John was born in 1890 in Mobberley, the son of John and Charlotte Johanna Bailey of Barnshaw Cottage, Mobberley. John is a photographic student.
He enlisted in the army, becoming Private no. 27397 in the South Lancashire Regiment before transferring to the 1st Battalion of the Royal Inniskillings Regiment, becoming Private no. 49599.
He went to France sometime after 1915.
He was killed in action on the 15th October 1918.
On that fateful day:
The war diary states:
This action commenced on the 14th October 1918 they had also been in heavy fighting at the beginning of the month too.
At 0900 the 2nd Battn. Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers attacked GULLEGHEM and the 1st Battn. moved forward behind the 9th Battn.
On reaching the line G.22 Central the 9th Battn. passed through the 2nd Battn. Royal Inniskillings Fusiliers and took HEULE. The 1st Battn moving up in support to them to G.22 Central reaching this position at 11.00. Headquarters established at XXXX
Information received form O.C. 9th Battn. Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers that his Battn. had captured HEULE and was in position on the railway to the east of it and in touch with the 29th on the left but his right flank was in the air. It was then discovered that the Brigade on the right was held up on the line. The O.C. 1st Inniskilling Fusiliers ordered and D Companies men to cover the flank. Company to take up position along the bank of the HEULEBEKE . Company was ordered to move alongside of the GULLEGHEM HEULE Road and attack the farms and occupy them.
The advance to the farms was carried out under heavy Machine Gun fire though no casualties occurred. While these movement were being carried out a message was received from the Brigade on the right that they were about to attack with artillery support.
The artillery was stopped in time and the Brigade on the right moved forward at the same time as Company and passed them.
At 15.45 orders were received that the 29th Division were about to advance on the left and that the 103rd Brigade would capture the crossing on the LYS within the Divisional boundary and that the 1st Batt, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers were to send forward two Companies at 1500 to clear the triangle formed by the HEULEBEEKE railway and the north Divisional boundary, keeping touch with the 29th Division and 108th Brigade. The O.C. 1st Battn. Royal Inniskillin Fusiliers immediately ordered C & D; Companies forward to do this but at 16.30 a cancelling order was received and these Companies were stopped and sent back to their original positions. As the situation on the right flank was now cleared by the advance of the 2nd Royal Irish Rifles. B Company was withdrawn in close support to the 9th Battn Royal Inn. Fusiliers. At 16.40 headquarters were moved to be in close touch with the 9th Battn.
At 17.40 further orders were received that the area previously ordered was to be cleared by the 1st The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.
C & D Companies were ordered forward to do this. The Company Commanders of these two Companies went forward to make a personal reconnaissance and got in touch with the 29th Division who were advancing on the left and with the 2nd Royal Irish Rifles on the right who had come up to their line of the railway.
They advanced with these Companies and secured the line of the road, as it was reported that the 29th Division had reached the LYS. The O.C. 1st Battn. The Royal Innis. Fusiliers after reporting the situation ordered the success to be exploited and patrols were pushed out which reached the LYS. The bridge was blown up by the enemy just before the patrol reached the river.
At about 23.00 orders were received that all troops must be withdrawn behind the railway by 0500 as the 108th Brigade were to advance from there with a barrage at 05.50 and seize the crossing of the LYS. Communication was extremely difficult and the information that the Battalion was already patrols as far as the LYS could not be sent to the Brigade in time to stop this attack. C & Companies had therefore to be withdrawn behind the railway which was held by the 9th Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.
These two Companies were then billeted in the cellars in HEULE.
The Battalion was returned to billets on the 16th.
Their casualties for this action were 1 officer killed, 1 wounded. 25 O.R killed 116 wounded.
Researched and compiled by Tony Davies