On the eve of Remembrance Day I am thinking of my maternal grandfather, Lawrence Anthony Bradley, who served as an engineer with the Canadian Army in England during the Second World War.
Born in Timmins, Ontario, on Nov. 6, 1917, he left his humble family home in Drumheller at age eleven to work in the lumber camps near Rocky Mountain House. He spent years riding the rails from job to job and later travelled with his brother Henry by covered wagon to homestead in northern Alberta during the height of the Great Depression.
I don’t know if he fully understood how his life would change when he left the farm in the Peace Country in 1939 and travelled to Edmonton to enlist in the army.
Maybe he saw joining the army as his duty to King and Country, or a ticket to adventure and seeing the world, or maybe it was the promise of three square meals a day? He trained at Calgary and served at Aldershot in England until he lost his arm in an accident. He returned to Canada in 1943.
The loss of his arm never appeared to slow him down – he was an avid gardener and handyman. He became a life-time volunteer with the War Amps of Canada.
He had a kind soul and was a salt of the earth man. It has been almost 15 years since he passed away, but if he was still alive today I would give him a hug and thank him for his service.