Frederick, or Frederic, Richard 'Fred' Bailey, was born in Bridgwater, Gloucestershire, England, on the 2nd April 1872, the son of Charles James Bailey, and his wife, Maria Bryans. His mother’s maiden name was Maltby, and her marriage to Charles Bailey is thought to have been her second marriage. According to census records, Charles James Bailey married a woman named ‘Annie’ around 1881; however, Fred was living with his mother, his siblings – Charles, born in 1871, and Jessie, born in 1876, and his half-brothers – John W. and William Bryans, in Wembdon, Somerset, at that time, which would indicate that either his parents had divorced, or his father had deserted the family, and although not married to ‘Annie’, lived with her as husband and wife.
His father, who was an accountant, was originally from London, and lived at various times in and around Bristol, and also for a time in Manchester. Charles Bailey and, Annie, had four children; however by 1911, only two were alive.
In the 1890’s Fred’s father began to manufacture bicycles, and later became a dealer in bicycles and mail carts. In 1915, the family home was at 9. Richmond Terrace, Clifton, Bristol.
For a number of years, Fred was employed in a tailor shop as a sales assistant in Manchester, Lancashire, but then in late 1912, he decided to travel to New Jersey in the United States of America, to join his half-sister, Agnes Maud Veals, and her husband, Albert Edward Veals, who had settled in New Jersey earlier in 1912. Thus, on the 14th November 1912, he boarded the
S.S. Adriatic at Liverpool and arrived in New York City eight days later.
By early 1915 he was living at 37, Ward Street, East Orange, Newark, New Jersey, U.S.A. with his half-sister and her husband, Albert Veals, and Albert's brother Nelson Veals. However, Albert and Agnes decided to return to Bristol because Albert could not stand the climate in summer in New Jersey and Fred decided to travel with them.
As a consequence, they all booked as third class passengers on what proved to be the
Lusitania's final voyage and at the time that the ship was sunk, Fred was separated from the others.
Although Albert and Agnes Veals both managed to get into a lifeboat, Fred was not so lucky and as the ship began to keel over in the water, he slid down her port side into the sea.
When the liner sank, he was sucked down beneath the sea with her and when he surfaced, he had to swim around in the water for a while before he managed to sight an overturned lifeboat. Having climbed on top of it, he was in the sea for over three hours before he was finally picked up by a mine sweeper.
He was eventually landed at Queenstown and put up in a local hotel, where, by sheer coincidence, he was re-united with Albert and Agnes Veals! All three of them then made their way together to Bristol, arriving there on Sunday 9th May 1915.
Nothing more is known about Fred Bailey, except that in 1927, he married Mildred Ross Moxley in Bristol. They did not have any children, and by this time ’Fred’ was known as ‘Dick’, a shortening of his second forename!
Frederick Richard Bailey died in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, on the 26th November 1950, aged 78 years. At the time of his death, his residence was Park View, West Town, near Bristol. He left his estate of £1,005 to his widow.
Register of Births, Marriages and Deaths, 1871 Census of England & Wales, 1881 Census of England & Wales, 1901 Census of England & Wales, 1911 Census of England & Wales, New York Passenger Lists 1820 – 1957, PRO BT 100/345, Bath and Wilts Chronicle and Herald, Cunard Records, Newark Evening Star, Orange Advertiser, Western Daily Press, Probate Records, Ann Milne, Graham Maddocks, Geoff Whitfield, Michael Poirier, Jim Kalafus, Cliff Barry, Paul Latimer, Norman Gray.
Copyright © Peter Kelly