Published Tuesday, 29 July 2014
The pensioner and father of two was attempting to swim to an island in the middle of the Bessbrook Pond on Monday afternoon.
The grandfather received first aid at the scene before being taken to Daisy Hill Hospital where he later died.
He was 68.
Police are not treating the death as suspicious.
Pastor Barrie Halliday was a friend of Mr Bradley and had known him from a young age.
He said: "I couldn't believe it when I heard it.
"I was out in the village on Monday and waved to him and was going to stop but I didn't.
"In a sense I wasn't surprised, because I knew Ossie was scundered by the Tricolour going up.
"He was a very active member of the FAIR victims' group and he was deeply affected by the Kingsmills massacre and just took this as a real insult to the suffering of the Protestants that a Tricolour would be raised.
"He felt the families of Kingsmills had been forgotten and suffering of the Protestants had been forgotten."
"Ossie and his wife were so kind and supportive to the elderly and those that suffered, he was just a gentleman, that's how I'll remember him.
"It is tragic it ended this way."
SDLP MLA for Newry and Armagh Dominic Bradley knew the man, who had worked as a painter and decorator in the area and owned a popular chip shop.
He said: "My thoughts and prayers are with the family at this very difficult and sad time."
UUP MLA Danny Kennedy spent the evening with the family at the hospital and said they were "totally devastated" by the loss.
He added: "He was a highly respected and liked man within the Bessbrook community. I counted him as a personal friend and I am deeply upset by his untimely and tragic death."
"This is a very tragic outcome to controversies surrounding flags in this village. This is too high a price for any family and community to pay."
DUP Newry and Armagh MLA William Irwin said he was "saddened" to hear the news.
"The flags were placed there with the obvious purpose to raise tensions and it is so tragic and unfortunate that this has sadly led to a man's death," he said.
Last week Sinn Féin Mayor of Newry and Mourne Council, Dáire Hughes, urged those responsible for putting up the Irish flags to take them down.
The flags were removed on Monday following the tragic drowning.
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