No. 5376, 379th Siege Battery Royal Garrison Artillery
Died of wounds on Tuesday 25 September 1917 (aged 36)
Gaza War Cemetery, Israel (Grave XXIV. G. 9)
Journey of Remembering Belfast Book of Honour
Stationery, Printing and Allied Trades Memorial
in the North Aisle of St Anne’s Cathedral Belfast
In the Soldiers Died in the Great War 1914 – 1919 database it is recorded that Sergeant Robert Bailey (No. 5376) was born in Holywood and enlisted in Londonderry.
This information about his place of birth is not corroborated by family and other records.
Robert Bailey was born on 15 June 1881 in the townland of Glenroe, Aughnacloy, Co Tyrone and he was baptised on 13 June 1886 in Aughnacloy Presbyterian Church.
Robert Bailey was a son of Thomas and Sarah Bailey (nee Clarke).
Robert Bailey and Annie McCormick were married on 24 April 1905 in Albertbridge Road Congregational Church Belfast. Robert Bailey, a frame maker from 17 Cherryville Street, Belfast was a son of Thomas Bailey, an agent. Annie McCormick from 10 Lovatt Street, Belfast was a daughter of Robert McCormick, a tailor, deceased.
Robert and Annie Bailey had at least two children:
Winnifred Mary (born 3 May 1906 at 70 Mount Street, Belfast)
Elizabeth (born 21 February 1908 at 37 Well Street, Belfast)
In civilian life Robert Bailey worked for the printing company W. and G. Baird Ltd.
Commonwealth War Graves Commission Debt of Honour records show that Robert Bailey served in the South African War.
Service records show that he enlisted in the Royal Garrison Artillery (No. 5242) on 14 September 1909 but bought himself out 61 days later on 13 November 1909 at a cost of £3. His reason for doing so is not known.
In his attestation papers he is described as a frame-maker and mount cutter for a picture framer and his age is stated to be 23 years 3 months. He was in fact exactly five years older than that.
He also declared that he was not married and had no relatives.
In 1911 Annie Bailey and her two children, Winnifred and Elizabeth, were living with Annie’s widowed mother Maria at 66 Mount Street, Belfast.
Annie was working as a seamstress.
In 1912 they moved to 13 St Kilda Street, Ravenhill Road, Belfast.
Robert Bailey enlisted again and during the Great War he served with the Royal Garrison Artillery in the Egyptian Expeditionary Force.
Sergeant Robert Bailey (No. 5376) died of wounds on 25 September 1917 and Second Lieutenant J. Pickwell wrote to Annie Bailie to express his condolences. In the letter he outlined the circumstances of Robert’s death:
‘He was wounded badly on the afternoon of the 25th along with his Section Commander and four other gunners. Everything possible was done for him and he was hurried off to the field dressing station straight away but nothing further could be done. He passed away at about a quarter to seven the same evening and, owing to injections, his death was quite peaceful. He regained consciousness before he died and his last words were of you and the children. He was buried the following day in a little cemetery nearby’.
Sergeant Robert Bailey (No. 5376) was buried in Gaza War Cemetery, Israel and he is commemorated in the Journey of Remembering Belfast Book of Honour and on the Stationery, Printing and Allied Trades Memorial in the North Aisle of St Anne’s Church of Ireland Cathedral Belfast.