Like his father, John, Harry Bailey was stone mason and it is no surprise that when he enlisted, the army wanted to utilise his craft skills and assigned him to the Engineers.
He had been born in Macclesfield but the family had been living in the Edgeley area for some considerable time. John and Margaret Bailey had 8 children at the time of the 1901 Census - John (then 18), Harry (16), Edna (14), Colin (11), Valentine (9), Archie (7), Florence (4) and Maggie (2). All five brothers would serve with the Engineers during the War.
In the June quarter of 1906, Harry married Edith (or Esther) Shelmerdine at All Saints Church, Heaton Norris. They are thought to have set up home at 4 Rae Street in Edgeley and would have two sons together. His mother lived nearby at 201 Northgate Road. His father is thought to have died by the time of the War. Harry worked for a local builder, Mr Symonds of Castle Street until he joined the army, probably in the middle of 1916. The 432nd Company was a Territorial unit and was not called on to go overseas on active service until March 1917.
On 6 July 1917, the men were based at Oost Dunkerque. The Company's War Diary mentions only that they were engaged on "normal work" but it is probable that they were constructing advanced billets for the infantry near Nieupoort. The Diary notes "Heavy shelling round Sardinerie; 4 men killed and 3 wounded by one shell. It appears this work may have been observed and so it will be carried out at night in future." Harry was one of the men killed. Working alongside him were William Bramley and Thomas Shaw.
Lieutenant Norman Newton later wrote to Mrs Bailey "Sapper Bailey was a willing and trusted worker under trying conditions and as an officer I cannot say more of any man. He died very shortly after receiving his wounds, which were caused by the explosion of a shell and was later buried in a graveyard by a British chaplain."