from Lavinia Bradley, 9-18-06
      I am his widow, Lavinia. After taking down and editing his autobiography, I donated it to the US Army Military Historical Institute who guard it for posterity. I am currently publishing our Far Eastern experiences where he made such an enormous contribution. I have written various studies based on his diaries, such as LEARNING TO FLY WITH THE RNAS WWI, which might interest Early Birds.

Eric Bradley
Eric Bradley
Royal Naval Air Service - 1915
Collection of Lavinia Bradley, 9-19-06
  A brief resume of his life: WWI 1914 - 1919
Underage and in the guise of a Canadian, he enlisted in the Royal Engineers as a motorcycle despatch rider, rank Corporal, serving on the Ypres salient and Belgium. When men were needed to fly "lighter than air machines", he was commissioned in August 1915 in the Royal Naval Air Service. He trained at Chingford and Eastchurch (night flying). He was assigned to Ark Royal No. 2 Wing Eastern Mediterrean, flying from the Greek mainland. By May 1917 he was in command of 2 Wing and flying the only Sopwith Camel. He was acknowledged as the British Ace confronting Eschwige, (Rudolf von Eschwege), the German Ace, in dramatic fights. One of his "kills" produced a Parabellum machine gun which is still on display in the USAF Museum, Dayton, Ohio. In January 1918 at the US request he was released from RNAS and commissioned as Major in the US Signal Corps (forerunner of USAAF) in an advisory capacity until February 1919.
Eric Bradley
Eric Bradley
Royal Naval Air Service - 1915
Collection of Lavinia Bradley, 9-19-06
1919 - 1940
His civilian life was no less colourful. He had two failed marriages. He had a polo team, a gun club, built a house in Greenwich, CT, and had a chicken farm while he was employed as an Investment Banker with Bankers Trust, and later with Harriman Ripley, in New York.

WWII 1940-1945
1940 March: He worked on the British Purchasing Commission.
1941 March: War Production Board - Chief Bombs and Torpedo Divsion.
1942: On active duty. He came as Lt. Col USAAF to England. He organized Air Technical Intelligence Units and operated on the Continent with special missions to Africa, Italy,Corsica and Sardinia.
1944: Full Colonel. The capture of the enemy radar station you report is not quite correct. He drove up to the gate in a jeep with only his Major and two men, believing it to be in Allied hands, and accomplished its surrender in an inspired manner, including their enslaved Russian prisoners who feared repatriation. He was awarded a Bronze Star. His liaison work with the British gained an OBE.
1945 : He returned to civilian life.

We met in June 1942 and we worked together throughout the war.

Far East 1945 -47
1945 September: Chief Aircraft Division for Far East & China for Foreign Liquidation Commission. In a sensitive time and area, he made an enormous contribution. Incidents such as one night secretly overpainting RAF rondels with US stars, saving 15 aircraft from Indian hands and realising $300,000 for the US for the price of a pot of paint! There were many more such incidents. FLC mission accomplished, we stayed in the Philippines pursuing a personal dream of logging in Palawan.

1947 December: We returned to the US.

England 1955 - 1991
1950 - 1955: Defence Production Officer, US Embassy, London in connection with NATO.
1955 - 1963: Joined Honeywell Controls, Military Products Division working on gyroscopes for space travel.
1963: Retired to Somerset, breeding dogs, keeping bees, raising pheasants for a local shoot.
1964: We moved to Sussex and he made the Bradley Inkle Loom.

He was an Early Bird who always was the highest of flyers.


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