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  • Photograph of James Breddy first published in the Retford Times following his death.
Person Details
21 Nov 1891
Retford Nottinghamshire
James was the son of William and Elizabeth Breddy (née Watkins). His father William was born in East Retford in 1860, the son of John and Adeline Breddy of St John Street, East Retford. He was baptised at Retford St Swithun on 23 September 1860. His mother Elizabeth Watkins was born in Sturton le Steeple, Nottinghamshire, probably in 1864 (A/M/J Newark). William and Elizabeth were married at SS Peter and Paul, Sturton le Steeple, on 25 June 1883. They had fourteen children of whom ten survived infancy. Eleven children were recorded on the census between 1891 and 1911, one of whom died before his first birthday. All the children were born in Retford and all but the two youngest were baptised at Retford St Swithun: George Arthur b. 3 October 1884 bap. 23 October 1884; Ernest birth registered 1888 (J/F/M) bap. 17 February 1888; William b. 1890 bap. 1 May 1890; James b. 21 November 1891 bap. 26 December 1891; Edith b. 1894 bap. 25 September 1894; John bap. 1896 bap. 20 May 1897; Florence b. 6 April 1898 bap. 4 June 1898; Herbert b. 1900 (O/N/D) bap. 26 November 1900 d. 1901 (A/M/J); Albert b. 4 February 1902 and Leonard birth registered 1905 (J/F/M). The baptismal records for George and Ernest (1884 and 1888) give their parents' address as Union Street, Retford, but by 1890 they were living on St John Street and were still at the same address in 1901. However, on the census only Elizabeth (29) was listed in the home with her three sons George (6), Ernest (3) and William (1). By 1897 the family had moved to 10 Woolpack Street which was also their home in 1901. William (40) a stone mason was in the home on the night of the census with his wife and eight of their nine children: Ernest, William, James (9), Edith (7), John (5), Florence (3), May (2) and Herbert (under 1 year). Their eldest son George was probably working as a railway porter and living in Brightmoor, Sheffield, as a boarder in the household of George and Lucy Sheldon. The youngest son, Herbert, died in 1901 before his first birthday. Albert was born the following year and Leonard in 1905, the year before the death of his father. William snr, died in 1906 (J/F/M East Retford) and in 1911 his widow was living at 21 Spital Hill, Retford, with six of her ten surviving children including William, who worked at an iron foundry, and his wife Florrie (m. 1910). Edith was a 'day girl domestic', John an errand boy, and May, Albert (8) and Leonard (6) were at school. George was married and living at 23 Spital Hill with his wife and son; Ernest was a shop assistant and a boarder at 3 Norman Place, Lincoln; James had joined the Royal Navy in 1909 and Florence was a visitor at 9 Wellington Street, Retford. A report of James' death in a local paper in 1918 recorded that he had lived with 'Mr and Mrs E Stubbs of The Liberal Club, Worksop' and that he had 'spent many years in Worksop.' However the probate record gave his address as 19 Spital Hill, Retford, which was his mother's address. Elizabeth was still living at 19 Spital Hill in 1939 when the England & Wales Register was compiled. Also in the home was her granddaughter, Barbara Breddy (b. 20 August 1927), the daughter of her son Albert and his wife Mary. Three of James' brothers also died in the war: Ernest served in the Royal Scots Fusiliers d. 20 June 1919; William served in the 10th Bn York & Lancaster Regiment d. 26 September 1916; John served in the Duke of Edinburgh's (Wiltshire Regiment) d. 12 July 1917. They are also commemorated on the Retford St Saviour Memorial (see records on this Roll of Honour). Of their surviving siblings: George married Lillian Beatrice Needham (b. 31 August 1888) in 1908 (reg. Litchfield Staffordshire). In 1911 George, a pipe maker (iron works), and Lillie were living at 23 Spital Hill, Retford, with their son William (six months); another child had died in infancy. They had at least five other children: George b. Retford 7 January 1913, Edward b. 1915 (reg. Tynemouth Northumberland), John L. b. 1917 (reg. Tynemouth), Kathleen b. Retford 1919 (J/F/M) and Ernest L. b. Retford 1923. George had served in the Militia in the York & Lancaster Regiment but attested on 26 August 1914 in the Duke of Wellington's (West Riding Regiment). He was medically discharged in April 1916. In 1939 he and Lillie were living at 8 Crossways, Retford, with their son George, a colliery haulage hand; George snr. was a public works labourer. Their son Edward served in the RAMC in the Second World War and died on 29 June 1944 (see 'Extra information'). George died in 1953 and Lilian in 1971. Edith married Jesse Bingham (b. 18 September 1892) in 1913. Jesse served in Salonika with the Yeomanry. In 1939 they were living at 66 Spital Hill, Retford; Jesse was a lorry driver. Edith died on 17 February 1955; she was still living