180 BAILEY, Clyffe Richard John Goward

Searching for a Portrait
Searching for a Portrait

180  Clyffe Richard John Goward Bailey

180 Clyffe Richard John Goward Bailey – was born in Waratah, Tasmania on the 13th May 1893, the only son to Richard Bailey and Mary Ann Bailey (nee Taylor) . Clyffe also had two sisters Helen and Constance.  When he enlisted he was 21 yrs old and declared he was a boundary rider and had spent some time working in Victoria and 2 years with the ‘Victorian rifles’.
Originally holding the rank of driver, Clyffe served at Gallipoli from the 25th June. Clyffe like so many soldiers during this period at Gallipoli had to endure the harsh living conditions and after two months in the field suffering from a severe body rash and a septic arm, was transferred to Mudros then on to Malta where he was also diagnosed as having Paratyphoid. His condition obviously showing no signs of improving , he was again transferred sick to London at Epsom Hospital.
His sister Helen who was also his N.O.K , may have had some personal connection to the Hon. Frank Anstey, a Member of the Australian Parliament as he personally wrote a letter to the war records office demanding clarification of Clyffe’s circumstatnces.


Frank Anstey was one of the few Labor members who opposed the war from the start, and was for a time highly unpopular as a result, but by 1917 anti war sentiment was growing and Anstey became one of the leaders of the movement against conscription for the war. Perhaps he saw this as an opportunity for him to push his anti war campaign. We will never know the full story behind this unusual connection.

In June 1916 Clyffe returned to the 1st FCE in France. His septic sores continued throughout his service at the western front but as soon as his condition improved he returned to the field.

“ In April 1918 the 1st FCE had left Amiens and were disentrained at Hondeghem near Hazebrouck and marched to Borre. The Germans had broken through the Portuguese sector and the 1st Division had been ordered back to stop the enemy’s further advance and which the company duly accomplished.” – source :- A Short Account of the Formation of the 1st FCE- 1914 – 1918

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On the 13th April they were billeted at Pradelles and on the 17th April “they were shelled out of their billets.” Around this same time Clyffe is wounded, a shell wound causing severe injuries to his right leg which is later amputated.  His fellow engineers 146 Edward Franz Hubert Frings and 145 Frank Harold Johnson  are badly wounded also. A few days later original 106 Frank Rochester is killed in Strazeele.

Postcard of Strazeele ruins
Postcard of Strazeele ruins

Clyffe returned to Australia on the ‘HMAT Wiltshire’ in early October 1918 and in 1919 Clyffe married Dora Greta Parkman Sheppard in Taree and life together was a success, with Clyffe opening a hairdressing saloon. Clyffe and Greta, as she was known had two son’s , Frank and Richard.
Unfortunately Clyffe’s health must have taken a serious downturn as he passed away at the age of only 31 and received a military funeral.

 

Story Copyright©VanceKelly2015

Sources: NLA, NAA, AWM, Austcimindex

Notes:

Cliffs medals were sold on Medals Gone Missing – hopefully to family members. Date of sale: 20 November 2014
Australian 1914 – 1918 War Medal & Victory Medal awarded to 180 DVR. C.G. Bailey, Service number 180 

 Notation on his war record shows that ” he was remustered as a sapper 26th June 1915 but this entry should be deleted and soldier retains rank of driver from date of embarkation 18.18.1914.”

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