Archibald Douglas Bailey was a brave and skilled soldier who received a distinguished conduct medal for his efforts.
Honour roll location: Pillar 4A
Feature story location: Pillar 5D
Archibald was the son of Robert Charles and Emma Harriett Bailey (nee Atley). He was born in Pompapiel. His enlistment records state that at 28 years old, he was a carpenter, married to Jessie Bailey (nee Jackman) and living at Tandara. He was tall, standing at 6 foot (183 cm) and was described as having a dark complexion, brown eyes and black hair.
Jessie and Archibald had only been married four years when he enlisted. They had a son named Archibald Douglas Bailey, born in 1911.
After enlisting on the 22nd of July, 1915, Archibald embarked from Melbourne aboard the RMS Moldavia on the 5th of October, 1915. He was soon transferred to the 7th Battalion of the AIF and began his training in Serapeum, Egypt.
On the 31st of March, 1916 he arrived at Marseilles, ready to fight. On the 21st of July, 1916, Archibald was promoted to Lance Corporal. Just days later, he was wounded in action on the 25th of July, 1916 and was admitted to a field hospital at Rouen with gunshot wounds to his face and right arm. As part of his recovery, he spent some time in England before returning to France aboard the Golden Eagle on the 11th of December, 1916.
In January, 1917 Archibald was promoted again, this time to the rank of Corporal. Just over a month later, on the 25th of February, he received a gunshot wound to his right leg. He spent months recovering in England again, before returning to the front another time in July, 1917. It was not long before he was wounded again, on the 20th of September, this time with a gunshot wound to the left thigh. After recovering in England, he rejoined his unit on the 30th of November, 1917.
Although his dedication came with some injuries and setbacks, Archibald was recognised for his efforts and appointed Lance Sergeant in January, 1918 before being promoted to the rank of sergeant in June, 1918.
On the 9th of August, 1918, Archibald was again wounded by gunfire. This time, he sustained an injury to his left arm. He had now been hit on each arm and leg at some point during the war. For his efforts, Archibald was recommended for a distinguished conduct medal, which he was awarded later in 1919.
The recommendation says:
“On 9/8/18 during the attack on enemy positions between Vauvillers and Lihon, Sgt. Bailey with Lieut. Ross displayed great courage and skill in capturing t2 enemy mchine (sic) guns and crews. These enemy machine guns were causing heavy casualties to our advancing troops and seriously hampering the advance. The fine work of Sgt. Bailey was of great value in the ultimate success of the attack. Sgt. Bailey, on Lieut. Ross becoming a casualty, took charge of the platoon and with great skill and judgement brought it through successfully to the objective. His devotion to duty and disregard of danger were a great inspiration to his men in a very heavy and trying advance.”
Archibald again recovered in England and rested on furlough. Before he could return to the battlefront, Germany had officially surrendered and signed the Armistice Treaty. He returned to Melbourne and his wife Jessie on the 27th of February, 1919.
Archibald died on the 21st of September, 1968 in Heidelberg, Victoria, aged 81. His sacrifice is remembered on the Serpentine and Pompapiel North Honour Rolls.
His freedom was bought with difficulty, but he bravely fought for it. His records note that he was an invalid on his return to Australia. He would bear the pain and scars of his service for the remainder of his days.
- Distinguished Conduct Medal [image]. Australian War Memorial.
- First World War Embarkation Roll: Archibald Douglas Bailey, Australian War Memorial.
- Honours and Awards (Recommendation): Archibald Douglas Bailey, Australian War Memorial.
- Honours and Awards: Archibald Douglas Bailey, Australian War Memorial.
- ‘SERAPEUM, EGYPT. C. 1916. AUSTRALIAN SOLDIERS CONSTRUCTING A DEFENSIVE TRENCH SYSTEM CLOSE TO THE SUEZ CANAL.’ [image], Australian War Memorial.
- ‘Wounded Soldiers’, Bendigonian, Thursday 1st November, 1917, page 12.