Jessie Annie Bailey was born Jessie Anne Hanford, in Shepshed, Leicestershire, England in 1869, the daughter of Charles and Elizabeth Hanford of 12 Loughboro Road, Shepshed, Leicestershire. Jessie was a school teacher. In 1901, she married Walter George Bailey, who was a widower, and the family had lived at Finney Hill, Ashby Road, Sheepshed, Leicestershire. The couple had one daughter, Ivy, who was born in late 1900, a short time before Walter and Jessie married!
In 1912, the family immigrated to Canada and settled at Fauquiers's Landing, Lower Arrow Lake, British Columbia, where Walter Bailey became a rancher. In the spring of 1915, however, they decided to leave Canada and return to Leicestershire permanently. As a result, they booked second cabin travel on the Lusitania which was scheduled to sail from New York to Liverpool at 10.00 a.m. on 1st May 1915.
Having begun their journey from Needles, British Columbia, at the end of April they arrived at the Cunard berth at Pier 54 in New York harbour in time for the sailing, only to have to wait until the early afternoon for her departure. This was because she had to take on board passengers, crew and cargo from the Anchor Liner the Cameronia
which the British Admiralty had requisitioned as a troop ship at the end of April.
Six days out of New York on the afternoon of 7th May, and within sight of the coast of southern Ireland, the
Lusitania was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U-20. At that time, she was only hours away from her Liverpool destination. Jessie Bailey and her husband and daughter were all killed as a result of this action. She was aged 45 years.
Her brother, Mr. Charles Hanford had left Sheepshed for Liverpool, on the morning of Friday 7th May to meet the family on the liner’s scheduled arrival there, on the Saturday morning. His arrival there must have coincided with the news of the liner’s sinking and as none of their bodies was ever recovered from the sea and identified afterwards, none has a known grave.
Administration of Jessie Bailey's will was granted jointly to her brother Charles Benjamin Hanford, who was a builder, Florence Cotton, described as wife of William Cotton and Mary Ann Hull, described as wife of Ernest Edwin Hull in London on 11th December 1915. Florence Cotton and Mary Ann Hull were Jessie Bailey’s sisters. Her effects amounted to £132-7s-5d, (£132.37p).
Charles Hanford later lodged a claim in Canada for compensation for the loss of the personal effects of the Bailey family, but this was unsuccessful.
Register of Births, Marriages and Deaths, 1871 Census of England & Wales, 1881 Census of England & Wales, 1891 Census of England & Wales, 1901 Census of England & Wales, 1911 Census of England & Wales, Canadian Passenger Lists 1865 – 1935, Cunard Records, Jess Jenkins, Leicester Daily Mercury, Probate Records, Deaths at Sea 1871 – 1968, PRO BT 100/345, UniLiv D92/2/340, Canadian Claims Case No. 889, Graham Maddocks, Geoff Whitfield, Michael Poirier, Jim Kalafus, Cliff Barry, Paul Latimer, Norman Gray.
Copyright © Peter Kelly