Whilst a group of volunteers began clearing the cellars underneath a block here at Portland Works, they were very surprised to discover an interesting piece of history that had been lying there for many years. This was found to be a certificate issued by the National Scheme for the Employment of Disabled Servicemen to a Sheffield resident after the First World War that was being stored in the Works temporarily. Upon its discovery, Gill Johnson, a longstanding volunteer at Portland Works, took the document to be examined and if possible, restored by Sheffield Archives. Gill also had it examined by an expert in researching family history to get some advice and learn more about the certificate. As you can imagine, the damp basements of Portland Works are not recommended as ideal archival storage conditions and the certificate was found in a dire state. A contact of Gill’s at the Archives even described it as ‘one stage away from papier mache! Fortunately, it was able to be restored into the current state you can see now which we are very happy about.
The expert was able to uncover a lot about the lives relating to this document and brought the artifact to life!
The National Scheme for the Employment of Disabled Servicemen was established to support those who were injured and disabled as a result of their service in the First World War. The scheme later went on to be called The King’s Royal Scheme for the disabled servicemen in 1921. Overall, this scheme was incredibly practical in working towards the repair of Britain after such a war, and it was most definitely very ahead of its time. We have discovered that the recipient of this document was a Mr John Cyril Lloyd Bradbury who was listed on the 1911 census as 16 years old (born December 1895), still at school and living with his parents and sisters at 547 Attercliffe Road. His father was a printer/newsagent.
Of course, being this age made him the preferred candidate to volunteer or be conscripted in the 1914-1918 war. Our expert has traced the young man to have been serving in France with the Yorks/Lancs Regiment as a Lance Corporal with the 1st battalion and later as a 2nd lieutenant. Through him receiving this document we know that Bradbury was injured during his time in the war.
With only little detail of Bradbury’s time in the war, all of us at Portland Works were interested in finding out more about this Sheffield born hero. We got in touch with a military expert to see what they could tell us, with her having acquaintances in the same Regiment that Bradbury was in during the war, we gained a lot of information on this historic figure. From this research we discovered that Bradbury had volunteered to fight in the war on 14th April 1914 and was not conscripted. He joined the British Expeditionary Force as part of the 49th Division, travelling the world to fight for his country. He moved to the Somme in 1916 for trench duties, he then travelled to Belgium to join the third battle of Ypres and he also took part in the Battle of Poelcappelle, Flanders. 2nd Lieutenant Bradbury remained in Belgium until 15th October 1918. It was then that Bradbury was hurt fighting in the Hundred Day Offensive during the pursuit of the River Selle, unfortunately he injured his right leg which led to it being amputated. Therefore, Bradbury was now a disabled man who would need to find work, and thanks to this government scheme he may not have had to wait as long as you’d think.
This scheme meant Bradbury was able to gain employment shortly after he had recovered from his injury in the First World War. Similarly, many people benefiting from this scheme found work with R. F. Mosley as Portland Works employed many ex-soldiers who fought for their country at this time.
As well as this, we know that after his time in the war, Bradbury married Lilian Blackburn in 1920 and by 1939 he was living on Rupert Road and is described as a printer/stationer, like his father. This address shows a move from the east end of the city to greener surroundings, quite luckily giving the attention the east end received from the Luftwaffe during the Second World War. Sadly, like all others who fought for their country in the First World War, John Cyril Lloyd Bradbury is no longer with us. He passed away in 1972 whilst living at Dobcroft Road at the age of 77.
All of us at Portland Works would like to give a massive thank you to Gill Johnson and all others involved in the discovery of and research into this certificate that tells us much about the ethos of the company of R.F. Mosley.