WW2 airman from Sidmouth commemorated in new display at Sidmouth Museum

Sgt Edward Bailey in his RAF uniform. Picture: John Eaton

Sgt Edward Bailey in his RAF uniform. Picture: John Eaton - Credit: John Eaton

Sergeant Edward Bailey was one of the first Allied casualties of the war with Japan, but his death came just before war was officially declared.

Edward Bailey, back row second from left, with The King's School football team, 1934. Picture: John

Edward Bailey, back row second from left, with The King's School football team, 1934. Picture: John Eaton - Credit: John Eaton

A new display at Sidmouth museum commemoratesthe death of a young RAF soldier from the town, who was one of the first Allied casualties of the war with Japan.

Sergeant Edward Bailey, aged just 22, was among the eight-man crew of a maritime patrol plane shot down over the Gulf of Siam on December 7 1941.

They had been sent to investigate reports of two large Japanese convoys, including warships, off the coast of Cambodia. Their Catalina seaplane was shadowing them when five Japanese fighter planes shot it down.

Five hours later, the Japanese attacked the American fleet at Pearl Harbour. The US and Britain declared war on Japan the following day.

Edward Bailey with his sisters. Picture: John Eaton

Edward Bailey with his sisters. Picture: John Eaton - Credit: John Eaton


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Sgt Bailey had attended The King’s School in Ottery St Mary, and played in the Sidmouth Town Band. His parents ran a newsagents and tobacconists in Temple Street.

John McCarthy, from Sidmouth Museum, said: “These young airmen occupy an important place in history and deserve to be better remembered. This new display tells the story of Edward Bailey and commemorates the whole eight-man crew on that fateful day.”

John McCarthy with the RAF display at Sidmouth Museum. Ref shs 13 19TI 0877. Picture: Terry Ife

John McCarthy with the RAF display at Sidmouth Museum. Ref shs 13 19TI 0877. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

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