Sapper Ernest William Bailey was killed in action on 8th July 1917 serving with 218th Field Company, Royal Engineers. Born in Bordesley in 1888, he was the second of three children of parents Christopher William and Sarah (née Kimberley) who had married at Holy Trinity, Bordesley, in 1885. His sister, Elsie, was born in 1887, whilst the youngest child, Alfred, was born in 1891, by which time the family had moved to Hampton-in-Arden.
The family remained in Hampton-in-Arden until at least 1911, although, census records only show mother Sarah living with the children. On the 1891 and 1901 censuses she is listed as married, although her husband isn’t recorded as being at home on census night. By 1911, she is listed as widowed. 22-year-old Ernest was still living in the family home and working as a house painter.
Ernest married Edith Jane Sterry in 1912 and they set up home in Bradnock’s Marsh. They had three children: Charles Ernest (born 1912), Dorothy Mary (born 1914) and Elizabeth Elsie (born 1916).
The Coventry Evening Telegraph 4th August 1917 reported his death:
Ernest William Bailey, of Bradnock’s Marsh, joined the Army in March last, in the Royal Engineers. He had only been at the front a few weeks when he was killed on July 8th, by a high-explosive shell while repairing the trenches. He leaves a widow and three small children.
He is buried at Coxyde Military Cemetery and is commemorated locally on war memorials at Berkswell and Hampton-in-Arden.
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