CWG: Engine Room Artificer Newman Bailey

Engine Room Artificer 4th Class Newman Bailey

Newman Joynt Bailey was born on 1st August 1887, the eldest of five children to Newman Bailey and his wife Anna (née Joynt). Newman Sr worked as a switchman and signalman for Great Western Railway and had been born in Bath. He married Anna (whose maiden name was Joynt, and who had been born in Ireland) in 1885 and, after a short stint living across the county border in Devon – where Newman Jr was born – he settled his young family in Taunton.

When Newman Jr left school, he became an office boy, but he soon found himself following in his father’s footsteps. He became a fitter for the railways and, by 1910, was living with spitting distance of the GWR depot in the town.

It was here, in William Street, that he set up home with his new wife, Lily Gill, who he had married on 31t July 1910. Lily was the daughter of a Taunton lamplighter, and, to help make ends meet, worked as an ironer at the town’s collar factory.

War was on the way, and in July 1915, Newman enlisted in the Royal Navy. After initial training aboard Vivid II, the shore establishment in Devonport, he was deployed on HMS Blake as an Engine Room Artificer.

HMS Blake was an auxiliary ship designed to provide maintenance support to a flotilla of destroyers or other small warships. With his experience with steam engines at GWR, his knowledge of mechanics would have made him ideally suited to this type of role.

While he survived the war, Artificer Bailey was to be struck down with something much closer to home. In the immediate post-war period, the Spanish Flu pandemic swept the globe, and Newman was to fall victim to it. Admitted to the Royal Naval Hospital in South Queensferry, near Edinburgh, he passed away from the lung condition on 23rd November 1918. He was just 32 years old.

Brought back home, Newman Joynt Bailey was laid to rest in St James Cemetery in his home town of Taunton.


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