Lance Corporal Leslie Alfred Bailey, 5030, 8th Battalion AIF
Born 1st June 1894, the son of Richard Henry and Sarah Frances Bailey, 71 Clarke Street East, Prahan.
He attended State School and obtained a Merit Certificate.
1st July 1913. He passed his Lieutenant exam with the 49th Infantry Battalion, Victoria Citizen force. (Whilst in the Citizen force he completed just over 3 years; 12 months has a Sergeant and Colour Sergeant, 2 years as a 2nd Lieutenant, 1 month as a Lieutenant.).
26th July 1915 He enlisted at Prahan, aged 21, he was employed as a clerk.
He was 5’ 6” in height, weighed 9 stone, and had Brown eyes and black hair.
11th August 1915 he was appointed to 20th Depot Battalion at Castlemaine.
6th March 1916 he was sent to Braodmeadows Melbourne with the 39th Battalion.
23rd March 1916 he was allocated to 16th Reinforcements, of the 8th Battalion.
1st April 1916 he left Australia aboard the “Suffolk”.
14th May 1916, He arrived in Suez for 2nd Training battalion.
28th May 1916 he left Egypt for France
4th June 1916 He arrived in Marsailles.
7th June 1916 he arrived for training at Etaples.
29th July 1916 he joined the 8th Battalion.
30th July 1916 he was promoted to Lance Corporal.
18th August 1916 killed in action by a shell, aged 22.
A letter dated 28th August 1919 States:
“On August 18th 1916 there was a raid by the Battalion on the German lines in front of Pozieres. The raid failed and about 20 failed to return that night.” (Sgt. P.J. Wilson. 8th Battalion Records).
The Australian Red Cross reports gives these details about his death:
“We were going across to the German trenches and Bailey was on my right. I saw a shell burst quite close to him and after the explosion I saw no trace of him. We made the attack and then retired over the same ground but I never saw him again. It is probable that he was blown to pieces by that shell.” (Pte, J.Hawkins 4796.)
“If this was L/Cpl. Bailey, so I think it is, I saw him killed on Aug. 18th. At Mouquet Farm in our communication trench by a H.E. shell which knocked over about six of us. He was killed instantly. I know nothing as to burial. I saw the above happen. He was 5ft 6ins in height: sickly-looking; dark, slight moustache and slim build.” (Pte. J.A.Watters 3997).
“He knew Bailey and Perraton (whose name he gave before it was read to him) and they were great friends, both being in A Company. They were both formerly officers in the Australian Citizen’s Force and gave up their commissions to come out to the A.I.F. The casualty was at Pozieres- the second stunt- and they were in the trenches for the first time having joined the Battalion on July 29th. Informant (a very intelligent witness) could not recall names, but clearly remembered several men saying that they saw Perraton and Bailey, who went over together blown up by the same shell in No Man’s Land.” (Pte G F Fletcher, No 3057)
“Pozieres. Bailey was blown and hit by a shell and Perraton was with him and must have been killed also. Bailey and Perraton were friends of mine. We came from the same place. Bailey’s people wrote to me and I made all the inquiry from the Battalion and one man told me he saw bailey killed and I wrote his people. I can’t remember who told me this.” (Pearce, 3893).
He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Villers Bretonneux War Memorial.
Source: Australian National Archives