Alfred Bailey, Private T/3329, 1/6th Battalion, Cheshire Regiment
Killed in action 2nd August 1916 in the Somme, France, aged 26
Alfred Bailey was born in 1890, the eldest son of Emily and Joseph Bailey, a fustian foreman of 18 Coare St, Macclesfield, where the family was living in 1891. Ten years later, ten year old Alfred was living at 10 Court 4 House King Edward Street with his parents and younger siblings Mary Alice (9), Wilfred Joseph (8), Frederick (6), Ernest (5), Elsie (3) and Albert Edward (1).
By 1911, Alfred’s father had died and the family had moved to 58 King Edward Street. Alfred had two more siblings – Lily (8) and Stanley (4) – and he was employed at King Edward Street Mill as a fustian cutter.
Alfred enlisted with the Cheshire Regiment in Macclesfield on 31 August 1914. He was described in his service records as 5 feet 6 inches tall with a 31 inch chest and weighed 114 pounds. He had a fresh complexion, blue eyes, black hair, and a scar in the middle of his forehead. After training, he was drafted to France in July 1916 and was killed in action five weeks later.
Alfred’s death was reported in the Macclesfield Courier of 12 August 1916:
PRIVATE A BAILEY KILLED
Mrs E Bailey, of 58 King St, has received information that her son, Private Alfred Bailey, was killed in action on August 2nd inst. The news is not official, but the following letter has been received from the chaplain of the Regiment:
August 4th, 1916. Dear Mrs Bailey – You will already have received the sad news about your dear son, Private A Bailey of the 13th Cheshires. He was killed by a shell on the morning of August 2nd, and his body was buried the same day in a little Cemetery behind the trenches. It will be some comfort to you to know that his death was instantaneous, and that he gave his life for his country. …A cross with an inscription is being erected over your son’s grave, and by its side are the graves of three other men of the same regiment, whose bodies were buried the same day.
Private Bailey was 26 years of age, and enlisted in the 13th Cheshires in September, 1914, being drafted out in July 1916, to France, he only having been out for five weeks. Prior to enlisting he was employed by Mr Brough, King Edward Street Mill, as a fustian cutter. His father, the late Mr J Bailey, was for several years employed at the “Courier and Herald” Works as engineer.
The deceased has two brothers in the Army – Private Wilfred Bailey, of the 2nd Cheshires, who has been a prisoner of war in Germany since May, 1915; and Private Fred Bailey, who went to the Dardanelles a year last Wednesday and was in the memorable landing at Suvla Bay. He then went, under General Gorringe, with the Kut Relief Force and is now in Egypt. Private E. Bailey, another brother, of the 1st Cheshires, was wounded on Hill 60 in May, 1915, and received his discharge last July.
Private Alfred Bailey is buried in Grave Ref. I. 14. of the Knightsbridge Cemetery, Mesnil in Somme, France.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission holds casualty details for Private Alfred Bailey.
Census (England & Wales): 1891, 1901, 1911
WWI British Army Registers of Soldiers’ Effects
WW1 British Army Service Records 1914-1920
WWI British Army Medal Rolls Index Cards
Commonwealth War Graves Commission website
Macclesfield Courier: 12 August 1916
Brother of Wilfred Bailey, who served as Private 11955 with the 2nd Cheshire Regt, was taken prisoner of war in Germany in May, 1915; Frederick Bailey, who served as Private 1322 with the Cheshire Regt and later as Pioneer 447857 with the Royal Engineers; and Ernest Bailey, who served as Private 9880 with the 3rd Cheshire Regt, was wounded on Hill 60 in May 1915, and was discharged from the army as unfit for further service on 12th July 1916. All three survived the war.