25th County of London Cyclist Battalion
The London Regiment

 Harold BAILEY

Harold Bailey (1893-1984) Service numbers 740372 (Army) 408768 (RAF)

My father, Harold Bailey, was born in Derby in 1st October 1893. Our ancestors were weavers in Dewsbury Yorkshire and Harold's great grandfather Samuel Snr moved to Derby to work in the silk industry. Harold's father Samuel Jnr was a general engineer and, after the death of Samuel Snr in 1888, Samuel Jnr's family moved to Battersea, shown in the 1901 census as living at 117 Battersea Bridge Road. Harold had 4 brothers and 3 sisters and, in the 1911 census, they are shown as living at 16 Peverel Street Battersea, where 17 year old Harold worked as a "wick maker" (presumably at Prices candle factory - approximately 1 mile away, in York Road). He probably welcomed the opportunity of joining the 25th London, because I suspect that his job was beginning to get on his wick by then !

Until I get more information, I am guessing that he joined up in 1914 or 1915 and I know, from the photos, that he was posted, at first, to Norfolk (I think at Caister). He then went overseas to India, travelling "up country" (there are postcards and photos of Bangalore and Lahore and on the North West frontier) In 1918 he transferred to (what was by then) the RAF in Lahore, probably because he seems to have inherited his father's engineering genes.

By then, his home address was at 7 Oxberry Ave SW6 - just across the Thames. After demob, he married his first wife, Gertrude Lowe, in Carlisle in 1922. They ultimately moved to Tilbury in Essex, where he opened a garage, selling petrol and doing bike and car repairs and they had three children. He separated from his first wife and married my mother Kathleen in 1940 (25 years his junior -a toygirl). The advent of war put an end to the garage business as petrol sales were severely restricted. Harold, with his wife, was sent to Liverpool to work as an engineer at Napiers aircraft factory, working on the Typhoon aircraft engines. Whilst there, harold served in the Home Guard. My sister and I were born in 1943 and 1944. After the war, we moved back to Grays in Essex and Harold lived a long and happy life, working as a motor fitter and ultimately passing away on the 26th July 1984.

[by his son Les Bailey]

Harold's photos of the 1/25th in East Anglia & India


Harold is in the side car.

Harold - Home Guard WW2.

Inspection - England prior to going to India. Harold on right.

Harold moved to Tilbury where he opened a bike shop / garage in Dock road, Tilbury.
[Photo courtesy of Jill Crawley]

He also ran a taxi service for the sailors arriving at the docks and wanting to go into London.
[Photo courtesy of Jill Crawley]

Harold on wall on right at Napiers WW2, "meeting" King George VI.

[Photos courtesy of Les Bailey]


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