Lance Corporal 19214 - Sherwood Foresters
Notts and Derby Regiment 10th Battalion
Killed in Action Flanders 31st Oct 1916 : Aged 22
Thiepval Memorial Pier and Face 10 C 10 D and 11 A
Bernard was the eldest son of Robert and Wilhelmine Bailey whom became caretakers at the Cemetery Lodge, Huthwaite. From this notably respected family of church members, Bernard had formerly been a coal miner at the New Hucknall Colliery, but enlisted for duty with the Foresters in November 1914. His parents were to suffer another loss when daughter Annie became a casualty of a second World War.
LANCE-CORPORAL BERNARD BAILEY,
After a period of waiting of eight months official news has been received of the death of Lance-Corporal Bernard Bailey, 19214, C Company, 10th Battalion (M.G.S.), Sherwood Foresters, the eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. R. Bailey, 11, King Street, Huthwaite. He enlisted in November, 1914, and after training at Lichfield, was sent to France on the following July. He fought at Ypres, Loos, Armentieres and was killed on the Somme last October, after being in the firing line 15 months without a break. In that month news was sent by a comrade that he had been blown up by a shell, but this has only just been confirmed. He was 22 years old, and was formerly employed at New Hucknall Colliery. He was widely respected and was a member of the Parish Church bible Class, C.E.M.S., etc., and enjoyed great popularity both in civil life and in the army. The following letters have been received:-
Private Pell has just shown me your letter of February 6th,and I am writing to you on his behalf, and much regret that I can only give you bad news of your son, Lance-Corporal Bailey. He was in charge of our Lewis gun sections – Sergeant Caunt being on leave – and on the way to the trenches several of the teams were killed and wounded, and among the former, I am very sorry to say, was your son. He was reported missing but I think it is kinder to let you know as much as we do, and it is practically certain that he was killed instantaneously and was buried the same night, though I cannot tell you the exact spot in this letter. He was one of the best and is a great loss to the Company, though perhaps there is no need to repeat this as you must already know it. Apologising for addressing this so awkwardly, and sympathising with you both in this great sorrow.- G.R. Thurton, 2nd. Lieut."
"It is with the deepest regret that I have to inform you, if you do not already know, that your dear son Bernard is missing. He was on his way to the trenches with his gun team when a shell burst right among them, killing and wounding several of the party, and since then Bernard has not been seen, hence his being reported missing. I have made enquiries of those who were fortunate enough to escape that shell and who were nearby, and they say that Bernard absolutely disappeared, and I have grave fears that he must have been blown to pieces. But I will wait a little longer and if I can gather any further news of your dear son I will let you know straightaway. I do sincerely hope I shall hear some better news of him, for he was such a willing lad, always bright and cheerful and at all times ready to do his duty. Strange to say, it was the very first time I had missed going into the trenches with him, and you can imagine my grief when I heard of the awful calamity that had befallen him. He was the best lad I had in my gun sections, and I shall miss him greatly, but in no measure as much as you will miss him. Please accept my heartfelt sympathy in your great sorrow. I can fully understand to what extent you will feel you great loss, and you have all my sympathy combined with that of all who knew your dear son. A parcel arrived for him two days ago, and I gave his old chums permission to open it and share the contents, knowing that would be the best plan, and I think that you will agree with me that it was better than letting strangers get hold of it. I am enclosing the letter found in the parcel. Please rest assured that I will spare no effort in getting further particulars of the whereabouts of your dear son and I will let you know everything.-
Sergeant Albert B. Caunt, C Company, 10th Battalion, Machine Gun Section, Sherwood Foresters, B.E.F., France.
Free press – 13th July, 1917. HUTHWAITE NEWS.
The official news of the death of Lance-Corporal B. Bailey caused general concern, although his friends had abandoned hope some months ago by reason of letters from the front which left no doubt as to his fate. He was another of the rapidly-diminishing band who joined the army while members of the Parish Church Bible class, a body which it has been stated has made greater sacrifices than any similar organisation in the County, proportionately. Lance-Corporal Bailey was a regular communicant and was previously in the choir, to which his father and one of his brothers now belong, the family always having been closely identified with Church work. Only 22, and the eldest son, his death is a loss to the whole community,
for he possessed, in a peculiar degree, the affection and esteem of all who knew him. Modest and unassuming through all his career, at work or at play, in the home circle or in home life, he wore the white flower of a blameless life. He was gifted with an unusually high intelligence and was devoted to the best literature, which no doubt broadened his mental outlook and strengthened the keen sense of duty which he always possessed. He loved knowledge for its own sake, and lost no opportunities of acquiring it, being proficient in several branches of study not usually associated with young men of his class in life. He enlisted in the year of the war with the characteristic -***- that he could not let others go -***- for him, and yet, being a miner, there would have been no claim on him. He enlisted with Private Wilmot (now a prisoner in Germany) with whom he had a lifelong friendship, and was in the firing line 15 months without leave, interspersed with fierce and bloody engagements, before he fell. Always cheerful and confident, with never a word of complaint, he fought the good fight and died a hero’s death.
Referencing and Links