Plymouth County

Cpl William C. Bradley
Born 13 Mar 1925
Died 14 Apr 1945


Death Billy Bradley
(Wm. C. Bradley, Cpl.)

Billy Bradley, son of Mrs. C. L. Bradley, was killed in action in Germany on April 14, 1945, according to a telegram received from the war department by his mother last night. He was a member of the 83rd division.

Surviving also are five sisters; (Helen) Mrs. Harry Plendl, LeMars; (Lulu) Mrs. Carl Schultz, LeMars; Dorothy of Sioux City; (Irene) Mrs. Robert Ross and (Ruth) Mrs. Raymond Barthole.

Pfc. Bradley was a little over 20 years of age when he became a victim of the war. He lived most of his life in LeMars and graduated from the local high school. He entered the army June 24, 1943, and received his training at Camps Fannin, Hood and Howze in Texas, and was shipped overseas Dec. 28, 1944. On March 13, his birthday, he was interviewed by Gordon Gammack, the war correspondent about his post-war plans. He told Gammack that he intended to complete his education in college upon receiving his discharge.

Tentative plans have been arranged for a memorial service to be held at St. John's American Lutheran Church on May 13.

Source: The LeMars Globe-Post, April 26, 1945

Billy Bradley, Walter Ruden, Gordon Phipps, Martin Hoffmann

Mrs. Clara Bradley, of LeMars, was notified Wednesday by the War Department that her son, Cpl. Billy Bradley, was killed in action in Germany, April 14.

Billy Bradley was born in LeMars, March 13, 1925, and enlisted in the Army in June, 1943, two weeks after he graduated from LeMars high school. He trained at Camps Fannin, Hood and Howzer and was an instructor after he completed his basic training. He went overseas last November where he was assigned to the 83d division with which outfit he was serving since. When he last wrote they were in the vicinity of the Elbe river.

On March 18th, his 20th birthday, he was interviewed by Gordon Gammack, the Des Moines Register correspondent, who reported the interview to the Sunday Register. He was with an infantry regiment.

Billy was the youngest member of the family and is survived by his parents and five sisters, Mrs. Carl Schultz, Mrs. Harry Plendl, Mrs. E. C. Ross, and Mrs. Mary Barthole, all of this county, and Miss Dorothy, who is employed in Sioux City.

Source: LeMars Semi-Weekly Sentinel, April 27, 1945

Was At Florist’s To Buy Flowers In Memory of Son


My son, my son, for you the victory’s won,
But oh, for me the battle’s just begun.
With quiet fortitude, you faced
The front. Thy will be done,
O Lord, teach me to pray!
My memories of you dear son;
I count them one by one.
Though you have left me,
Still I feel you near, while in my mind
There stands this picture clear—
That brave young smile you gave me as you left:
“Don’t worry, Mother dear.”
Courage of which I now seem bereft.
Yet somewhere in God’s plan I know I’ll find,
(Because He gave His Son, as I gave mine)
That “Peace on Earth, Good Will Toward Men”
For which, pray God, no blood shall e’er be shed again.

Mrs. Katherine Bradley received a bouquet of one dozen red roses on Mother’s Day—her last gift from her son, Billy, one of the last Americans to be killed in action in Germany, while surrender negotiations were already going on.

Mrs. Bradley had gone Saturday to Atwood, The Florist, to buy a bouquet of flowers in memory of her son. Mr. Atwood had been wrestling with a problem of his own. Some time ago he received an order from Billy Bradley to send a dozen red roses to his mother on Mother’s Day. Should he fill the order, now that the War Department has announced Billy’s death? That was Ray Atwood’s problem, and it was causing him loss of sleep.

He decided that it would be best to prepare Mrs. Bradley for what might be a shock. So when she stopped in at his place to order the flowers for Billy, he told her that the next day she would receive the roses Billy had ordered for her.

Mrs. Bradley said later she was glad he had prepared her, because even then, when the roses arrived, they affected her overwhelmingly.

Details as to how Billy met his death, and where he was buried were received by Mrs. Bradley in a letter from Chaplain Ernest E. Hever, written April 18, stamped May 2, and received May 10. Chaplain Hever says in part:

“Cpl. William C. Bradley was killed by shrapnel from an artillery shell. At the time he was at an advanced night outpost across the Elbe river, not far from Barby, Germany.

“Others saw the shell burst and rushed forward, finding him dead, having died instantly. To us he was a comrade in arms, faithful to his duties, and long to be remembered. Our country honors him as a man who laid down his life that others might enjoy its blessings.

“William was laid to rest in an American military cemetery in Margraten, Holland. Appropriate funeral services were conducted by a protestant chaplain. Beneath a neat white cross, beside other brave comrades, he awaits the resurrection summons of the Prince of Peace.”

Mrs. Bradley also revealed that her other children, at Billy’s special request, concealed from her the fact Billy was engaged in dangerous front-line combat. She thought he was doing relatively safe work toward the rear.

Source: LeMars Globe-Post, May 17, 1945