FIRST NAMES: Herbert
RANK: Sgt. A/G Mid/upper
SQUADRON: 467 (Australian) Bomber Command.
ADDRESS: Mill Cottage Cockpit Hill Brompton.
MARITAL STATUS: Single
OCCUPATION: Assistant in Barkers Store.
DATE OF ENLISTMENT: 1938
STATUS: Shot down Hamburg
DATE OF DEATH: 27/28 July 1943.
WHERE BURIED: Olsdorf, HAMBURG
MEDALS: Aircrew Europe Star, 1939-45 Star, Victory Medal.
Herbert Bradley was born in Brompton on the 16th March 1916 and was the son of Mr and Mrs Bradley and brother to Betty Vera Rosa Robert and Marwood. He attended the local school and then won a sholarship to the Northallerton Grammar School. On leaving Herbert worked in the shoe department of Barker's Store but later left to become a sales representative for the Prudential Assurance Co.
In 1938 he joined the RAF and on the outbreak of war he was serving as groundcrew and was soon posted overseas to the Gold Coast. Herbert returned to Britain to train for aircrew and on completion of his training as a Sgt Air Gunner, was posted to No 467 (Australia) Squadron based at Bottesford in Nottinghamshire. The squadron flew Lancasters from Scampton,Bottesford and Waddington and was manned chiefly by Australians. However as losses mounted British aircrew were sent as replacement. The squadron flew many missions in what was known as the Battle of the Ruhr and several to Italy including Milan.
On the night of 27th July 1943, No 467 squadron was part of a force consisting of 353 Lancasters, 244 Halifaxes,116 Stirlings,74 Wellingtons, a total force of 787 aircraft briefed to attack the German city of Hamburg. On that raid the American commander Brigadier-General Anderson flew in a Lancaster as an observer. The bomber force dropped a total 2,326 tons of bombs. This was the attack that precipitated the huge fire storm which devastated the greater part of Hamburg. The firestorm caused an unusual chain of events. The summer temperature in the city that night was extremely high reaching more then 30 degrees centigrade by 6 o'clock in the evening and the humidity was only 30% as compared with the normal 40-50% for that time of the year. There had been no rain for some time and everything was extremely dry.The concentrated bombing caused a large number of fires in the densely built up working class district of Hammerbrook, Hamm and Bergfeld.The fire services were deployed in the western part of the city damping down fires from a previous raid some three days earlier and only a handful of fire units could pass through the wrecked road system. At about halfway through the raid,the raging fires began to join up taking in the surrounding oxygen creating a huge uncontrollable fire. The fire raged for several hours until everything that was combustible had been burnt. Approximately 40,000 people died in the raid mostly from asphyxiation, and immediately after the attacks more than a million people, two thirds of the population fled the city.This was not to be the last raid on Hamburg as the RAF returned several more times the following week.
Of the attacking force of bombers, 4 Halifaxes,1 Stirling 1 Wellington and 11 Lancasters were shot down by German night fighters, Herbert Bradley's aircraft being one of them.
The weekend following that fateful raid Herbert was to become engaged to Vera Mather a Northallerton girl whom he had met while working at Barkers. Vera was employed as a secretary in the store's head office. Herbert gave his sister Betty a set of thirteen sea shells, one shell for each sortie that he had flown. Herbert was shot down on his fourteenth mission.
Herbert was awarded the; 1939-45 Star Aircrew Europe Star Victroy Medal. Herbert Bradley lies buried in Ohlsdorf Commonwealth War Grave Cemetery Hamburg. Plot V Row L Grave No 11. He is also remembered in the Central Church of the Royal Air Force St Clement Danes London,on the Lych Gate War Memorial Brompton and on the Grammar School Memorial Plaque.
Herbert was aged 27 years.