Private 30 Bernard Eustace Bailey

Bailey Bernard 96 442x600

Died of Wounds on Monday, 26th June 1916, age 24.
Buried in Grave IV. B. 13. at Abbeville Communal Cemetery, Somme, France.

12th Bn., York & Lancaster Regiment. 94th Brigade of 31st Division.

Son of John William Mathews Bailey and Sarah Bailey, of Upper Church Lane, Tipton, Staffs.
Born: Tipton, Enlisted: Sheffield, Resident: Unknown.

First landed France & Flanders, post 31st December 1915.
Medal entitlement: British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Commemorated on the Tipton Library, and St. John's memorials.
Commemorated here because he appears on a Tipton memorial.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/75715/

Genealogical Data

1901 Census
1a Park Lane Terrace, Park Lane West, Tipton, Staffs.
John Bailey (45, Manager at Slag Works, born Princes End), his wife Sarah (45, born Coseley) and their 8 children: Lily (26, Tailoress, born Coseley), Della (21, Teacher, born Coseley), Edith (19, Dressmaker, born Coseley), Alma (16, Teacher, born Coseley), Claud (13, Tailor's Cutter, born Tipton), Bernard (8, born Tipton), Gerald (6, born Tipton), and Ralph (4, born Tipton).

1911 Census
86 Upper Church Lane, Tipton, Staffs.
John William Matthews Bailey (55, Slag Works Manager, born Tipton), his wife Sarah (55, born Sedgley), and 7 of their 8 surviving children of 9: Sarah Della (31, Teacher, born Sedgley), Edith Laura (29, Dressmaker, born Sedgley), Alma Annie (26, Teacher, born Sedgley), Claud Allan (23, Foundry Manager, born Sedgley), Bernard Eustace (18, Printing Apprentice, born Coseley), Gerald Cyril (16, Engineering Fitter, born Tipton), and Ralph Vivian (14, Office Boy, born Tipton).

Personal Data

Bernard enlisted in Sheffield, so it is likely that between 1911 and 1914 he had moved to Sheffield, his parents were still living in Tipton. As his number was 12/30 it sounds as if he was one of the founder-members of the 12th Battalion, Yorks and Lancs, often known by its original name of the Sheffield City Battalion. This was one of the 4 battalions in 94th Brigade of 31st Division, largely comprised of locally-raised units often known as "Pals" including the well-known units from Accrington, Leeds, Bradford, Barnsley and Hull.

After Bernard's death, his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £4/13/10d (4 pounds, 13 shillings and 10 pence); this was paid to his father, John William M., in October 1916. His War Gratuity was £8/0/0d (8 pounds exactly), this was also paid to his father in September 1919. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that Bernard had enlisted in approximately September 1914.

Action resulting in his death

The 31st Division sailed for Egypt during December 1915, arriving at Port Said between Christmas Eve 1915 and 23rd January 1916. The Division took over the No 3 Sector of the Suez Canal defences, but their stay in Egypt was short. In March 1916 the Division sailed to Marseilles for service on the Western Front, arriving at Serre within a week of landing.

By early June the battalions of 94th Brigade were practising the attack on Serre. On Saturday 24th June, the British artillery opened a bombardment that over a 5-day period was intended to destroy the German defences completely. Each night the battalion sent out raiding and wire-examining parties; ominously, the German wire was found to be incompletely cut. It would be some time around here that Bernard Bailey received wounds that lead to his death in Abbeville on 26th June 1916, he is buried at Abbeville Communal Cemetery.

The first action for the 31st Division was to be the attack at Serre on 1st July, where the Sheffield City Battalion had just over 500 men killed. Bernard had died just 6 days before this attack.

Newspaper Cuttings

Tipton Herald 22nd July 1916
Private B. Bailey of the York & Lancaster Regiment (Tipton) has been officially reported killed in the great advance beginning July 1st.
(This is not strictly accurate as he was killed a week earlier on June 26th.)