Francis Bradley enlisted into the Royal Armoured Corps before volunteering for airborne forces.
He attended Parachute Training Course 91, which ran at RAF Ringway from 11 to 26 November 1943, as part of a cadre of 281 reinforcements for airborne units. There was an unfortunate delay of four days on the course when bad visibility prevented flying. Once the weather had lifted the delays necessitated all the students to complete 3 jumps each in 16 hours. The course instructors’ report states’ ‘Pte Bradley has done very well.’
After qualifying as a military parachutist Private Bradley was posted to HQ Company, The 8th (Midland) Parachute Battalion (8th Para Bn).
Pte Bradley jumped on D-Day on 6th June 1944 and saw active service on Operation Overlord at Normandy. He also served in the Ardennes Campaign during the winter of 1944-5. In March 1945 the 8th Para Bn parachuted as part of Operation Varsity (Rhine Crossing) and participated in the subsequent advance across Germany to the Baltic.
After the war he was posted to Palestine.
Pte Bradley was demobbed in November 1946.