Edmund Robert Charles Bailey was born on 7 March 1920 in Wokingham to Alice and Edmund Bailey.
In 1939 Sapper Bailey joined the Royal Engineers (Territorial Army), and then transferred to the 6th Field Squadron RE.
In 1942 he was posted to Ismalia and along with two others, Sappers Bardsley and Bengie, volunteered for The Parachute Regiment. The three men were posted to the 4th Parachute Squadron, Royal Engineers. Sapper Bailey was sent to the Middle East School of Parachute Training at Kabrit to qualify for his parachute wings.
In November 1942 the 4th Parachute Brigade landed in North Africa for Operation Torch. Sapper Bailey, in his squadron, carried out engineering work around the airstrips.
In 1943 the Squadron was deployed to Taranto, Italy, where it carried out an engineering role, supporting the infantry Battalions.
Sapper Bailey was then posted to England for a refresher course at RAF Ringway in 1944.
In September 1944 the Squadron was taken to Arnhem in C47 Douglas aircraft:
‘The noise of all the aircraft warming their engines and taking off was phenomenal – at least it took your mind off where you would be going and what reception one imagined we would receive on landing and would the parachute open alright. Also, one gets terribly hot in the plane with all the battle-order equipment and two smocks on in addition to the parachute harness around you. In addition, tension and fear, yes, fear, creeps into one’s constitution making you hot. Then the previous training reminds you to take control of yourself and your nerves.’ (Ted Bailey)
On the day after VE day, on 9 May 1945, Lance Sergeant Bailey flew into Stavanger, Norway with the 1st Airborne Division in order to secure airfields and oversee the German surrender.
In late July 1945, L/Sgt Bailey was posted to the 9th Airborne Squadron RE, and returned to England. L/Sgt Bailey was sent to the School of Military Engineering in Ripon, Yorkshire to attend No.10 Course of Mechanical Equipment in July 1945, returning to Bulford Barracks and the 9th Airborne Squadron RE at the end of the course.
In September 1945 Sergeant Bailey was in full charge of all squadron transport, and in November was posted to Palestine.
Sergeant Bailey was demobbed in March 1946, and returned to England from the Far East.
‘Ted’ Bailey was a member of the West Berkshire PRA, and died in 2011.
By Rebecca Blackburn with information supplied by Ted BaileyRead More