Harry Bailey was born in London, England in 1921. He worked in the Royal Auxiliary Air Force as a messenger boy, travelling on a bicycle. When the Second World War started, people were called up and were allocated different areas to serve. In April 1941, Harry received a letter inviting him to join the national service. This was the beginning of his service in the war, where he travelled around the country for training and service.
First, he went to Blackdown, where he trained at Deepcut and after a while, learnt about driving instructions for motorcycles. Following this, he travelled to Northern Ireland. Whilst he was there, the Americans came over to Belfast. As a messenger boy, this provided Bailey with the job to deliver some of their supplies to transit areas and camps for them to then be sent off to another destination. After this, he went to the Southsea, where he stayed for a little while before going to France and got off at Allamange. There he was doing ammunition work for a couple of months.
Harry met his wife in Oldham, Manchester and they had three children together. Bailey admits that after the war, he found it difficult adjusting back to civilian life, as it was a significant change from serving in the war. He recalls there being one black family that came from Jamaica and lived in Deptford, south London, at that time. Harry remembers going to school with the children of that family. ‘We were all up to mischief, nothing serious’ he quotes.
Harry has received several medals and badges that acknowledge his service in World War Two. These include the France and Germany Star, the 1939/49 Star, a Civil Defence Medal and a Victory Medal.