Private 8451 Robin Bailey – Sickness on the Somme

Robin Bailey has a comprehensive Service Record that survived the Luftwaffe bombing to provide a snapshot of History for a representative of the 17th Battalion.
Robin was an apprentice tailor from Blackburn when he enlisted on 3rd September 1914. This was a very different trade for a recruit in the Clerks & Warehousemans’ Battalion.  See Formation of Manchester Pals. Robin was a clearly suited to Military life, being prompted Lance Corporal on 19/9/1914 and Corporal 26/11/1914. He chose to revert to Private in July 1915.
Robin left Southampton for Le Havre with the Transport Section on 7/11/1915 Arrival and served in all of the Somme assaults of 1916. He came through the battles unscathed, but his health suffered with Pyrexia in November 1916, Typhoid in January 1917 and Entric Fever later that year. Having been evacuated Home on HS Formosia, Robin was treated in various Hospitals and returned to duty in France in June 1917. He had been on Leave in England during the German Spring Offensive in March 1918 and returned to Etaples to serve in the 30th Division Transport Section. The 17th Battalion was dissolved in July 1918 and Robin served with 1/6th from 3/9/1918 and possibly 1/7th Battalions. He returned Home on 12/1/1919 and was demobilised fir for duty on 8/2/1918.

There is an hypothesis that few men came through hostilities unscathed.  Most men solely have medal records with very limited information.  Robin Bailey’s Medal Index Card just specifies his discharge fit for duty in1919.  This clearly omits significant health problems during his time on the Somme and supports the hypothesis for other men who were fit at the end of their service.

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