Baxenden Lads: Bailey H

5th June 1918

PTE. 6276 HARRY BAILEY of the 19th Infantry Battalion Australian Imperial Forces, died of wounds sustained on June 5th 1918. He was admitted to the 20th Casualty Clearing Station at Vignacourt and died later the same day.

Harry was one of eight children. His parents lived at 20 Birch Terrace, Manchester Road, Baxenden. He was a single man, aged thirty one. In 1913 he left his job as an engineer with Lupton Bros. engineering works, Accrington, and emigrated to Australia. He worked as an engineer with the New South Wales State Railways, and also on a sheep station on the Murrumbidgee River. He volunteered for active service in November 1916 and arrived with his battalion in France in April 1917.

Before he emigrated, Harry was a regular attender at St. John’s Church, and was a member of the Sunday School Men’s Class.

A letter to his mother from his commanding officer spoke of him as “a fine lad who died nobly whilst repelling the enemy at Morlancourt, near Amiens”. He added, “Believe me, madam, your loss is ours and we grieve with you”. The Sister-in-Charge at the Casualty Clearing Station also took time during her arduous duties to write “Harry died peacefully and free from pain. He was buried by our own Chaplain in the Military Cemetery here, where so many of our fine boys are lying – with deepest sympathy, Miss E. Schofield”.

Vignacourt Military Cemetery was in use from April to August 1918. The burials reflect the desperate fighting of the Australian forces during the successful defence of Amiens before the German advance was finally stopped. The cemetery is five miles north of Amiens on the Doullens road. There are 629 war graves.