Bradford WW1 Group

The Group was started in the 1980s as an Interest Group for members of the Bradford Mechanics Institute.  We meet on the fourth Wednesday morning of each month beginning with coffee and biscuits at 10.00.  Visitors are made very welcome.  The convivial, welcoming atmosphere continues through the business agenda at 10.30 and lively discussion following a visiting speaker. The meeting ends at 12 noon.

Whilst members have particular enthusiasm for the role which Bradford and its citizens played, they also share an interest in all aspects of the Great War. This is reflected in the extremely wide range of topics covered by the programme of speakers.

What we do

We organise our own battlefield visits and groups of us also join others. Recent ‘adventures’ include: 2012 Gallipoli: 2013Verdun: 2015 the Italian Front and Asiago Plateau; 2014-2022 France and Belgium. All our itineraries include visits requested by ancestors in the party. These might be to cemeteries or memorials where family members are remembered or to specific battle sites.

We look after memorials and take part in the June ceremony at Serre in France and the ceremony for the West Yorkshire Regiments on 1 Jul at the Pals Memorial adjacent to the Bradford Cenotaph

We undertake research and have published two books: ‘Messages’, the transcription of a diary kept by a signaller in the 1st/6th West Yorks, published 2001; ‘Bradford in the Great War’, published by Suttons in 2007

We maintain the excellent stock of WW1 books in the Mechanics Institute Library. This includes the P.D. Lodge collection comprising of over 30-years’ worth of research. At the heart of the collection are photographs and names recorded on the districts war memorials.

Pals Memorials on the Somme

The Bradford WW1 Group arranged the unveiling of a new memorial to the Bradford Pals at the French memorial Chapel, Serre Road on 19 November 2016. The Lord Mayor of Bradford, mayors of Hébuterne and Serre-lès-Puisieux and other Somme communes, a Deputy of the French Parliament, representatives of French veterans’ organisations and our own Royal British Legion standard bearer were supported by our coach party members and over 70 local French people.

The plaque to the Bradford Pals in the village of Hébuterne near Serre was installed by the WW1 Group in 2001 and marks close links between the village and our Bradford men.

Throughout the exceptionally harsh winter of 1916-1917 the Pals were billetted around Hebbuterne in barns and a tented camp. On 27 February 1917 the Pals were ordered to attack the nearby Rossignol Wood. The casualty rate was very high and many Pals now lie buried in Owl Trench Cemetery just outside the village

Research and Speaking Activities

Our members undertake research and regularly give talks. Research is often done on behalf of families wanting to trace the war service of an ancestor but can also concern individual campaigns, local battalions or regiments, or any aspect of the 1914-1918 period. Our speakers cover a wide range of topics in their talks and presentations.

Our Commemorative display panels are researched and written by members of the WW1 Group. These panels are often loaned to other local groups for exhibitions, with or without a speaker to “tell the story”.

Please contact us for any of these service