Audio Recordings: Wartime Memories with George and Megan Bradley

Wartime Memories – George & Megan Bradley with John Rawlins Part 1
Wartime Memories – George & Megan Bradley with John Rawlins Part 2

George and Megan Bradley lived in Station Road, Shipton. George had a haulage business and brother Reg ran a garage business. Originally in Station Road, they then moved to centre of Shipton to new premises used by the Americans during the war.

This informal conversation with John Rawlins was recorded on March 17th 1988 -a fact not clear in the records, but revealed in Part 2 at 18.46 when George refers to his Day Book and mentions St Patrick’s day 1938, and the 50 years which had gone by since that day.

George Bradley’s Bedford lorry used in his haulage business. Shown in Station Road looking North. Note the masked headlights as used for wartime service

This is a single conversation in two parts, divided simply because of the arrival of Megan Bradley halfway through. There is no introduction, and we launch straight into George Bradley’s (mainly) wartime memories.

During World War Two, George was doing important work delivering goods to various locations in a 100-mile radius of Shipton, which included regular trips to London. At the time of the wartime bombings, this was precarious work, and George describes it in some detail. He was involved in the ferrying of evacuees and their belongings, including furniture rescued from bombed-out houses and collected wherever space allowed.

George has much to say in favour of the Home Guard and talks about the quality leadership of Lord Latimer of Shipton Lodge, his involvement with good friend Arthur Simms in the ferrying of a Browning machine gun and ammunition to various lookout points around the village(s), and the lectures given to build preparations for any emergency.

Before and during the arrival of Megan Bradley into the conversation, George and John are looking at a group photograph and recalling the many names and characters in it. Among those names are Fred Rathbone, Bill Kimber and Owen Turner. There are many others.

In the second part of the conversation, among memories of evacuees, low-flying Spitfires, and requisitioned land for aircraft maintenance, Megan has several anecdotes, and a particularly touching one about the arrival at her house of three big men “asking for potatoes”… These turned out to be three exhausted Canadian soldiers looking for a place to rest up and get a wash!

Meantime, she recalls with George as well as John Rawlins too, the good men associated with the Baptist Chapel, especially George Evans, Edward Blackaby and a Mr Price. Mention is made of VE Day celebrations. The conversation is lively and there is very much a sense of getting on with the everyday at a time when life was indeed precarious and when George Bradley’s transport business had an important role to play.

Bradley’s Garage in Station Road in approx 1946

John Rawlins was an active committee member of the society from May 1987. Among his many activities, he built up a significant archive of photographs, which are currently stored in the society archive. A full biography of John Rawlins appears here as a PDF.

DB Oct 2023