William and Elizabeth Bayley lost both of their sons within two days of each other in May 1917. The younger, Vernon, was killed in action on 3 May whilst serving with the Royal Fusiliers. Two days later, Bertram died at home in Bramhall.
William and Elizabeth had married in the early 1870s, probably in Manchester and their first child, Winifred, was born in about 1875. Bertram was born in 1878 and his brother, two years later. When the 1901 census was taken, there was also a sister listed, 14 year old Evelyn. At the time the family was living in at 48 Richmond Grove in fashionable Longsight. William was a successful agent for a cotton dyer and they had sufficient income to employ a live-in general servant, 22 year old Grace Morris.
Bertram had been born in Sale and, in 1901, had a business as a poultry farmer. However, by the time of the Great War, he was working for Ralli Brothers - a Greek owned company with many different business interests across the globe. He was also a member of Manchester's Royal Exchange, probably indicating a senior position in the Company's Manchester office.
Bertram will have been conscripted into the army in 1916. He was assigned to the 2/5th Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment which was formed in the November. It was designated for home duty only and comprised mainly men of a lower medical category which made them unfit for front line active service. They undertook various garrison duties around the UK.
Bertram's health deteriorated and he was discharged from the army a few weeks before his death. The cause of death was listed as Phthisis. This is the condition we know today as tuberculosis (or a similar complaint).
In the early 1920s, William and Elizabeth Bayley, still living at Park Hill, Woodford Road, Bramhall, arranged for Bertram's name to be included on the local War Memorial. For some reason, they chose not to include Vernon's name. Vernon's body was never found and identified and, perhaps, they hoped that he would still return. To commemorate his name would be to give up that hope.