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Aircraftwoman 2nd Class Gladys Wendy Bradwell 941 Balloon Squadron
She was born on 23rd November 1910 and was the daughter of Henry Slight Bradwell (1875 - 1944) and Lucy Ettie Sykes (1880-1961). The
family lived at Beech Hill Road, Broomhill, Sheffield.
The family were well known in the confectionery industry. Her grandfather William Sykes of 33 Whitehouse Road, Sheffield was a
confectioner, and her father was a commercial traveller for the firm.
She was killed on the night of December 1st 1939 when a care she was a passenger in was in collision with the back of a lorry.
An inquest was opened at the Bridge Hotel, Penistone, on Tuesday, on Gladys Wendy Bradwell, of 16, Beech Hill Road, Broomhill,
Sheffield, a telephonist in the auxiliary section of the R.A.F., who was killed in a road accident on. the Manchester Road, Midhope, on
Friday night. The inquest was conducted by Mr. S. H. B. Gill, deputy district coroner, who sat with a jury, of which Mr. R. Bishop was
foreman. Others present were: Mr. A. F. Bates, of Messrs. H. Jackson and Co., solicitors, Sheffield, who represented Miss Bradwell's
family; Mr. K. Mitchell, who represented the owners of a motor lorry involved in the accident; Mr. J. F. Walker, 19, Thirwell Road,
Sheffield; Superintendent Varley, and Inspector Garrod. Henry Sleight Bradwell, of 326, Langsett Road, Sheffield, wholesale confectioner,
said the girl was his only daughter. She was 28, and resided at 16, Beech Hill Road, Broomhill, Sheffield. She was a typist in the R.A.F.
She had very good health; her sight and hearing were good. He last saw her alive about a month ago.
The Coroner asked if the driver of the car was present. He was informed that the driver was detained in Sheffield Royal Infirmary and was
not represented at the inquest. Charles Simpson, of 23, Allison Crescent, Sheffield, motor lorry driver, said on Friday night he was driving
a lorry along Manchester Road, Midhope, in the direction of Sheffield, at about ten o'clock. It was a dark night, but the moon came out
occasionally, when it was very bright. Witness thought his lorry was pulling sluggishly and got down thinking one of the back tyres might
have punctured or blown out. He felt the tyres and was down about two or three minutes when he noticed a motor car coming towards
him from behind. It was about 60 or 70 yards distant when he first saw it. It was not driven at an excessive speed. Witness said he went
to the front of the lorry and waited for the motor car to pass. He noticed, however, that it did not make any attempt to swerve, and that
it was coming straight for the lorry. The impact was terrible, said witness. The car went up into the air, turned round, and finished facing
in the opposite direction, on the off side of the road. The car was on its side. Witness went to the car and helped the driver out. He
seemed very dazed for a minute or two, and then seemed to go right off altogether. Witness said he saw a woman with her legs through
the sunshine roof, and her body under the side of the car. She seemed to be dead. He did not lift her out from the car. In answer to the
Coroner, witness said there was a rear light at the back of the lorry. It was alight. The Coroner: Do you think your body was obstructing
the rear light of the lorry? Witness: No, sir; I was at the side of the lorry examining the tyres. I am quite sure on this point.
P.C.W. Newton, stationed at Carlecotes, near Penistone, said the place was approximately a quarter of a mile on the Manchester side of
the Midhope crossroads, on the Manchester Road. He saw a motor lorry stationary by the near side of the road facing Sheffield, near to
the grass verge. The previous witness said he was the driver of the lorry. Witness examined the lorry. The rear off-side was damaged.
The rear light was burning. It was attached to the body of the lorry, about one foot six inches from the off-side, and it was showing a
good light. The light was about four feet from the ground and was visible about a hundred yards distant. At the off side of the grass verge
was a car, facing in the direction of Manchester. It was on its wheels and was badly damaged. The whole of the near side was ripped off;
the front axle had been forced back on the near side. The damage was consistent with its having collided with the lorry with great force.
The off side of the car was not damaged. Witness said he saw the driver of the car, who was dazed. He gave his name as Wilfred Harold
Carter, of 172, Dore Road, Dore, near Sheffield. Immediately behind the car, on the grass verge, witness saw the woman lying. She was
dead and had received severe injuries to the back of the head. She had been seen by Dr. W. M. Robertshaw, of Stocksbridge, before
witness arrived. Witness removed the body to the Penistone mortuary. In reply to the Coroner, witness said the driver did not say
anything to him. Dr. Robertshaw had ordered his removal to Sheffield Infirmary. The driver, however, had given a statement on the
following day. Coroner: Does he know of these proceedings here to-day? Witness: No, sir. Coroner: We will not take the statement to-day.
Witness said the road was quite straight at the place where the accident occurred, with plenty of room to pass. The moon was shining
when witness arrived. There were no skid marks on the road. He affirmed that the rear light on the lorry was burning. The near side
headlamp of the car had a regulation shade, but this lamp was smashed; the off-side lamp was hooded. In reply to Mr. Bates, witness said
there was a bank and some trees on the off side of the road, but there was nothing to hide the moonlight. In reply to Dr. Wilson. witness
said there was a pool of blood immediately opposite the front wheel of the lorry, and five feet from it. Dr. A. G. Wilson, of Thurlstone,
said he made a post-mortem examination of the body, and described various injuries, those which in his opinion were the cause of death
were fracture of the base of the skull and fracture of the third right rib. Death would be practically instantaneous. The Coroner said the
police had still enquiries to make, and he would therefore adjourn the inquest until Thursday morning, December 21st.