at the same address. Florence married William Shaw (b. 11 October 1895) in 1918. William served in the war but was medically discharged. In 1939 William, a road maker, and Florence were living at 80 Springfield Road, Retford, with their chkldren Florence L. (b. 3 June 1922) and George (b. 1 November 1930). Florence died in 1969. May married Thomas Dunk (b. 27 May 1896) in 1917. Thomas served in the Royal Navy during the war but was medically discharged. In 1939 they were living in Retford with their children Violet (b. 30 July 1919) a shop assistant, Marjorie (b. 4 January 1921) a daily domestic servant, May (b. 6 February 1922) 'invalid TB', Tom Dunk (b. 4 July 1923) a collie4r, and Winifred (b. 18 November 1924) a shop assistant; Tom was a colliery boiler charge man. May died in 1979. Albert married Mary E Roberts (b. 9 October 1903) in 1922. In 1939 they were living in Retford, Albert was a labourer (gas works). Also in the home were their children Ronald (b. 2 January 1933) and Gordon (b. 8 February 1936); the records of two other people in the home remain closed. A daughter, Barbara (b. 20 August 1927), was living with her grandmother Elizabeth Breddy. Albert died in 1965. Leonard died in 1918 aged 13.
James joined the Royal Navy on 14 January 1909 and transferred to the Royal Fleet Reserve on 22 February 1914. He was a miner at Manton Colliery before he was mobilized on 2 August 1914
28 Sep 1918
625981 - CWGC Website
Stoker 1st Class
Royal Navy
Served as James BRADY James joined the Royal Navy on 14 January 1909 on a short service engagement: 5 years RN, 7 years Royal Fleet Reserve. He gave his date of birth as 21 November 1890 although his birth was registered in 1891 (O/N/D). Adding a year to his age meant that he avoided serving time under the age of 18 which would not count toward the 12 year engagement. He served in the following ships and shore establishments: HMS Nelson, 14 January 1909-17 April 1909 (Stoker 2nd Class); HMS Hecla, 18 April 1909-11 May 1909; HMS Hampshire, 12 May 1909-26 July 1909; HMS Drake, 29 July 1909-9 September 1910 (Stoker 1st Class 1 January 1910); Victory II, 10 September 1910-15 September 1910 … served continuously to Victory II, 20 February 1914-21 February 1914. James was 'Discharged Shore SS [Short Service] expired' on 21 February 1914 and transferred to the Royal Fleet Reserve (No. Portsmouth B6627) on 22 February 1914. He was mobilized a few days before the outbreak of war and served in the following ships and shore establishments: Victory II, 2 August 1914-17 August 1914 (Stoker 1st Class); HMS Hermione, 18 August 1914-31 March 1915; Victory II, 1 April 1915-21 November 1915; HMS Albemarle, 22 November 1915-7 March 1916 (3 days Cells) 11 March 1916-19 September 1916; Victory II, 20 September 1916-6 October 1916; Research (sic) 7 October 1916-28 September 1918. His service record was annotated ‘DD [Discharged Dead] 28 September 1918.’ His service details were continued on a second document, ‘See Folio 59 at end.’ Folio 59 gave details of his drafts between 1917 and 1918 and the outcome of a Court of Enquiry into his death: Patuca(?) 4 November 1917-29 January 1918 (Stoker 1st Class); Victory II, 30 January 1918-10 March 1918; Europa, 11 March-30 July 1918; Europa II, 31 July 1918-29 September 1918. The Folio was also annotated ‘DD 28 September 1918 (result of burns)'. The record gave the outcome of the Court of Enquiry into his death. According to a report of his death in a local paper, James died on 28 September 1918 of severe burns suffered on 27 September when a blow lamp he was using exploded and he was covered in paraffin which caught fire. The Court of Enquiry held on 3 October 1918 'was of opinion that the (-) Brady died were caused by the failure of the paraffin pump in the paraffin container for the blow lamp also that everything possible was done for the assistance of Brady after the accident; and that no blame is attributable to any person (-).’ James was buried in East Mudros Military Cemetery, Greece (grave ref. III.I.249). The cemetery is on the Greek island of Limnos (Lemnos). CWGC East Mudros Military Cemetery: 'Because of its position, the island of Lemnos played an important part in the campaigns against Turkey during the First World War. It was occupied by a force of marines on 23 February 1915 in preparation for the military attack on Gallipoli, and Mudros became a considerable Allied camp. The 1st and 3rd Canadian Stationary Hospitals, the 3rd Australian General Hospital and other medical units were stationed on both sides of Mudros bay and a considerable Egyptian Labour Corps detachment was employed. After the evacuation of Gallipoli, a garrison remained on the island and the 1st Royal Naval Brigade was on Lemnos, Imbros and Tenedos for the first few months of 1916. On 30 October 1918, the Armistice between the Entente Powers and Turkey was signed at Mudros. East Mudros Military Cemetery was begun in April 1915 and used until September 1919.'
