother, Hevington, to run the family farm, which is probably why Hevington didn't enlist. The farm was called, at that time,' Hevington'. John's grandson, Reginald Raymond Bradney/Wildman, was the first from the farm to join the Army, having attested on 30-12-1914
at the age of eighteen and enlisting with the 2nd Battalion AIF on 2nd January, 1915 and was transferred to the 54th Battalion on 14th February, 1916, just two weeks after the death of his grandfather.
The children of John and Catherine were:-
Emily born 1870 at Gundagai
John born 1874 at Gundaroo
Auriol born 1878 at Narrandera
Elizabeth (Bessie) born 1880 at Narrandera
Wentworth Edward born 1883 at Wagga Wagga (twin)
Mabel Ademia born 1883 at Wagga Wagga (twin)
Melville Henry born 1885 at Wagga Wagga
Donald Walter born 1888 at Wagga Wagga
William George born 1891 at Wagga Wagga - died 1892
Hevington David born 1892 at Wagga Wagga
Ida Maud born 1896 at Wagga Wagga
The males of this family were all handsome men and the girls were very attractive. Emily was still attractive at the time of her last marriage (her fourth) when she was 75 years of age. She was not married to the husband of her first child, Albert Ernest Bradney, who was born at Kiama in the Wollongong District where the other branch of the family lived. There is no record of Albert having lived in Wagga Wagga but when he died in 1943 at Jerilderie his name was unchanged. Emily was married three times at Wagga Wagga and lastly at Petersham in Sydney. The two children of her first marriage both died in infancy and she had none with her later husbands.
It has been reported that there are still members of the McKenzie family in Wagga Wagga but it is not known whether or not they are descended from Mabel Bradney and Hugh McKenzie who were married in Wagga Wagga in 1904.
This information is provided by Mrs. Norma Staber, great-granddaughter of John and Catherine Bradney from the family photo album, family records and letters as well as WW1 War Records.
Wagga Wagga Advertiser Thursday 6 August 1891
A Day at "Sunnyside."
MIDWAY between Wagga and Upper Tarcutta, and about three miles north-west of the Borarabola Homestead, may be seen Mr. John Bradney's most appropriately named property "Sunnyside." The commodious residence standing on a mild elevation slightly to the West, and in sight of the
road, catches old 'Sol's earliest beam. A young and spacious orchard already productive, gives healthy promise of fruitful results. Mr. Bradney, who is a most genial host, possesses it addition to other numerous comforts a good earnest helpmate and nine children-five boys
and four daughters (one of the latter being married). He originally lived at Gunderoo, journeying thence to the plains, he subsequently anchored at " Sunnyside," where he has resided for eight years. He owes his success purely to his enterprise, and thrift two qualifications which combine in perfect harmony with energy, and a sound, practical knowledge of all the affairs appertaining to the skilful management of a farm. Mr. B. is regarded as an authority. He knows the difference between a horse and a cow, and when he harnesses his ploughing team the collar and, bames go on together. His property embraces an area of 1400 acres, 188 of which is cultivated under cereals, oats and wheat the
yield of the latter last year amounting to 800 bushels about, the grain, being- rather pinched in consequence of rust which is the chief opponent to the success of all farmers. Mr. B. considers that there is no officious preventative of this trouble, but by sowing early, about April, the danger is greatly minimised. The hay crop of last season was about 150 tons, the wheat is disposed of locally, but the hay is dispatched to the metropolis, where there is ever a fair demand for good wholesome stuff; Mr.B. finds, on the whole, that it is more remunerative to pay the additional expenses incurred in transit to Sydney than to sell it at Wagga, where the consumption at present is inadequate to
insure an expeditious and payable sale. In the yard I noticed two large waggons burdened with about 6 and a 1/2 tons each ready to start for Wagga, to be sent thence to Messrs. Heaton Bros., Sydney. Farming on a cramped scale never pays, and with the lapse of the past decade hard labor has been so entirely superseded by the operation of mechanical implements that the hand reaper, mower, binder, etc. is becoming a personage of little utility-a "wasty product." Mr. Bradney's farm is replete with every mechanical aid, and he assures me that he would strongly advise every farmer to avail himself of the advantages of machinery as there undoubtedly are enormous dividends to be derived from
