The 4 Bradfords
Heroes of World War I

Brigadier-General Bradford Addresses His Troops Fresh from England

Pic of VC Register Entry for Roland Bradford

The V. C. Register's Entry for Roland Boys Bradford
Great Britain's highest award; given for most conspicuous bravery, a daring or preeminent act of valour, self-sacrifice or extreme devotion to duty in the presence of the enemy

"Comrades, I want to welcome you all to the 9th Durham Light Infantry. Most of you will have heard something of our Battalion. It has a great reputation. That reputation is not built up by one or two flash-in-the-pan incidents. It has been built up by the hard honest work and soldierly conduct of the men at all times, and by their skill and pluck in action during a period of over two years' Active Service.

"Our Battalion is universally respected and envied, so you see a great responsibility rests with you. You have got to help us maintain, and even increase, our present efficiency.

"You must always do the best work of which you are capable, try hard and conscientiously to keep yourselves fit, happy and efficient. Make yourselves masters of your own particular job as soldiers; do your duty willingly and thoroughly.

"The Call of Duty is a sacred one. We must do our duty, not merely to gain praise and advancement thereby, but because it is our duty, our duty to ourselves, our comrades, our Battalion, our families, our country, our King, and to the God who made us, and will help us in our work.

"You will find that you will be happy in this Battalion; you will find some splendid friends; your officers and non-commissioned officers are men who realise that they are made of the same sort of clay as you, and are in sympathy with your difficulties, and will do all they can to look after your interests. They know their job and will lead you well at all times.

"We are all working for the same purpose, the complete defeat of the enemy, and we must work together, each for each, and all for each.

"Upon behalf of the gallant lads whom I have had the honour to command, I welcome you to our midst. You are now of us, and will work with us and for us.

"My friends, I am going to arrange for the band to play one verse of the hymn 'Abide with me' every evening. I would like all of you then reverently to join in the words. It should mean more to you and me than the singing of a well-known hymn. 'Abide with me' should be no mere catchphrase with us.

"It means that we realise that there is Someone who really abides with us, and who will help us to help ourselves. Someone who is with us in all our sorrows and hardship, and every man in the world has a fair share of that.

"We soldiers should find great comfort in that fact, however much our comrades and those about us may overlook our work, there is Someone who sees and appreciates it. He is with us, I say, just as our friends, Sergeant Caldwell, Corporal Guy, and Private Halley are now serving with Him."

B & W pic of 'Abide with me' with Roland's signature ordered for RBB's Christmas Card to all in his battalion from Raphael Tuck and Sons Limited
This is a black and white version of the card which Roland had commissioned and of which he was ordering 3000 copies signed copy for each of the officers and men in his Battalion from the well-known card publishers Raphael Tuck and Sons Limited, of Raphael House, Moorfields, in the City of London.

There is in existence an interesting copy letter of Roland's, dated 8th November 1917. It is quite obviously part of a correspondence he was having with the publishers of his 'Abide with me' card. It gives us one or two more examples of the attention to detail which was so much a part of Roland's character. Click here to see the text of the typed letter shown in full on this website's page of items connected with Roland which are on display at The Shipley Art Gallery in Gateshead.

Click here for page of Tribute Letters about Roland Bradford

Click here for Roland's Address to his New Troops fresh out from England

Click here to see page with details of Memorials & Plaques in Roland's memory