The Breddy family was a true military family, but suffered dreadfully during the Great War. Five of their sons served with the armed forces. One served, was wounded and then discharged while the others served and died. George, their eldest, served with the Duke of Wellington's (West Riding Regiment) and originally enlisted on 26th August 1901 served his time and went on to the reserve list. When war was declared he was recalled and served with his regiment until he was wounded during fighting from which he became deaf. He was discharged on 5th April 1916 and awarded a Silver War Badge. William was the first to be killed, dying on 26th September 1915 while serving with the York and Lancs Regiment. His body was never identified and he is commemorated on the Loos Memorial. Next was John who died on 12th July 1917 while serving with the Wiltshire Regiment; he is buried in Retford Cemetery. His death was followed by that of Ernest's who died on 20th June 1918 while serving with the Royal Scots Fusiliers. Ernest was buried in La Targette British Cemetery, France. Finally, James died on 28th September while serving in the Royal Navy and was buried in Murdos Cemetery Greece. Their mother Elizabeth, already a widow at the outbreak of the war and bringing up her younger children alone, suffered throughout losing her older sons during the conflict. Worksop Guardian 11 October 1918 - 'First Class Stoker James Breddy' 'The news of the death of First Class Stoker James Breddy of HMS ‘Europa,’ was received on October 2nd by his mother who resides at Retford. “Jimmy” Breddy, as he was most frequently called, resided with Mr and Mrs E Stubbs of The Liberal Club, Worksop and was well known and highly respected. A native of Retford, he had spent many years in Worksop and was in the employ of the Manton Colliery. He was in the Naval Reserve [Royal Fleet Reserve] and at the outbreak of the war was called up for service. It appears that he was severely burnt on Sept 27th from the effects of which he died the following day. This is the fourth son of his widowed mother to make the great sacrifice.' Worksop Guardian 18 October 1918 - 'Stoker James Breddy' 'In our last issue we mentioned First Class Stoker James Breddy, of HMS ‘Europa,’ had died from burns. Mrs Stubbs, Liberal Club, Worksop, with whom the deceased made his home, has received a letter from W Smithson, a chum of Breddy’s and a Worksop lad, giving some particulars of the accident. He says:- “Jim was on a Lighter and he was starting the engine when his blow lamp exploded and threw the hot paraffin over him which caught fire. As soon as possible they conveyed him to the Hospital Ship, and he was looking and feeling a lot better on Friday, but late on Friday night he had a change, which, I am sorry to say, took his dear life. He was buried on Sunday in the English Cemetery out here, and he was laid to rest with Naval honours.” 'The letter is dated September 30th. Breddy’s mother resides at Retford, and his many friends in Worksop will extend their sympathy to her and the other relatives.' A photograph was included in original publication. Probate: Breddy James of 19 Spital Hill East Retford Nottinghamshire died 28 September 1918 at sea Administration Nottingham 19 February [1924] to Elizabeth Breddy widow. Effects £104 2s. 2d. James' nephew, Edward Breddy, the son of his brother George died in the Second World War: CWGC 2114439 : Breddy Pte Edward 7518291 RAMC 13 General Hospital, 29th June 1944. Age 28. Son of George and Lilian Breddy, of Retford, Nottinghamshire; husband of Gertrude Eleanor Breddy, of Retford. Moascar War Cemetery, Egypt (grave ref. 3.C.2). Other information: ‘In ever loving memory. Husband of ‘Peggie’ son of George & Lilian, Retford, Notts.'
Remembered on


  • Photograph of James Breddy first published in the Retford Times following his death.
    James Breddy - Photograph of James Breddy first published in the Retford Times following his death.
  • East Mudros Military Cemetery, Greece (www.cwgc.org/visit-us/find-cemeteries-memorials/cemetery-details/69001)
    James Breddy - East Mudros Military Cemetery, Greece (www.cwgc.org/visit-us/find-cemeteries-memorials/cemetery-details/69001)