BRADBURY; Ralph MacDonald

WWII Veteran

Ralph MacDonald Bradbury age 94, passed away peacefully November 9, 2015, at his home in Halifax. Born in Beachy Cove, Bay Roberts, NL, he was the son of Capt. William Hood Bradbury and Annie Marie (Morgan). Ralph’s mother died when he was three. His father, a sea captain away for long periods, was unable to care for his infant children. Ralph spent his young childhood with his beloved Aunt Dora (Winsor) and Uncle Arch Bradbury, whom he regarded as his “real” parents. Educated at Memorial University College, and Normal School, he began his professional life as a teacher, but WWII intervened.

Volunteering for military service, he joined the 59th Newfoundland Heavy Regiment, Royal Artillery, 23rd Battery. In October 1940 his unit departed St. John’s on the S.S. Nerissa to join the war. A letter from his sister Laura on the eve of his departure has been immortalized in the documentary book and film No Price Too High. His unit was involved in some of the fiercest battles in the war, including the Falaise Gap, Operation Totalize, and the Ardennes Salient, sometimes called the Battle of the Bulge. He witnessed the horrors of Bergen-Belzen. He carried the burden of those horrors alone – he never spoke of those experiences for the rest of his life. Returning to Newfoundland with Helen, his Scottish war-bride, and infant daughter Helen, he was soon employed by the Customs and Excise service, and spent the next 32 years in the public service. His passions were his family, gardening, especially roses, and fly fishing. He took his young daughters on fishing expeditions, often traveling on the Newfie Bullet.

Following his retirement, he and his wife relocated to White Rock, BC, where they spent the next 28 years. Several months ago they returned to Halifax to live near their daughter and grandchildren. Ralph enjoyed lawn bowling, gardening, salmon fishing, and writing prose and poetry about “The Land of the Tall Redwoods”, his “Bonnie Tartan Lass” and – finally – his war experiences. October 29th was their 73rd anniversary. They especially enjoyed visits to their children and grandchildren in Halifax, NS, and Sydney, Australia. Almost to the end, he maintained his daily e-mail conversations with family and relatives. His granddaughter summed his life perfectly:

What can I say that hasn’t already been said?

A full life, filled with meaning and love.

That’s all anyone needs, really. That and fishing.

Ralph is survived by his loving wife Helen (McRae), his son Ronald “Max” Bradbury, daughters Dr. Helen (Dr. Donald) Morrison, and Heather Bradbury, and grandchildren Andrew Bradbury, Helen Elizabeth Lorraine Morrison, and Donald John Bradbury Morrison. There is to be no service, by his request. His ashes will be returned at a later date to his birthplace in Bay Roberts.

Tight lines Ralph!

Arrangements have been entrusted to T.J. Tracey Cremation and Burial Specialists, Unit 18, 773 Bedford Highway, NS. 902-835-4212.

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