1885 - 1916
CPL David Wallace Crawford
1887 - 1916
Lce-Corpl John Joseph Nickle
1894 - 1916
Pte 17911 Morton Neill
1897 - 1916
Lieut Edward Stanley Ashcroft
1883 - 1918
Pte 16287 Charles Bailey
- Age: 24
- From: Garston, Liverpool
- Regiment: The King's (Liverpool Regiment) 18th Btn
- K.I.A Saturday 1st July 1916
- Commemorated at: Thiepval Memorial
Panel Ref: P&F1D8B &8 C.
16287 Private Charles BAILEY, 18th Battalion KLR.
Charles Bailey was born on 27th February 1892, the youngest of eight children born to Thomas, a railway wagon builder born near Wigan, and his wife Sarah (nee Tyrer) also born in Wigan.
The 1901 Census shows the family living at 43 Wellington Street, Garston, Liverpool. Charles is 9 years of age. His father and mother are both aged 44. His siblings are shown as; Annie aged 24 and Peter a wagon builder aged 22 both born in Wigan, William aged 19 also a wagon builder born in Nottingham and the remaining three siblings were all born in Liverpool; Henry aged 15, Martha aged 13 and Alice aged 11.
The family are still living at 43 Wellington Street in the 1911 Census. Charles is now 19 and a grocer's assistant. Both parents are resident in the household and declare that they have been married for 35 years and have had 10 children of which 8 have survived.
Charles enlisted at St George's Hall in Liverpool on 04th September 1914, joining the 18th Battalion of THe King's Liverpool Regiment as Private 16287, aged 22 years 189 days, giving his occupation as clerk and his next of kin as his father.
From the 23rd September 1914 he was billeted at Hooton Park Race Course and remained there until 03rd December 1914 when they moved into the hutted accommodation at Lord Derby’s estate at Knowsley Hall. On 30th April 1915 the 18th Battalion alongside the other three Pals battalions left Liverpool via Prescot Station for further training at Belton Park, Grantham. They remained here until September 1915 when they reached Larkhill Camp on Salisbury Plain.
Charles crossed to France with his Battalion on the SS Invicta arriving in Boulogne on the 07th November 1915.
From the 13th to the 18th March 1916 he was treated at the 96th Field Ambulance suffering from Myalgia and Pleurisy, before returning to duty after five days of treatment. On recovery he was sent to 30 Division Grenade School for two weeks of instruction.
He was initially reported as wounded and missing in action during the attack at Montauban on 01st July 1916 and his death was not officially regarded as having occurred on that date until 27th April 1917.
The Battalion diary for the opening day of the Battle of the Somme shows an insight into the day:
At 6.30am the artillery commenced an intensive bombardment of the enemy’s trenches. Zero Hour – 7.30 am – the battalion commenced to leave their trenches and the attack commenced. The attack was pressed with great spirit and determination in spite of heavy shelling and machine gun enfilade fire which caused casualties amounting to 2/3rds of the strength of the Battalion in action. The whole system of German trenches including the Glatz Redoubt was captured without any deviation from the scheduled programme. Consolidated positions and made strong points for defence against possible counter attacks.
Graham Maddocks provides more detail concerning the events of the day:
As the first three waves began to move forward towards the German reserve line, known as Alt Trench and then on to the Glatz Redoubt itself, they suddenly came under enfilading fire from the left. This was from a machine gun which the Germans had sited at a strong point in Alt Trench. The gun itself was protected by a party of snipers and bombers, who, hidden in a rough hedge, were dug into a position in Alt Trench, at its junction with a communication trench known as Alt Alley. These bombers and snipers were themselves protected by rifle fire from another communication trench, Train Alley which snaked back up the high ground and into Montauban itself. The machine gun fire was devastating and it is certain that nearly of the Battalion’s casualties that day were caused by that one gun.
Lieutenant Colonel Edward Henry Trotter wrote in the conclusion of his account of the days action:
I cannot speak to highly of the gallantry of the Officers and men. The men amply repaid the care and kindness of their Company Officers, who have always tried to lead and not to drive. As laid down in my first lecture to the Battalion when formed, in the words of Prince Kraft:
“Men follow their Officers not from fear, but from love of the Regiment where everything had always and at all times gone well with them”.
Joe Devereux in his book A Singular Day on the Somme gives the Casualty Breakdown for the 18th Battalion as Killed in Action 7 Officers and 165 men and of those who died in consequence of the wounds 3 Officers and 19 men a total of 194 out of a total loss for the four Liverpool Pals Battalions of 257.
Charles has no known grave and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme in France.
His death was reported in the Runcorn Guardian on 21st July 1916:
"Private Bailey was also a youngest son and lived with his parents at 43 Wellington Street, Garston. He refused to stay behind, though slightly wounded, when the charge was sounded and he went over the top of the parapet with his comrades. He met his death instantly by a rifle bullet through the heart".
He served in France from 07th November 1915, earning his three medals.