James Bailey, Private 291810, 7th Royal Welsh Fusiliers, formerly Cheshire Regiment 3956
Killed in action 26th March 1917 in Gaza, Palestine, aged 21
James Bailey was born in Macclesfield on 23 October 1895, the son of Mary and James Bailey (snr), a greengrocer hawker of 11 Gunco Lane. In November 1901, James and his younger brother Thomas were enrolled at London Road school, the family having moved to 17 Gunco Lane. The register notes that James had previously attended St Peter’s school.
By 1911, the family had moved to 3 Gunco Lane and Mary was a widow. James (jnr) was aged 15 and working as a Winder for a Gimp Manufacturer.
James enlisted in the 7th Cheshires, service number 3956, in Macclesfield on 17 August 1915 when aged 19 years 7 months. He was described as 5 feet 5 inches tall, weighed 119 pounds and had a 33 inch chest. He had a circular scar on his left thigh, and three scars as a result of being vaccinated in infancy. James spent some time in Oswestry undergoing training, and between March and May 1916 he was reprimanded three times for being dirty or having dirty boots on parade.
On 1st July 1917 James was transferred to 7th Royal Welsh Fusiliers, initial service number 4909 and later number 291810, and sent overseas as part of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force on 13th July 1916.
Private James Bailey was reported missing on 26 March 1917, and was presumed to have died on or shortly after that date. His body was subsequently found. The Macclesfield Times of 13 April 1917 printed a brief report about him being missing.
In Macclesfield, James Bailey is commemorated on the St Peter’s Church war memorial.
Private James Bailey is also commemorated in Macclesfield Cemetery on the memorial stone marking his parents’ grave, in plot no. Z 18610.