Alfred Bailey, Gunner 228555, 72nd Bty. 38th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery
Died of wounds 19th October 1917 in Belgium, aged 32
Alfred Bailey was born on 4 July 1885 at Siddington, near Macclesfield, the son of Mary Ellen (nee Riley) and Alfred Bailey, a labourer; his birth was registered as Alfred Bayley. In 1891, three-year-old Albert was living at Rathbones, Gawsworth, near Macclesfield, with his parents and older sister Eliza (7).
Albert began his education at Gawsworth School and on 31 October 1892 he and his sister enrolled at St John’s Church of England School, after the family moved to 15 Brown Street, Macclesfield. Alfred left that school on 26 December 1896, by which time he had passed Standard Grade V.
By 1901, Alfred had left school and the family had moved to the Sewage Farm, Butley, near Prestbury, Macclesfield. Here, Alfred (senior) was employed as a sewage works foreman and Alfred (junior) worked as a carter at the sewage works.
Alfred married Jane Joynson on 13 December 1908 at St Bartholomew’s Church, Church Minshull, and by 1911 the couple were living at Pearl Street, Butley. Their son Harold was born later that year. Alfred later gained the position of foreman at the sewage works, like his father.
Alfred enlisted in Macclesfield on 10 April 1917, and after training was drafted overseas in August 1917. Alfred was wounded on 19 October 1917 and died in hospital later that day.
Alfred’s death was reported in the Macclesfield Times on 2 November 1917:
CORPORATION EMPLOYEE – SEWAGE WORKS FOREMAN KILLED
Mrs Bailey, Sewage Farm, Butley, has been officially notified that her husband, Gunner Alfred Bailey, Royal Field Artillery, died of wounds on October 19th. A letter from the sister of the hospital states: “Your husband was admitted to hospital on October 19th, suffering from severe head wounds. Everything possible was done for him, but he died at 9pm the same day… he was quite unconscious the whole time. He is buried in the cemetery here…”
Gunner Bailey was thirty-two years of age and a native of Siddington. He was educated at the Gawsworth and Mill Street (Macclesfield) Wesleyan Day Schools, and had been in the employ of the Macclesfield Corporation at the sewage works since a lad. The gunner was formerly a teamsman, but had held the position of foreman for three years prior to joining the Army. He enlisted on April 10th last, and was drafted out to France nine weeks ago. Gunner Bailey leaves one child, aged six years.
Gunner Alfred Bailey is buried in grave ref. IV. E. 17. of Nine Elms British Cemetery, West Vlaanderen, Belgium. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission holds casualty details for Gunner Alfred Bailey, and he is listed on the Imperial War Museum’s Lives of the First World War website.
Locally, Alfred Bailey is commemorated in the St Peter’s Church, Prestbury war memorial porch.
Alfred’s death was commemorated by an ‘In Memoriam’ notice published in the Macclesfield Courier on 19 October 1918:
BAILEY – In loving memory of Gunner A Bailey, RFA, who died of wounds received in action in France, October 19th, 1917.
“We who love you sadly miss you,
As it dawns another year;
In the lonely hours of thinking
Thoughts of you are ever near.”
Father, Mother, Sister
Sewage Farm, Prestbury.
GRO (England & Wales) Index: Births
Census (England & Wales): 1891, 1901, 1911
National School Admission Registers and Log-books: St John’s Church of England School
Cheshire Parish Marriage Registers: St Bartholomew’s Church, Church Minshull
Soldiers Died in the Great War (Find My Past)
Commonwealth War Graves Commission website
Lives of the First World War website
Macclesfield Times: 2 November 1917, 23 September 1921 (Photo supplement)
Macclesfield Courier: 19 October 1918