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William Henry Bayles was born 22 August 1888 at South Shields. He was a member of Bede College from 1907-1909, and by 1911, aged 22, he was a certificated Assistant Teacher at Dean Bank Council elementary school in Spennymoor, lodging at 25 Carlton Terrace. He enlisted at Durham, joining 1/8th Battalion of the Durham Light Infantry as a Private. Singing was among his talents: he is reported in The Bede magazine as having sung ‘Wrap me up in my P.S-ing Jacket’ at the B Company concert at Ravensworth Park Camp in October 1914. He went to France with the battalion on 19 April 1915. He is recorded as having attained the rank of Lance Corporal by the date of his death, when he was wounded and captured during the fighting on the Gravenstafel Ridge during the Second Battle of Ypres. A contemporary of his at Bede College, William Arnett, spotted him the next day on a stretcher shot three times in the abdomen, and saw him again in the operating theatre of the German hospital. His death occurred on 27 April 1915, and he was buried initially in Oostnieuwkerke churchyard, but after the war his body was moved by the British and buried at Cement House Cemetery near Langemark-Poelkapelle in Belgium. As a County Council employee Bayles’s sacrifice is honoured on the memorial at Durham County Hall, and also on the Bede College 1914-1918 Cross, Plaque, and Roll of Honour.
25 Carlton Terrace, Spennymoor, Co. Durham
Cement House Cemetery, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium
Durham County Hall war memorial
Bede College 1914-1918 Cross, Plaque, and Roll of Honour
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Clive Bowery; David Butler; Joyce Malcolm
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