Fred Bailey was just 22 when he was killed on the first day of the Battle of the Somme on 1 July 1916. He played for Exeter City reserves from around 1911 before having two seasons with Babbacombe. His final appearance in the colours of Exeter City came in a Christmas 1915 game played in aid of war funds. Although he did not play for the first team, he is recorded in this section of the archive in common with all thirteen Exeter City players who lost their lives in events related to the conflict of 1914-18.
He had started to make a name for himself as a 17-year-old amateur playing for Exeter City reserves during the 1910/11 season. After a promising 1911/12 campaign, Fred moved to Babbacombe (one of the current Torquay United's predecessor clubs) shortly after the start of the following season and remained there until the end of 1913/14 playing in attack with future Grecian Tommy Townsend in the Plymouth and District League. Being in and around St James' Park during those years he would have encountered the various members of the generation of City’s amateurs who were to perish in the Great War: Edwin Clark, Fred Hunt, Billy Stoneman, John Webb and George White.
Keen to enlist on the outbreak of the Great War, he became part of the 24th Field Ambulance Regiment of the Royal Army Medical Corps. Reappearing for City's reserves when home on leave during 1914/15 Fred himself was injured from gunshot wounds in 1915. Later, after recovering at home, he played a final match at St James' Park on 27 December 1915 when CIty played a Combined Batteries XI in aid of war funds.
Fred returned to the front and was killed on the first day of the Somme on 1 July 1916 by a shell while helping to convey a wounded man along a trench.
For more information about Fred Bailey’s war service and death see his entry in the Killed in Action section of the Archive
[Fred should not be confused with another 'Bailey' who, after playing for St Sidwell's United, made a solitary appearance for Exeter City's first team during 1904/05. That would be an older player, and possibly another Fred Bailey, born around ten years before the namesake who perished at the Somme].