|Medals to Musicians, Bandsmen & Bandmasters
ARTHUR LIONEL JOSEPH BAILEY, B.E.M. R.M.B
|The Family Frame Arthur Senior's medals can be seen here
Arthur Lionel Joseph Bailey was the eldest son of Commissioned Gunner Arthur Hubert Bailey R.N. Arthur was born in North End,
Portsmouth, Hampshire, on 9 Apl 1914. At the time Gunner Bailey was serving in the (then) Home Fleet on board flagship HMS Iron Duke.
Arthur Sr. also had a second son, born in 1921 who was also to join the RM.
When he entered the Royal Naval School of Music on 11 June 1928 he was school boy with a 3rd class education certificate & was aged
14yrs, 2 months, 2 days. He was already proficient on both the Flute & Piano & thus entered as a Band Boy. His education certificate
was raised to 2nd class in March 1930.
Musicians on board ship were also required to be trained in other non musical duties for action stations – on 15 Aug 1930 Bailey qualified
in Fire Control with a mark of 77% & re qualified on 26 Feb 1937 attaining a VG (very good) rating. He was also trained in first aid, anti
gas, & damage control during the inter war period.
Bailey’s first ship was HMS Enterprise in which he embarked on 20 Oct ‘31. Whilst on her he commenced his adult service on 9 Apl ’32 &
was rated Musician. He left Enterprise on 5 Jun ’34 & returned to the RN School of Music where he served until being drafted to the Band
of the RN Barracks from Jan ‘35 to Oct ’36. He returned to the RN School of Music on 27 Oct ’36. Whilst at the school he passed
examinations for Band Cpl on 22 Feb ’37 with a mark of 73%. Also whilst he was attending the school he married Monfydd (Mon) Esther
at Deal on 5 Dec ’36. He was promoted to Band Corporal on 8 July ’37 & again went to sea on HMS Furious, embarking on 16 Aug ’37.
He left her direct to join HMS Ark Royal on 8 Dec ’38.
The outbreak of 2WW found Bailey on Ark Royal & he was promoted to Temporary Bandmaster 2nd class on 25 May ’41.
Whilst serving on Ark Royal Bailey saw a lot of active service, including the hunt & destruction of battleship Graf Spee off Montevideo
during Oct ’39, in the Norway campaign of 1940; Mediterranean & Italy campaigns, Cape Spartivento ’40-’41; Atlantic, including the
Bismarck action of May 1941; & the Malta Convoys of ’41. Ark Royal was torpedoed off Gibraltar by U-81 on 13 Nov ’41 & subsequently
sank on 16 Nov. Bailey was among the many survivors & from HMS St Angelo, & afterwards was drafted back to the RN School of Music.
Whilst at the school he passed his examination for Bandmaster 2nd class on 16 Oct ’42 with a mark of 72.4%. He was next appointed to
the band of HMS Gosling 6 Nov ’42, a training establishment for FAA Fitters, Riggers, & Radio Mechanics. He remained there until being
posted as Bandmaster of HMS Spartan on 12 July ’43.
Spartan was a new cruiser of ’41, she served initially in the Home Fleet and then went to the Mediterranean in ’43. Whilst on Spartan
Bailey was confirmed as Bandmaster 2nd class on 20 Jan ’44. On 29 Jan she was hit on the port side and sunk by an HS 293 glider bomb
while lying off the Nettuno-Anzio beach head when supporting the advance of the US 5th Army. The bomb exploded near one of the
magazines, Spartan caught fire & blazed for some hours & sank before nightfall. 5 officers & 59 ratings were killed & many wounded or
injured during the explosion, fire, & sinking. All of the band instruments & music were lost.
That day Bailey was to win the BEM for gallantry, the only award of the BEM to the RM Band Service during 2WW.
Bailey’s Recommendation for Decoration on 29 Jan ‘44 reads:
Operation ‘Shingle’ - Bombing and Sinking of (HMS) Spartan.