them in the shape of labor saved and time saved. "Time is money," and therefore time saved is money saves. " Q.E D." To begin with, Mr. B. has three double furrow ploughs (two Hudson Bros, and one Lennon), £26 each one six-furrow paring plough (Hudson Bros.) 20 pound 10s. With the
latter six horses are used and a fair day's effort turns over six acres. Before ploughing, the land is thoroughly cleared of weeds or other growths by the admittance of sheep, then the seed is sown, and the ploughing commences, much time being saved, and another important advantage as well is obtained by this mode of procedure. The grain, being deeper, germinates and becomes very strongly established in root 'ere it arrives at the surface, and then the attacks of the birds, usually so fatal, become of little moment, the stalks become strong and sturdy however assaulted by the winged assailants, so much for the ploughs. Mr. B. uses steel, oval tined zig-zag harrows, which be finds
more penetrating and durable. With the 16ft. harrow four horses are worked, and three with the 12ft harrow. The sowing is performed by a Martin's seed sower, capable of sowing fully 12 acres an hour. Mr.B. uses two reaper and binders, one is an Osborne the other a McCormack, the latter is simpler and being a later and more improved machine does better work. The cost of these landed was £70 each. A Robinson stripper and winnower has been obtained from Melbourne at a cost of £92 10s and
does its part here. I next came to the engine (a six horse Marshall) which drives a Buncles travelling chaff-cutter. This engine is built especially for the work assigned it and for use in the colonies. The fire box is sufficiently large to admit a log 3ft. 6in. And the exhaust steam delivers into the tub and is re-delivered into the boiler which helps to maintain the heat, and consequently less fuel is requited to
maintain the required pressure (about 60lbs.) It was obtained from Messrs. McLean Bros., and Rigg, through Lorimer and Co., Wagga, and gave Mr. Bradney every satisfaction, as did likewise Messrs. Edmondson and Co., through whom the Chaff-cutter was obtained. Bradney speaks in glowing terms of his agents, who, he says, performed his business with the greatest of fairness and expediency. The chaff-cutter (£260), one of Buncos best, is fitted with every necessary contrivance and works splendidly, all the tailings are redelivered into the feed box, all waste being thus obivate. It is capable of cutting 2/12 tons per hour, and the length of the chaff can be regulated to a nicety. The bagger keeps two men actively employed, one adjusting the bags, the other sewing them up, with care a hundredweight can be got into a bag, but the average is about 85 or 90 lbs. Mr. Bradney speaks in high terms of the capacity of the machine and when I asked him where it was made he slyly remarked "in Melbourne they don't make them in 'Freetrade' Sydney, it doesn't pay,"-Mr. Bradney is a Protectionist, as most farmers and producers are. While Mr. B. and his aids were engaged in getting the machine into motion, Mr. Charles Archer had a most miraculous escape
from death. He had mounted the boiler to adjust the belt, and in order to get it on to the wheel, he turned the latter. Immediately the engine started (it appears the valve was slightly open), and poor Archer was soon in among the governors, piston-rode eccentric, and fly wheel. I stood within three feet of him almost paralysed. I could do nothing. The engine driver (Master J. Bradney),
immediately ran up and stopped the engine, but the weight of the large wheel maintained the motion for a time, and when at length we lifted Archer from his perilous position he was as white as a sheet, and bruised badly, his body also showing abrasion but he was alive, and therein lies the wonder had he moved his feet out of the horizontal, or relaxed his hold for a moment, he was lost. I hope to hear of his speedy recovery from the severe shock and bruising.
Gently the mandoline,
Our tenure of life is uncertain,
For truly we never know when
Like a streak in the west we may vanish,
And fade from the vision of men.
Mr. Bradney owns 1200 breeding sheep and about: 50 head of cattle, in addition to numerous horses and other livestock. His yield of wheat varies from 25 to 40 bushels per acre, according to the peculiarities of the season or prevalence of rust, etc. Hares are unpleasantly numerous, doing considerable damage to the crop. When I visit Sunnyside again I shall take my " iron" and a full belt of cartridges. The education of Mr Bradney's little ones is entrusted to Mr. T. F. Mason, and they are in most efficient hands.