Harry Norman Bailey was born in 1895 at Chigwell. He was the son of postman Harry and Charlotte L. Bailey. Harry had two brothers and two sisters. In 1901, Harry was living with his family at Hainault Road, Chigwell. In 1911, Harry worked as a telegram messenger, and lived with his parents and younger brother Frederick at 3 Texas Villas, Turpin’s Lane, Woodford Bridge.
Just short of his 16th birthday, Harry joined the Royal Navy on 6th June 1911 as a Boy Seaman at HMS Impregnable. In 1913, he re-enlisted for twelve years, and on 9th April 1914 was allocated to the Torpedo boat HMS Kestrel at Chatham in Kent. When war broke out, Kestrel was moved from Chatham to Sheerness and the more open waters of the River Thames.
On 30th November 1914, Kestrel was sailing in the wider Thames Estuary area having departed from Sheerness on 27th November 1914. Harry was hard at work cleaning and maintaining forward torpedo tubes when at about 07:30 he fell overboard. A search was immediately begun, but called off at 08:00 when no trace of him was found. His survival chances had not been helped by the heavy weatherproof clothing that he wore. Following his loss the ship made for Felixstowe, docking at about 09:30. Harry Norman is recorded as being ‘Killed on Active Service’ on 30th November 1914. Harry was the first of the three Bailey brothers to die in the war.
Research by Adrian Lee and Redbridge Museum
Commonwealth War Graves Commission