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Lance Corporal 26355 George Bailey
6th Battalion (Princess Charlotte of Wales's) Royal Berkshire Regiment.

Local Information:

George Bailey was born in 1880 in Stoke by Nayland. He was the son of George and Ellen Bailey, of Bull Street, Leavenheath Nayland, Suffolk. George was one of 13 children. George and three of his brothers fought in WWI.

George married Sophie Louisa Sexton in the parish church in Stoke by Nayland on the 16th March 1912.

Prior to their marriage George worked at Windsor Castle as an under-keeper and following their marriage George worked at Chilton Foliat as gamekeeper until he enlisted. George's brother Frederick also worked at Chilton Foliat and returned there after the war working as gamekeeper until his death in the 1960's. (See links to obituaries at the foot of this page).

He enlisted at Hungerford and is shown on the war memorial as a Private soldier, but at the time of his death he was in fact a Lance Corporal.

He died on Friday, 12th October 1917, age 38.

He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial to the missing at Zonnebeke, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium.

[With thanks to Sarah Etchells, 2014]

Photo Gallery:

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- Royakl Berkshire cap badge

- -George and Sophie Bailey [kindly sent by Sarah Etchells, 2014]

Regimental Information:

6th Battalion War Diary for the 12th October 1917 reads:

"The Battalion leading platoon left Cane Trench for the forward area at 1.0.am with a distance of 200 yards between platoons. The movement forward was without incident until the Steenbeck was reached. Guides were met at the tanks at 4.45a.m. and at once led the companies to their forming up positions. All companies were correctly formed up by 5.30a.m., 'C' company on the right, 'B' Company in the centre, 'A' Company on the left, 'D' Company in the rear, battalion HQ in tanks on the St Julien-Poelcapelle Road, our barrage opened at 5.25am.

At 6.10am no news had been received from the troops in front and it was decided to move the battalion forward so as to be in the final forming up position at the specified time. Almost at once it became apparent that the first phase of the operation had not been successful. 200 yards from the first forming up position the leading companies came under heavy machine gun and sniper fire from the Brewery, Meunier House and Beek Houses. At 6.30 am the Commanding Officer was killed at Battalion HQ.

At 6.55am. verbal message received from 'A' Company to say that the troops were disorganised owing to the bad state if the ground and M.G. fire. Also news began to come in of considerable casualties in officers. Touch was obtained with the 9th Division on the right and the Buffs on our left. No British Troops appeared to be in front of us. Orders were given for this line to be consolidated.

Casualties Officers died of Wounds 1, killed 6, wounded 8
Ors Killed 33, missing 10, wounded 155. "

[George Bailey was one of those killed in this action]. We have no means of knowing what company he was in at the time.

After this action General Higginson sent a message to the 6th Battalion "The 12th was a very unfortunate day for the Brigade. Neither your battalion nor the Suffolk's ever had a chance. It was cruel luck two such splendid battalions being wasted".

See also:

- George Bailey's obituary, 17 Oct 1917 [kindly sent by Sarah Etchells, Nov 2014]

- Fred Bailey's obituary, 1960s [kindly sent by Sarah Etchells, Nov 2014]

- Chilton Lodge