Arnold Thomas Baylis (1891-1917)
Private 16/763 , Royal Warwickshire Regiment
Arnold Baylis was born in 1891 in Leamington, one of six children, and the third son, of baker and confectioner John Baylis, and of Elizabeth Garrett, daughter of a labourer, who had been born in Canada.
Arnold was baptised on 17th September 1891, privately at home. This means that he was not expected to survive to be received into church the following Sunday – but the infant Arnold did survive and was received into Leamington Priors St. Paul on 28th October that year.
John Baylis clearly ran a successful business – he employed others, and the family moved to 115 Stratford Road in Bordesley – a house with eight rooms. Three sisters were born in the few years after Arnold, but Arnold’s mother died in 1909, leaving John with six children at home. Arnold’s sister May kept house, along with servant Dolly Sharpe. Arnold was by then a baker, working for his father along with his brother Spencer.
Arnold enlisted in the 16th Battalion of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment with service number 16/763 – the 16th was one of the Birmingham Pals battalions raised in the first year of the war. He became a Lance-Corporal, and served also with the 1st Battalion and the 11th Battalion.
The Battle of Arras was a British offensive on the Western Front during World War I. From 9 April to 16 May 1917, British troops attacked German defences near the French city of Arras on the Western Front. The British achieved the longest advance since trench warfare had begun, surpassing the record set by the French Sixth Army on 1 July 1916. The British advance slowed in the next few days and the German defence recovered. The battle became a costly stalemate for both sides and by the end of the battle, the British Third and First Army had suffered about 160,000 casualties and the German 6th Army about 125,000.
Lance Corporal Arnold Baylis died of wounds at Arras on 29th April 1917. He was 25 years old. He is buried in Duisans British Cemetery in Etran.
Arnold’s effects of £8 18s 2d, meticulously calculated by the army, went to his father John, with a later War Gratuity (supposedly to compensate a family for loss of earnings) of £12.