William Picton Bradley-Williams was born in Wotton-under-Edge in Gloucestershire on 9th October 1890. William had two sisters and two brothers. He was born into a wealthy family because his father, Herbert Edward, was a Bank Manager. After his family moved to Bristol, they had up to 5 domestic servants including Cooks and Governesses. Although listed as a student on the 1911 census, he had joined the army by 1909. His brothers Edward de Winton and Evan Vincent would also join up.
He was in 3rd Battalion Monmouthshire regiment from June 1909 to May 1912. During this time, he was briefly attached to the South Wales Borderers in April 1911 up to December 1911. At the end of his time there, he was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant on the 22nd May 1912. He transferred to the KOYLI (King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry) regiment from May 1912 to December 1912 then joined them abroad in January 1913 to July 1915. On the 4th August 1914, he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant. He worked as a Regimental Transport Officer from December 1914 to June 1915 before becoming a Brigade Transport Officer for 3 months (April 1915 – June 1915). He was also standing in temporarily as the rank of Captain from the 13th April. He was there until he was wounded on 20th July 1915. He was then promoted to the rank of Captain a few months later on the 1st October 1915.
A year later, he was transferred to the KLR (King’s Liverpool Regiment) back in Britain from August 1916 to January 1918. During this time, he worked as a company commander for 2 months and also as a transport officer for 5 months. He also went to the Senior Officers’ School from August 1916 to the 15th December 1917. His syndicate commanding officer described Bradley-Williams in the report as ‘[A]n Officer of smart appearance with plenty of drive and self-confidence. He is quick to learn, is a good drill and handles troops well. After more experience abroad he should make a good Commanding Officer.’ He added that Bradley-Williams ‘would make a good instructor’.
His commandant, Brigadier-General F. J. Marshall, said he was ‘[A] capable Officer who should be given an opportunity of gaining more experience in the field.’
He re-joined KOYLI abroad in January 1918 to April 1918. He was transferred to the border regiment in April 1918 and was standing temporarily as a Major from 20th April. Two months later, he was acting Lieutenant Colonel from the 5th June until he was wounded on 10th August 1918. Captain William Picton Bradley-Williams was awarded the Distinguished Service Order in 1919 whilst serving in 2nd Battalion KOYLI (although he was attached to 5th Battalion at the time). After the war had ended, he was stationed in Mhow, India with 1st Battalion KOYLI.
In the 1930s he lived at The Grange in Fittleworth, Sussex. He also frequently made trips around the world whilst working for the army. Capt Bradley-Williams boarded a ship bound for Bombay (now Mumbai) on 1st August 1930; he left the ship at Karachi. He moved around the subcontinent, first in Peshawar (now Pakistan) around 1930-31 and later in Arga, India around 1934. He was a part of 2nd Battalion KOYLI during his service there. He then took several trips working in Gibraltar. Now a Major, his first trip was in 1934 on 29th September. The second was in 1936 on 19th December. After this time, he had been promoted to Lt Colonel as part of 1st Battalion KOYLI in a Machine Gun Support Company. On 21nd January 1938, Lt Colonel Bradley-Williams boarded a ship to Gibraltar for a third time to stay there during his service. His wife, Francis Mary Bradley-Williams visited him in Gibraltar with their children on 15th Feb 1936; Priscilla M. & Phoebe J. who were 12 and their son S.G. who was 6. Francis visited again with their son S.G. Bradley-Williams on 7th Nov 1936. She visited alone on 4th December 1937. By 1939, he had returned to the mainland and was working in Strensall in York.
During World War II, now too old to serve on the front at the age of 50, he became Commander of the Hull Garrison. He had been promoted to Colonel by this point.
Col. William Picton Bradley-Williams died in early 1981 in Bury St. Edmunds. By the time of his death, he had been awarded the Distinguished Service Order, 1914-15 Star, British War Medal 1914-20, Victory Medal 1914-18, General Service Medal 1918-64, India General Service Medal 1908-35, France & Germany Star 1939-45, Defence Medal 1939-45, War Medal 1939-45, and the Coronation Medal 1937 throughout his military career.