CWG: Private Charles Baily

Charles Baily

Charles Baily was born in Frome, Somerset, in March 1879; he was the middle of three children to Charles and Sarah Baily. Charles Sr was a plasterer, and the family were raised in a small cottage to the south of the town centre.

When Charles Jr lest school, he found work as a carpenter and, on 17th March 1902, he married local woman Fanny Howell. Her father was a carter and she had not long returned from South Wales, where she had found employment as a parlour maid. Charles and Fanny set up home just three doors down from his parents, and went on to have five children.

War was coming to Europe, but the details of most of Charles’ military service are lost. He enlisted as a Private in the Somerset Light Infantry, and was assigned to B Company of the 1st/4th Battalion. The troop was sent to Bombay in the autumn of 1914; it then moved to Basra in the spring of 1916, remaining in Mesopotamia for the remainder of the conflict. Sadly, it’s not possible to know how much of this travel Private Baily undertook himself.

Charles survived the war, and was demobbed soon after the Armistice. He returned home, but his time back with his family was to be short: Private Baily died at home through causes lost to time on 2nd July 1919. He was 40 years old.

Charles Baily was laid to rest in the graveyard of Holy Trinity Church in his home town of Frome.


One sad aside to the story is that Charles and Fanny’s oldest child, daughter Frances Baily, had passed away in the summer of 1917. The cause of her passing is also lost to history, but she was just 16 years old when she died.


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