Miss Bridget Bradley was born on 10 January 1890 1 in Knocknaboul, Co Kerry, Ireland 2, close by to Kingwilliamstown in Co Cork, and she was baptised the following day.
She was the daughter of Daniel Bradley 3 (b. circa 1861), a labourer, and Elizabeth "Bessie" Linehan (b. circa 1866), a domestic servant, both Kerry natives who had married on 14 April 1886.
Coming from a brood of nine, Bridget's siblings were: Mary (b. 22 April 1886), Michael (b. 1 January 1888), Kate (b. 1 July 1892), Dennis (b. 24 January 1895), John (b. 9 July 1897), Elizabeth (b. 2 September 1901), Daniel (b. 1905) and Julia (b. 1907)4.
On the 1901 census the Bradley home was house 8 in Ballynahulla, Millbrook, Co Kerry; by the time of the 1911 census their address was 24 Ballynahulla; Bridget was still at home on the latter record and had no stated profession.
Bridget boarded the Titanic at Queenstown (ticket number 334914 which cost £7, 14s, 6d) intent on joining her sister Mary and brother Michael who lived in Glen Falls, New York. She was travelling in a group from the Kingwilliamstown area led by Daniel Buckley, and consisting of Hannah Riordan, Nora O'Leary, Patrick O'Connell, Patrick O'Connor and Michael Linehan.
She survived the sinking in lifeboat 13 as fellow third class passenger Daniel Buckley recalled:
"There was a girl from my place and just when she got down into the lifeboat she thought the boat was sinking into the water. Her name was Bridget Bradley. She climbed one of the ropes as far as she could and tried to get back into the Titanic again, as she thought she would be safer in it than in the lifeboat. She was just getting up when one of the sailors went out to her and pulled her down again." U.S. Senate Inquiry Testimony (8 May 1912; Daniel Buckley)
Her rescue was also recorded by one of the local newspapers in New York state:
"One of the steerage passengers who arrived safely was Miss Bridget Bradley, whose sister is employed as a cook at the home of William T. Cowles in Glen Falls. She will go to Glen Falls after a visit with her brother here." (Albany Journal, 19 April 1912)
After her arrival in America on the Carpathia she received financial aid from the American Red Cross:
The Emergency and Relief booklet by the American Red Cross, 1913
Case number 52. (Irish).
Domestic servant. 20 years old. Awarded - ($125).
Bridget was reunited with her siblings in Glen Falls, New York and spent a few years there before moving to Manhattan where she worked for a wealthy family. Later going by the name of Delia in her new home, in 1925 she met Canadian tour guide Bernard LaSha (b. 24 October 1887)(5) of Gananoque, Ontario and they were married the following year.
The couple made their home in Gananoque and had four surviving children: Mary (b. 1927), John Joseph (b. 1928), Rose Henrietta (b. 1930) and Joan Margaret (b. 1931).
In the 1920s Bernard Lasha purchased a tour boat, the Sun Dance, to allow passengers to travel around the Islands of the St Lawrence. He died from tuberculosis on 28 March 1933, leaving Bridget with a young family and reportedly again with child who died not long after birth.
In 1953 Mrs LaSha, despite being paralysed and with limited speech on account of a stroke a few years previous, was persuaded to see the movie Titanic with Clifton Webb and Barbara Stanwyk. "She hesitated about wanting to see, but with a little persuasion we managed to get her to go," her daughter wrote. "She became very emotional during the movie and at times kept shaking her head as if to say, "no, it didn't happen that way." After the movie she was rushed on stage, had her picture taken with the mayor, given a bouquet of flowers and a lifetime pass to the theatre which she never used. For once in her life, she was in the spotlight, if only for such a short time."
Bridget Bradley LaSha died 24 January 1956 aged 66 and was buried in St. John's Roman Catholic Cemetery in Gananoque, Ontario with her husband. Her headstone mentions that she was a Titanic survivor.
Her parents remained in Ireland; her father died 6 September 1938 aged 77 and her mother moved to Rathmore near Killarney, Co Kerry where she died on 22 January 1940 aged 74.