Wilfred Bailey (1887-1917)

This page is part of a project by David Verguson to research the lives of those who appear on war memorials and rolls of honour in the Lindley area.


Wilfred Bailey is remembered on the war memorial in the grounds of St. Philip's, Birchencliffe. The parish of St. Phillips extended from the Halifax Road up Birchencliffe Road to East Street and over to Outlane, so Cowrakes Road, the hill out of Lindley, where the Bailey's lived, was well within the parish.

The Baileys had lived in Hill Top, a small collection of less that twenty homes on the hill beyond Cowrakes, and Wilfred was born there on 5 August 1887, and the family were still there in 1891. By 1901 they had moved down to 40 Cowrakes Road. All the children were born in the Lindley area, as was their father. Their mother Martha Senior was born in Kirkburton and probably came to the village in late 1886 after her marriage to Charles.

Charles Bailey, born in 1862, describes himself as a "teamer" or "teamster". This presumably means he worked delivery horses. In 1901 he was employed by a "manufacturing chemist", possibly at the works in Birchencliffe. In 1911 he seems to have done similar work for a woollen manufacturer.

By 1901 Wilfred, who had attended Oakes Council School was, at age 13, a "baker's errand boy" which probably meant going each day down to Lindley village centre. But this was only a boy's job; by 1911 he was a woollen weaver at Martin's Wellington Mill, on Plover Road.

An active member of the community, Wilfred was member of Salendine Nook Baptist Church, Paddock Cricket Club and treasurer on Lindley Conservative Club on Holly Bank Road.

Wilfred’s brother Herbert, five years his junior, was also a weaver but their sister Florence, at 13, was described as a "Fancy Leather Worker".

The house they lived at in 1911 was number 82 Cowrakes Road and with only four rooms was not large although typical of many of the Lindley homes. The fact that the Baileys had lost one child in infancy out of four born was also not uncommon.

Wilfred enlisted in the army in May 1916, possibly after registering under the Derby Scheme at the end of 1915 like many local men. He first served in the Manchester Regiment, with the Service No. 5794.

On 24 July 1917, at the Thorncliffe Street United Methodist Chapel in the heart of Lindley, Wilfred married by licence, Lucy Hepworth the daughter of a stone mason who lived at 17 Burn Road, Birchencliffe. Lucy was a weaver; for his part, Wilfred describes himself as a "private in the Durham Light Infantry."

The date and circumstances of the wedding — under licence, after Wilfred had transferred into the D.L.I. — suggest he had not yet been to the front and was about to leave for Belgium; the 13th Battalion of the D.L.I. went to France in August 1915. Wilfred would have been sent out as a replacement.

The Battalion, part of the 23rd Division, was in action in the Ypres area of Belgium and involved in the various battles of Passchendaele. Wilfred died on a grey, damp day in October 1917, at Polygon Wood. He was 30 years old and it was just three months after his wedding.

Wilfred is remembered in the grounds of his parish church at Birchencliffe and at Salendine Nook Baptist Church, of which he was a member. There is no evidence that Wilfred and Lucy had any children. Herbert Bailey also served and fortunately survived.

Huddersfield's Roll of Honour: 1914-1922

The following extract is from Huddersfield's Roll of Honour: 1914-1922 (2014) by J. Margaret Stansfield:

BAILEY, WILFRED. Private. No 52856. 13th Battalion Durham Light Infantry. Formerly No 5794 Manchester Regiment. Born Hill Top, Lindley 5.8.1887. Son of Charles Henry Bailey, 82 Cowrakes Road, Lindley. Educated at Oakes Council School. Employed at Messrs Martin, Sons and Company, Limited, Wellington Mills, Lindley, as a cloth weaver. Married. Lived at 17 Burn Road, Birchencliffe. Attended Salendine Nook Baptist Chapel. Was a member of Paddock Cricket Club and also treasurer for the Lindley Conservative Club. Enlisted May 1916. Killed in action at Cameron House, Polygon Wood, Belgium, 20.10.1917, 30 years. Commemorated on the TYNE COT MEMORIAL TO THE MISSING.
ROH:- Salendine Nook Baptist Church; St. Philip's Church, Birchencliffe.

Commonwealth War Graves Commission