Born in 1879 at Woodford, son of Frederick (Domestic Gardener) and Matilda Bailey. In 1891 James is a Scholar with his family at 1 Radleys Lane, South Woodford. In 1901 James is a Bakers Cart Hand, with his family at 1 Caroline Cottages Radleys Lane, South Woodford. His whereabouts are unclear from the 1911 Census. Initially he was a Private in the Army Service Corps and arrived in France on 26th August 1914, suggesting he was a regular or Territorial soldier. At length he found himself in the Northumberland Fusiliers.
The 12/13 Battalion was part of 62 Brigade which was engaged in Battle of the Lys, following the launch of Operation Georgette, part of the German Spring Offensive. During mid April there were two sub battles fought - the Battle of Messines, 10/11th April 1918, and the Battle of Kemmel on 17/19th April 1918.
On 10/4 the Battalion moved to fill a gap in the line opposite Wytschaete and endured heavy shelling before resisting a ground attack during the evening. 80 Other Ranks became casualties.
During the afternoon of 15th April they relieved 2 Lincolnshire in the line at Vierstraat - Kemmel. Next day they came under heavy bombardment followed by an enemy ground attack under cover of mist. The right flank was turned, and so a new defensive flank formed on high ground near Black Cot. The Germans had gained ground, but not broken through. The cost in casualties to the Northumberlands included the Commanding Officer, several officers and 320 Other Ranks. On 17th April they remained in this defensive position.
It is not recorded when James Bailey was wounded, but a good possibility would be on 16th April when some ground was lost and many casualties incurred. We do know from German documentation that he was captured and died from his wounds in Courtrai, which had been under occupation since early in the war. He was originally buried by German Forces in the German Extension to St Jan Cemetery at Courtrai, his coffin bearing plaque number 1813.
Following the Armistice he was relocated to the British Plot on the south west section of the cemetery.
Research by Adrian Lee, Local Historian