JOHN HENRY CORNES BAILEY 

Rank: Lance Corporal
Service Number: 1954.
Regiment: 1st/7th Bn. Cheshire Regiment Killed In Action Saturday 18th September 1915 Age 26County Memorial Congleton
Commemorated\Buried AZMAK CEMETERY, SUVLA
Grave\Panel Ref: II.G.13.
Turkey (including Gallipoli)

Son of Mr. George Bailey and Mrs. Mary Jane Bailey of 16, Swan Street, Congleton Cheshire, and husband of Mrs Mary Ellen Hibbert (nee Rowley) and formerly Bailey of 37, Waggs Road, Congleton, Cheshire. They were married at St. Peter's Church, Congleton in 1912. They had had two children, Maud and John. He also had three sisters, Emily, Maud and Lucy, along with three brothers, George, Walter and Fred.

He was employed as a Plate Layer by the North Staffordshire Railway Company. He was a well-known and much admired local footballer. "Jonner" as he was known to local supporters. He served in the Territorial Army with the 1st/7th Battalion, the Cheshire Regiment enlisting in 1914 and was mobilised as soon as war broke out. The Battalion moved to Shrewsbury, and then to Northampton and in the Spring of 1915 to Bedford. He was originally part of the Transport Section but volunteered for overseas service to be with his brother, Walter. The 1st/7th Battalion as part of the Cheshire Brigade, Welsh Division, sailed from Devonport in July 1915 bound for Egypt, first to Alexandria then to Port Said, where they remained on board the cramped troop ship for six days before continuing their journey to fight at Gallipoli. When they anchored at Suvla Bay on the 8th of August 1915, according to the official history of the Cheshire Regiment even the senior officers had no idea where they were, nevertheless they were ordered into action immediately, across open ground and against strongly defended Turkish positions. They had little ammunition, neither rations nor opportunity to conduct reconnaissance. The official history also states that when senior officers protested about this they were threatened with arrest. The Battalion suffered over 300 casualties on the first day of fighting. Further heavy casualties were taken at the end of the month in the attack on Scimitar Hill. John survived both these battles but was killed in the British trenches on the 18th of September 1915.

Major Reid described the circumstances to his mother,

Dear, Mrs. Bailey,

I have with great regret to have to inform you of the death of your son Corporal John Bailey, who was killed yesterday by the explosion of a trench mortar which he was in the act of firing. His death was mercifully instantaneous so that he suffered no pain. I buried him myself last night and his brother Walter was able to be present. I cannot tell you how much I sympathise with you, his loss, or any of my Congleton boys is a real grief to me, and your son was doing so well, and earning such good opinions as a Non Commissioned Officer that his death means a great loss to his company. Walter was behind the lines writing to their parents when a soldier came up and told him the news. His Captain gave him permission to go to the firing line where he found his brother dead. In a letter to his sister he said, Tell them at home and break the news to his wife, I am broken-hearted. John seemed to have been particularly popular and many tributes were paid to him. " John was such a good soldier and a nice fellow and I have heard more regret over his death among his comrades than any man we have lost". ( Lieutenant Furnell, August 1915 ). There would be many more losses. Only 35% of John's Division survived to be evacuated at the end of the year.



Cheshire County Memorial Project would like to thank John and Christopher Pullen for the information on John.

© Cheshire County Memorial Project
2016