Lieutenant Willie Rhodes Bailey

Lieutenant Willie Rhodes Bailey

Death 19 Jan 1918 (aged 23–24)
Stockbridge, Test Valley Borough, Hampshire, England
Burial Newton-le-Willows, Metropolitan Borough of St Helens, Merseyside, England
Plot CE, 3572
Memorial ID 17083739 · View Source
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Second Lieutenant Willie Rhodes Bailey of the Royal Flying Corps. He was the son of James and Alice Bailey and was 24 years old at the time of his death.

The following information and pictures on 2nd Lieutenant Bailey is used by permission of the Newton-le-Willows and Earlestown War Memorial website at

Second Lieutenant Willie Bailey, whose name is given by "Officers Died in The Great War" as Wilson, was the son of James and Alice Bailey of 84, Athol Street, Earlestown. He was born in Sheffield but attended the Wesleyan Day School when his parents lived in Legh Street. He was employed at the Vulcan Foundry as a crane driver, and took keenly to the Boy Scout movement under the direction of Scout master Huxley, and attended the great Scout Demonstration at Birmingham at which Col. R. S. Baden Powell was present.

About a year before the War, on October 7th 1913, Willie joined the Flying Service, and was promoted to Corporal and then Sergeant. He spent two years in France. On September 29th 1917, he got his discharge to prepare for a commission, and subsequently became Second Lieutenant.

On Saturday 19th January, 1918, a flying accident occurred at a South coast aerodrome which resulted in the death of three officers of the Royal Flying Corps. The obituary in the "Newton and Earlestown Guardian" of the following Friday is confusing regarding the details. Initially, it states that "two machines collided in the air and both crashed to the ground. A strong wind was blowing and the atmosphere was rather hazy."

Later it quotes a letter from Captain P. A. O. Leask of the No. 92 Squadron who said that Willie "was flying very low at the time of the accident. He had just done a "roll" when the machine commenced to spin and he had not height enough to get it out before striking the ground."

Second Lieut. Bailey was connected with St John's Church, where he was confirmed. He was buried a week after his death in Newton-in-Makerfield Cemetery, as the Newton-le-Willows Cemetery was then called.

Second Lieut. Bailey was one of three Royal Flying Corps pilots killed in the flying accident; the others were:

Lieutenant Lachlan John Macdonald
Lieutenant Charlie Edgar Rowley

  • Created by: Dennis Alan Deel
  • Added: 19 Dec 2006
  • Find a Grave Memorial 17083739
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  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Lieutenant Willie Rhodes Bailey (1894–19 Jan 1918), Find a Grave Memorial no. 17083739, citing Newton-le-Willows Cemetery, Newton-le-Willows, Metropolitan Borough of St Helens, Merseyside, England ; Maintained by Dennis Alan Deel (contributor 46590424) .