Ernest Bailey

Do you have any information about this man?

The true identity of Ernest Bailey remains a mystery. Even though the name is fairly common, he cannot be identified in any of the censuses in or around Cheshire. During the course of our research that name did appear, however, the problem still remains; we cannot identify any positive links between this man and the parish of Ashton Hayes or details of his death and burial. Can he be the right man?

During the whole of World War 1, baring a short closure between 22nd December 1916 and 28th February 1917, the house at Ashton Hayes was used as a military hospital. The hospital kept a register of all of the patients who were admitted there and one name in that book stands out – Ernest Bailey of the 1st Border Regiment. The entries are not dated but his name appears before the closure suggesting that he may have been admitted in late 1914 or early 1915 – this formed the start of a further investigation.

Ernest was born c1894 in Walsall Wood, Staffordshire, son of John and Rosannah Bailey. He was one of seven children and in the 1911 Census, at the age of 17, he is working as a postman.

An article in the Walsall Observer and South Staffordshire Chronicle, dated 25th January 1915, confirms the link between this man and Ashton Hayes. However, we cannot find any details of his death in Cheshire (or anywhere else for that matter) nor can we identify any reason why this man would have been included on the War Memorial at Ashton Hayes.

Is this really our man?

Invalided Home

Walsall Observer and South Staffordshire Chronicle 25 January 1915

Two Walsall Wood soldiers invalided home from the Front are Private Ernest Bailey, of Brookland Road, and Gunner William Guest (32), of the Vigo. While on active service with the Border Regiment, Private Bailey took part in some severe fighting, and was with the regiment when they recovered the retirement of Belgians from Antwerp. It was while on outpost duty during the struggle round Ypres that he was taken ill with rheumatic fever, carried to hospital, and later sent home. The second day in the firing line he had a narrow escape when bullet took away his cap, and was with a British brigade which surrounded a German division. Previous to joining the Army, Private Bailey worked as a postman at Walsall Wood, but was employed in Manchester when he enlisted in 1912.

Private Ernest Bailey
2nd Border Regiment
Brookland Road
Walsall Wood