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“He didn’t realise how little time he had left..." Honouring my Army dad this Armed Forces Day


On the 26th of November 2011, LCpl Christopher Bradshaw was killed in a car collision. The 30-year-old soldier served in Royal Intelligence Corps of the British Army and was loved by his friends and family for his mischievous sense of humour. His son, Joshua, was just six.

Now 19 years old, Joshua shares how going through the death of his dad at such a young age impacted his life, how he plans to honour and remember him this Armed Forces Day, and how support from Scotty's Little Soldiers, the charity for bereaved British Forces children, has helped him grow and evolve without his hero by his side.

Josh holding a photo of his dad

Honouring my dad on Armed Forces Day

My dad was a fun, mischievous guy who always enjoyed being a bit outlandish. Everyone who knew him said he was a great friend. I always like it when people tell me I remind them of him in some way. Because I so young, his service wasn’t something I really thought about – it was just his job – but when I look back at his time in the military it makes me feel proud, and I know it’s something he was proud of as well.  

My dad always loved his maths and solving all kinds of problems, so him being in the Intelligence Corps was right up his street. He also completed a tour of Afghanistan, and whenever I see the medal he received when he finally came home it fills me with pride.  

To me, Armed Forces Day means celebrating everybody currently serving in the British Armed Forces, but also celebrating everyone who has served and is no longer with us. It’s a very special day to me, because obviously my dad was in the military and it places him and people like him at the front of people’s minds. It’s about paying respect to people like my dad and everything they’ve done for us.

LCpl Christopher Bradshaw

The pain of remembering

Me and my mum talk about my dad all the time and he’s always in our thoughts. My favourite photos of my dad are the ones of him holding me as a baby or taking me out on trips to the zoo or on holiday. It makes me feel happy to see those things, but sad at the same time. I’m glad I have those photos and know we had that relationship, but because I was so young at the time, I don’t actually remember much of it. 

I also love seeing photos of my dad in uniform, since it was such a big part of his life, and those personal photos where he just looks young and happy, messing around and being himself. But even those can get to me sometimes, as he didn’t realise how little time he had left. It’s the same with social media. He had a Facebook account which is still active, and I like knowing it’s there and I’ll look at that sometimes, but it can also make me sad. He made a status just a couple of days before he died. He was only 30.

Josh and his dad

Support for bereaved military children

Scotty’s are always so supportive. My favourite thing I’ve done with the charity is probably go on respite breaks, as it takes me back to when I used to go on holiday to similar lodges with my dad.  

I also really like the Winter Festival, which is a party every December that brings members of the charity together, as it’s great to celebrate with other people from Scotty’s who also understand how tough that time can be. I’ve made some really close friends from Scotty’s, especially as I’ve got older, because I’ve realised how hard it actually is to come by other people that have gone through the same things as me. Scotty’s is great at helping you meet and connect with other people who can relate to your experiences.  

What I value the most about Scotty’s is the time and support they've given me over the years. It’s been totally essential to mine and my family’s wellbeing. From the one-to-one bereavement counselling sessions to dealing with those life milestones like leaving school, support around key times of year, being sent Christmas and birthday presents, driving grants to help me get on the road and a super grant which meant I was able to take a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity I’d never have been able to do otherwise.

Josh attending Scotty's Winter Festival

My once-in-a-lifetime journey

Last year, I received a Scotty’s Super Grant of £1,000 pounds which contributed to an incredible trip to the Philippines, where I spent two months volunteering with disadvantaged children who lived in a dumpsite called Tondo.  

We taught them all kinds of skills, and I also got to spend a week with the filmmaker for the charity hosting the event, filming some content together. It really was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The most impactful part of the volunteering was definitely meeting and connecting with all the children and seeing firsthand the struggles they have to endure. No child should have to grow up in those conditions. Lots of them didn’t even have shoes.  

The trip has definitely made me more open-minded and aware of those divides, but it’s also made feel more confident in myself. I now feel eager to travel and learn about different places, make new friends and connect with people all around the world.

Josh sorting through clothes in the Philippines

Community, commissioners and Scotty’s Council

Scotty’s Council is a group of 12 bereaved military young people like me, who get together online and in-person to discuss how we can improve Scotty’s support and help guide the direction of the charity so it’s always getting better for its members. We’ve worked on lots of projects together, from creating a Keepsake Box for all of Scotty’s members to a couple of us even speaking to the Commissioner of Education about how schools can support bereaved military children.  

Last year I also got to visit Sky Studios with the Scotty’s Council. We spent a couple of days learning how everything worked behind the scenes of these big media companies and doing media training, so that we could better represent all of Scotty’s members. It was a really useful experience, but also really interesting. Especially seeing how Sky News and Sky Sports is produced.  

One of the best bits about the Council, though, is just how close we’ve all become. We’ve all gone out socialising in our own time and even did the Scotty’s March together and raised money for the charity. Feeling connected to the military community is really important to me, and being part of Scotty’s Council is a massive part of that.

Josh and the Scotty's Council

About Scotty’s Little Soldiers

Scotty’s Little Soldiers is a charity dedicated to supporting children and young people, 0 to 25 years, who have experienced the death of a parent who served in the British Armed Forces.    

Inspired by the experience of Army widow Nikki Scott, following the death of her husband, Corporal Lee Scott, in Afghanistan in 2009, the charity, which was set up in 2010, provides support and guidance to hundreds of bereaved military children and young people throughout their childhood. 

When a young person joins Scotty’s, they become a member and are supported until their 25th birthday. Whether it be one-to-one bereavement support, a respite break with the family, an opportunity to meet others in a similar situation, or access to extracurricular activities, Scotty’s is always there for its members to ensure they don’t feel alone.

Scotty’s currently support over 670 bereaved military children and young people and has a long-term goal to support over 1,000 children annually by 2030.

If you know a bereaved military child who could benefit from Scotty’s Little Soldiers support, visit our Get Support page for more information. 


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