Richard Edwin BAILEY


BAILEY, Richard Edwin

Service Number: 5052
Enlisted: 6 December 1915, Adelaide, South Australia
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 10th Infantry Battalion
Born: Wilmington, South Australia, 14 November 1893
Home Town: Wilmington, Mount Remarkable, South Australia
Schooling: Wilmington Public School, South Australia
Occupation: Locomotive Fireman (S.A.R.)
Died: Killed in Action, Bapaume, France, 17 February 1917, aged 23 years
Cemetery: Bazentin-le-Petit Military Cemetery
Row G, Grave No. 20
Memorials: Adelaide National War Memorial, Adelaide South Australian Railways WW1 & WW2 Honour Boards, Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Wilmington District WW1 Honour Boards
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World War 1 Service

6 Dec 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 5052, Adelaide, South Australia
25 Mar 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 5052, 10th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
25 Mar 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 5052, 10th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Shropshire, Adelaide
23 Feb 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 5052, 10th Infantry Battalion, German Withdrawal to Hindenburg Line and Outpost Villages

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Biography contributed by N. Campbell

Richard Edwin BAILEY was born 31ST October 1893 in WILMINGTON to Isaac and Emily Augustine BAILEY who lived in WILMINGTON. Richard had at least 3 brothers and a sister. Richard reported he was working as a fireman with the South Australian Railways at the time of his enlistment.

Richard was 5’6 ¾“tall, weighed 134 pound and had a 35” chest. He had brown hair, a medium complexion and blue eyes. He attended the recruitment centre on 6th December 1916 after having signed up in WILMINGTON.

Richard embarked on H.M.A.T. (A9) Shropshire as part of the 10th battalion reinforcements on 25th March 1916.  Richard was posted onto the strength of the 10th battalion in France in the middle of the Battle for the Somme and fought through the devastating Battle of Pozieres which lasted until 3rd September, 1916.  

About a month of fighting and trench life later, Richard became dangerously ill. On the 29th September 1916 he was diagnosed with “Pyrexia of Unknown Origin” indicating the cause of the sickness was unknown.  He also suffered Mumps and was isolated. Richard was moved to a Hospital and on 4th October 1916 transferred to England still dangerously ill.  On 25th January 1917, Richard was able to rejoin his battalion in France, still involved in the fighting.
At this time the troops faced the famous Hindenburg Line which was originally built between two and 50 kilometres (30 miles) behind the original German front line. On 9 February, 1917 German forces retreated to the line and the withdrawal involved gains against resistance from the retreating German soldiers. This was completed by the 5th of April, leaving behind a devastated territory to be occupied by the Allies after 3 years of fighting and death.
On the 17th of February, 1917, Richard was involved in fighting near Bapaume in these actions and unfortunately was killed in action.  

In the fighting along the Western Front in World War 1, it is reported that 7,947,000 allied troops were killed, wounded captured or missing, and 5,603,000 enemy troops were killed, wounded captured or missing,  So many with no known grave.

Richard BAILEY is buried at the Bazentin-le-Petit Military Cemetery,  Bazentin, in Picardie, France. His widowed mother and siblings were devastated and later received his British War Medal, Victory Medal, Memorial Scroll and Plaque. 

He is commemorated on the Australian War Memorial on the Roll of Honour, the South Australian Railways Memorial, and Richard is also commemorated on the Honour Roll at The WILMINGTON Soldiers Memorial Hall.