Further Inquest on 22nd December 1939.
He was driving with his customary caution at about 30 miles an hour when the accident occurred, said Wilfred H. Carter, secretary, Dore
& Dore, Sheffield, at the inquest at Penistone yesterday on Gladys Bradwell, of Beech Hill Road, Sheffield, who was killed at Midhope,
when returning with Carter, in his car, from Manchester on 1st December 1939.
He agreed that just before the accident they had been singing as he drove along. He did not see the red light of the lorry into which they
crashed. A verdict of “Death through misadventure”, was returned. Miss Bradwell was a telephonist in the W.A.A.F. was buried with
The inquest had been adjourned from 8th December.
At the previous hearing, Simpson, the driver of the lorry explained how while he was examining the back tyres of his lorry a car came
along and crashed into the lorry. the accident they had been
Simpson said the driver of the car Mr H. Carter told him they were so happy in the car they had been singing as they drove along.
The Deputy Coroner (Mr S.H.B. Garter ) sat with a jury.
Wilfred H. Carter who appeared with a cover over his left eye said he was driving his own car from Manchester to Sheffield about 9.43
p.m. Miss Bradwell was riding in the car in the front on his left. The moon kept coming out fitfully. He had just passed a car going in the
same direction and had no difficulty seeing its red light.
He did not see any light on the lorry and all he saw was a large black object out in front.
It must have been only split seconds before crashing into it that he saw it. The wheel was pulled strenuously in an effort to swerve – but
all in vain. The car turned over onto its side. he got out of the car and called Wendy (Bradwell’s name) two or three times but there was
no response. In reply to the coroner witness said he did not see a light on the lorry. There was no traffic approaching. Had the red light
been on the lorry he would definitely have seen it. If there was a light it must have been hid by the driver’s body.
The Coroner: Had he been standing at the back of the lorry you would have hit him. Witness agreed. In reply to Mr. Bates, who
represented Miss Bradwell’s relatives, witness said they stayed at the Flouch Inn for about three-quarters of an hour. In reply to Mr.
Scorah, who represented Carter, witness said he had done considerable night driving since the war began and was accustomed to it and
had never had an accident before. He agreed that they had been singing as they drove along, but he was driving with his customary
caution at about 30 miles an hour.
Charles Simpson, the driver of the stationary lorry, confirmed the evidence he had previously given and said he was certain the red light
at the rear of the lorry was lit and that he was standing at the front of the lorry to allow the car to pass. P. C. W. Newton said the rear
light on the lorry was fixed temporarily and gave a good light which might have been seen at 150 yards. The light was complying with the
law. The Coroner, summing-up, said there were only two questions for the jury to consider. One was that of manslaughter, the other that
of an accident. From the evidence they were told that there had been no culpable neglect, and he advised a verdict of misadventure, to
which the jury agreed.
Her funeral took place on 6th December 1939
Shots were fired over a woman’s grave in Loxley Cemetery, Sheffield, yesterday, when Miss Gladys (Wendy) Bradwell was buried with full
military honours after a service at St. Mark’s Church, Broomhill.
Miss Bradwell, whose parents live at 16, Beech Hill Road, was killed during Friday night, when a car in which she was accompanying with
her friend, Mr. W. H. Carter, from Manchester, collided with a stationary lorry at Midhope. The service was attended members of the
Balloon Barrage to which Miss Bradwell was attached as a telephonist, by the officers of the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force in the Sheffield
district, and many members of the W.A.A.F. unit of which Miss Bradwell was a member (941 Squadron). The coffin, draped in the Union
Jack, bore, in addition to floral tributes, Miss Bradwell’s W.A.A.F cap and badge. It was taken to the church and to the cemetery on an
On the way to the church, it was preceded by the Balloon Barrage firing party with reversed arms. The Balloon Barrage also provided the
bearers, with non-commissioned officers of the W.A.A.F as escort. The family mourners were followed by the officers and other members
of the W.A.A.F. The Rev. A. B. Swallow, curate of St. Mark’s Church, conducted the service and the interment. After the committal
service the firing party fired three rounds. Buglers of the unit sounded the Last Post and Reveille.” The family mourners were Mr. and
Mrs. H. S. Bradwell (father and mother), Mr, Colin Bradwell (brother), Mrs. Dale, Mrs. McVeigh, and Mrs. Thompson (aunts). Miss Frith
(cousin), and Mr. Jarvis and family (cousins), Mr. and Mrs. O’Donnell, Mrs. Whittington, Mrs. Ashton, Mr. and Mrs. Clark, and Mrs. Suggett.
General Refractories Limited, by whom Miss Bradwell had been employed for about four years until she became member the W.A.A.F.,
were represented by Misses m. Haworth, M. Hammings, N. Clark, M. Fulford, A. Cox, B. Street, Harris, Crookes. Winfield, Conroy, and
Gilbert, Messrs. R. Flowerday and R. Peck.
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