“Displayed outstanding devotion to duty & courage. He remained at his post in the T.S. (Transmitting Station) trying to work
the H.A.(High Angle) table after power and lighting had failed. When ordered to evacuate by Mr Cummins, Gunner, he
proceeded on deck and helped tend the wounded. He showed a complete disregard for his own safety and many of the
wounded who were got off the ship owe their lives to Bandmaster Bailey’s conduct. On board (HMS) Dido he continued to
help throughout the night. “
The actual published Citation in the LG of 20 Jun ‘44 reads:
“For bravery & devotion to duty in rescue work and in tending wounded survivors when HMS Spartan was lost.”
Bailey was presented with the BEM by King George VI at an investiture held at Buckingham palace on 28 Nov ’44. The photo of Bailey
wearing his BEM with his father Arthur (also wearing his Great War medals, who was a member of the Home Guard) was taken at that
Bailey returned again to HMS St Angleo where he remained until joining HMS Aurora on 21 Mar ’44. He remained on her until Jun, when
he returned to the RN School of Music on 13 Aug, where he was to remain until being released on 20 Nov ’45.
On 3 Dept ’45 Bailey was in possession of 6 War service chevrons (1939 to 1945) & was paid his War Service Gratuity allowance.
Bailey returned to the RMB on 15 Apl ’46 as Bandmaster 2, & was appointed Bandmaster of HMS Daedalus (FAA Station) where he
remained until being posted back to the RN School of Music on 13 Jan ’47.
In 1947 the RM Band Service was reorganized with the former ranks of Bandmaster II & I being replaced by Band Serg’t & Bandmaster
respectively. On31 Oct ’47 Bailey was re ranked as Band Serg’t. He was then serving on HMS Sussex (cruiser of ‘28) since 17 Jan ’47.
On 27 Mar ’47 he was rated “superior” as a Bandmaster. Bailey was also awarded his Naval long service medal whilst on Sussex, 1 Sep
On 26 July ’48 he was promoted to Bandmaster. Some of the photos in this display were taken whilst Bailey was Bandmaster of the RMB
Band on board HMS Sussex.
He was to serve as Bandmaster on Sussex until 17 Dec ’48 when he was posted to HMS Belfast (cruiser of ’30) where he remains
Bandmaster until 17 Apl ’49. He is then posted to the RN School of Music as an Instructor to complete his time until he goes to pension
on 18 Jun ’53. He was 39 yrs of age & lived with his wife Mon & son Robin at Walmer in Deal, Kent.
After Bailey left the RMB he was employed by Christ’s Hospital School in Horsham as Music Instructor & Bandmaster, a position he
retained until he retired in ‘74. Photos of the School band are shown below.
Bailey was not well the latter part of his
life. He had heart problems &
rheumatoid arthritis & passed away 2
Feb ’80 aged 65 yrs, 10 months.Cause
of death was pulmonary embolus.
At the time he was living in Bocastle
Cornwall. He was survived by his wife
Mon & son Robin. Cremation took
place at Efford Crematorium on Feb 7.
Bailey’s cremains were then scattered
| Band Badges Notification of B.E.M. presentation|
The medals were accompanied by badges, paperwork and a great many photographs, some of which are shown below:
Closeup of the
|ABOVE: Bailey Jr & his wife Mon & son Robin. They are on the right of the photo. At Buckingham palace on 28 Nov ’44. with his father.
BELOW:Images of Bailey in front of Gun, with marines and in a more casual setting
|BELOW: Photos of the Christ’s Hospital School Band|
(on parade in London on St George's Day 1957)
LEFT:Bailey is under the lamp post in the frontal shot probably wearing his RM uniform
RIGHT: In the marching shot, he is on the right, same uniform.
LOWER RIGHT:Taken in front of the very imposing front of the school. He is in the centre of this in civvie clothes.
|ABOVE LEFT: The Enterprise Rugby Team|
ABOVE: With men of the Enterprise
LEFT: Vice Admiral Martin Dunbar Naismith VC
With Gunnery Sgt. on Sussex
Group on Sussex
Conducting the band on Sussex
HMS Sussex 1947