James Edward Bayley/Bailey, Private 2850, 1/7th Battalion, Cheshire Regiment
Died of wounds 27th August 1915 at sea off Gallipoli, Turkey, aged 16
James Edward Bayley (or Bailey) was born on 22 November and baptised on 26 December 1898 at St James’ Church, Congleton, the son of Olive and James Bayley, a silk dresser of 72 Canal Street, Congleton.
In 1901 Olive and James were living at 39, Canal Street, Congleton with Olive’s aunt, Mary Hadley, and his education began on 9th May 1904 when he was admitted to Lord Street School in Macclesfield. In 1911, twelve year old James was living with Mary Hadley at 63 Pickford Street, Macclesfield, and working part time as a newsboy, while his mother was residing as a housekeeper to Stephen Findlow at Astbury Lane Ends near Congleton on census night.
James attested at Macclesfield when he was under age, joining the 7th Battalion of the Cheshire Regiment, and following a period of training in various locations in the south of England, the 7th Cheshires, as part of 159th Brigade, 53rd (Welsh) Division, received orders to equip for service in an undisclosed location in the Mediterranean. In July 1915 they sailed from Devonport to Alexandria in Egypt, then on to the island of Lemnos on the 4th August.
On the evening of 8th August, the Battalion arrived off the coast of Gallipoli and the following day landed at “C” Beach, Suvla Bay. Having landed, they came under shell fire at about 8.30am and so moved north along the edge of the bay; they then received orders to attack in the direction of a dip in the hills behind Anafarta Saghir.
At 8am on 10th August the Battalion was ordered to attack Hill 70. This was unsuccessful and the Battalion suffered severe losses. A second unsuccesssful attack took place at 5pm.
The following day at 2.30pm the Brigade moved north, but the 7th Cheshires and 4th Welsh Regiments on the left were under attack so had to pull back. The 7th Cheshires remained in this position in trenches for several days.
It is not known when James was badly wounded, but he was evacuated from Gallipoli and died on board hospital ship HMHS Nevasa on 27th August 1915, aged just 16.
His death was reported in the Macclesfield Courier of 25th September 1915:
PRIVATE J. E. BAILEY – Mrs Bailey, widow, of 54 Pickford Street, Macclesfield, has received information that her only son, Private James Ed. Bailey, of the 1/7th Cheshire, had been killed in action in Gallipoli. Deceased, who was only sixteen years of age, was formerly in the employ of the British Automobile Company as a bus conduction in Macclesfield district, and joined the Territorials soon after the outbreak of war. He had previously enlisted in the Regular Army, but his mother secured his release on the ground that he was under age. He persisted, however, in his desire to serve his country, and eventually his mother consented to his joining the 7th Cheshires.
Private James Bayley is buried in grave Ref. II. J. 170 in East Mudros Military Cemetery, Lemnos, Greece. His mother asked for the inscription “GOD FOLD YOU IN HIS BOSOM THE WELL-BELOVED OF MINE” to be added to his headstone.