BAILEY, Robert Joseph William

No.G/18808, Private, Robert Joseph William BAILEY
Aged 22

7th Battalion, Queen's Own (Royal West Kent Regiment)
formerly No. 5870, Duke of Cambridge's Own (Middlesex Regiment)
Killed in Action on Thursday, 3rd May 1917

Robert Joseph William Bailey was born in Wicken on 25th March 1895 (Newmarket Q2-1899 3B:531), the son of William and Emma BAILEY (née ELY ).

1901 census...Aged 6, he was at Chapel Lane, Wicken with his father William BAILEY [41] labourer; his mother Emma [41]; brothers Thomas William [18] farm labourer, Sidney [15] farm labourer and James [9]; sisters Julia [14], Rachel [12] and Mina [10]. The whole family were born in Wicken.

1911 census...Aged 16, a farm labourer, he was at Butts Lane, Wicken with his parents, sisters Elizabeth, Julia and Mina, and brother James and a niece, Dorothy BAILEY [3] born Wicken. It is not known whose child she was, all Robert's sisters were still single, Thomas was married and living in Wicken, but Sidney has not been found in this census.

1919 (from his Army records) His parents were at Rose Cottage, Wicken with his sister, Mrs Elizabeth NORDEN and Julia, Rachel (now FULLER) was at Cross Stone Cottages, Wicken and Mina was in U.S.A. His brother Thomas was at West View, Wicken, Sidney was in Hucknall and James was in the Army in the BEF somewhere.

The family were still at Rose Cottage on the pension card (1919)

He was called up in Bury St. Edmunds on 7th March 1916 No. 5870 Middlesex Regiment His age was given as 21, he was 5ft 7.5" (171.5 cm)tall, chest 39" to 42" (99.1 to 106.7 cm). He was posted to the 4th/8th Battalion, then on 2nd October posted to the 1st/7th Battalion and sailed via Folkestone-Boulogne to join the BEF .
He was transferred on 14th October to 7th Battalion, Royal West Kent Regiment (The Queen's Own). He received gunshot wounds to face and hand on 19th November 1916, admitted first to 12 Canadian Field Ambulance , then via a CCS to 24 General Hospital, Etaples. Passing through several convalescent camps he was posted to Base Depot on 12th January 1917 and eventually returned to his unit in the field on 6th April 1917.
He was reported missing on 3rd May 1917 and his death was presumed to be on or since 3rd May 1917.

The war diary has:-
On the 3rd, ready for an attack on Cherisy, the left battalion was the 7th Buffs, 12th Middlesex centre, with 8th East Surreys on the right. The 7th Royal West Kent were in Support. "D" company provided "moppers up", 1 platoon to the Buffs and 3 platoons to East Surreys. "A" Coy were at the Quarries, "B" Coy in old German trench, "C" Coy at Advanced Brigade Dump. Bn HQ was at N.30.b.73
By 08:30 "D" and 2 platoons of "A" Coy had moved up to Blue Line (1st objective). The remainder of "A" Coy and 2 platoons of "B" Coy moved up to CABLE TRENCH. "C" Coy was employed carrying.
At 08:45 the 8th Surreys had reached St Michael's Monument and the Royal West Kents were ordered to go to their assistance, carrying Lewis Gun drums, water and small arms ammunition. While they were waiting for the supplies to be brought up for them, the East Surreys returned to the British front line. A German counter attack forced a withdrawal to the slope to the west of Cherisy. Returning past Cable Trench there was some "friendly fire" until an officer recognised they were our troops and stopped the firing. The enemy stopped their advance at Cable trench and our troops settled in the original front line. Casualties when relieved on 4th were Officer- 2 killed, 4 wounded,1 shell shocked, 1 wounded and missing, 2 wounded (at duty). OR 22 killed, 73 wounded, 4 wounded and missing, 1 shell shocked, 46 missing, 18 wounded (at duty)

photo; Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Robert Bailey is commemorated on the Arras memorial, bay 7

click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details