Russell Robert is the son of Russell Hayner and Mabel Elinore (Johnson) Bradley. He was born in December 26, 1918 in Livingston Montana. According to his Birth Certificate, Russell Hayner is a Lieutenant in the Army serving on a base in Montana. This would be during the WWI time period. Russell and Mabel had six children ; Russell (1919), Lyle (1920), Wellington (1922), Gloria (1924), Betty (1927), Richard (1931).
In the 1930 Federal Census, the Bradley family, including an eleven year old, Russell Robert, are found in Romulus, Michigan. Nine years later, Russell Robert enlisted in the Army on June 29, 1939 according to information found on Findagrave.com post by Paula Bradley. His enlistment record appears to indicate that he may have been married, that his young wife had died and that he had no dependents. He listed his occupation as Police Officer. He lived in Wayne County, Michigan.
In the 1940 Federal Census, Russell Robert in listed in Green County, Ohio at Patterson Field in Fairfield Village. Russell served as a Staff Sergeant & Togglier (Bombardier) on B-26 #40-1467 in 33rd Bomber Squadron, 22nd Bomber Group, Medium, U.S. Army Air Force during World War II. Four of the B-26 planes including B-26 #40-1467 from the the 33rd Bomber Squandron, took off from the 7-Mile Drome near Port Moresby on a bombing mission over Lae Airfield, Morobe Province Papua New Guinea. Over the target they were attacked and shot down by Japanese Zeros and crashed into the Huon Gulf.
Russell was declared Missing in Action and eventually declared deceased in this formal letter from the War Department.
“This is a transcription of the article written in a Detroit area newspaper in 1942 at the time that Russell Robert Bradley was missing in action. I have transcribed it due to the poor quality of the pictures of the article.
MISSING IN ACTION
RUSSELL H. BRADLEY
By REX G. WHITE
Russell R. Bradley, the first lad to enlist from Romulus, Mich., is “missing”. He was a bombardier and one purple twilight his plane took off and out across seas that were soon to be moonlit and beautiful. The plane did not come back.
He may be somewhere on this earth. He may be sitting beside the wreckage of a plane where palm trees thrust up from coral sands and the world is so lovely to look upon that the human heart grows weary with longing that things might be so filled with peace and beauty. Who knows?
The War Department does not know. It merely listed his name today among a group of United States soldiers “missing in action in the Far Eastern Theater, including Australia and the South Pacific.”
Out in Romulus live his father and his two brothers and three sisters and mother. It is a pretty good example of an American family. Dad – Russell H. Bradley – knew 18 months on the firing line in France, a lieutenant with the 337th Machine Gun Battalion. Grandpa Bradley fought all through the Civil War.
TRAINING IN MIAMI
Lyle Bradley, brother of the missing man, is an officer in training in Miami. Wellington, a younger brother, is having fits because an Army doctor and a Marine doctor said he had a punctured ear drum and couldn’t join.
“Don’t worry”, he says. I’ll get in some way. There are a lot of outfits I haven’t tried yet.”
Mother – well, mother is working.
“She’s a soldier, too.” explained Dad. She’s raised six swell kids, had 13 operations and she’s getting old beautifully – I mean her hair is silver gray and – and – she’s taken Russell’s not coming back with her chin up.
“A fortune teller said the boy was coming back and she sort of likes to cling to that – although we know it’s just nonsense. Gloria, our oldest girl, is married. Her husband is in the Army and she’s working.
“I’m trying to get in. I’m 49, but I had a good overseas record. Mother says she can get along all right if I go. We own this house and I’ve got three acres down south of here. She’s got a good job over at Eloise – and I’d be a captain at least. I’m in good shape physically. Yes, sir. I’m trying mighty hard and I have hopes.
LOVED THE ARMY
“Guess this yard looks sort of ragged, huh? I had the finest lawn you ever saw but the kids liked to play ball and they had dogs, so I said – “Well, it’s either a good lawn and the kids in the streets – or it’s a scuff lawn and the kids at home.
“They stayed home. Russell went to school here in Romulus. He was on the track team in high school. He loved the army. Gosh. I was overseas when he was born.
“He was a good soldier. He was a bombardier. He enlisted four years ago and had a year’s special training and then he re-enlisted. I was mighty proud of Russell.”
Over his head the breeze set swaying a service flag with its two blue stars in a field of white. Some springer pups whined for affection and he lifted them up into his lap.
“Like dogs, mister? I’ve got 25 – cockers and springers. We all kind of like dogs.”
“You’ve got 25? And six kids?”
Yep. I sort of raise dogs as a hobby. Good pedigreed pups. This old house isn’t so much – but we have been comfortable – and we’ve eaten well – and my kids are grand boys and girls.
“I’ve got no regrets – not even if my oldest boy – well, he did what any of us will do – if we have to – he’s proved he’s a good American.” (Thanks to Paula Bradley for sharing this Family information on Ancestry.com)
Russell was awarded the Air Medal and the Purple Heart. Russell’s name is honored on the Memorial at Manila American Cemetery in the Philippines.
On this Memorial Day we salute you, Russel Robert Bradley, as a brave America soldier who gave his life so that we maybe free.
Russell Robert Bradley is my third cousin one times removed.
A special Thanks to Paula Bradley for sharing these family photo and historical family document which allowed us to remember Russell Bradley today