Mr Percy Bailey was born in Penzance, Cornwall, England in early 1894.
He was the son of Joseph Bailey (1873-1944), a butcher, and Edith Davies (1875-1957), Penzance natives who had married in mid-1893 and he had three siblings: Ada (1897-1987, later Mrs Robert Stewart), Joseph Gordon (1900-1957) and George Leslie (1907-1991).
It appears that Percy lived at 25 Gwavas Street in Penzance for all of his life and appeared there on the 1901 and 1911 censuses. By the time of the latter record he was described as a butcher's assistant, having followed in his father's footsteps.
Bailey initially booked on the White Star Line vessel Oceanic but transferred to Titanic when he heard that several friends were booked for that steamer. He travelled as a second class passenger (ticket number 29108, which cost £11 10s.). He was travelling to New York City to visit an uncle (Harry Jennings) before going on to Akron, Ohio to the home of a friend of his father. He had been hired by a firm in that city as an apprentice butcher.
He arrived in Southampton on 9 April from where he sent a postcard to his parents.
Dear Mother and Father,
The following day he boarded the Titanic and penned a longer letter to his parents.
April 17th (sic) 1912 On board RMS Titanic
Dear Father and Mother,
Whilst on board Bailey shared a cabin with Harry Cotterill and George Hocking also from Penzance, none of whom survived the sinking. Percy's body, if recovered, was never identified.
The following account appeared in a New York newspaper shortly after the sinking:
Titanic Disaster felt in Home of Bronx Man
Harry Jennings, Alexander Avenue Butcher Mourns Loss of Nephew Who Was to Make His Home In America.
The echo of grief and horror which can be heard the world round, as the result of the greatest sea disaster in history has reached a Bronx fireside at 213 Willis avenue, where lives Harry Jennings, a butcher for H. Walger, at 333 Alexander avenue, and whose nephew Percy Bailey, was among the second cabin passengers that went down to Neptune's grave with the biggest ship afloat.
His parents and siblings continued to live in Penzance, later moving to Chapel Street. His father died on 8 July 1944 and his mother on 10 January 1957 at her home, 32 Barwis Terrace, Penzance. His last surviving sibling George died in Falmouth, Cornwall in 1991.
- The 1901 staying with the family was Percy's paternal grandmother, Grace Bailey who was likely the person Percy refers to when writing home from Titanic on 17 April 1912.
- The 'Wills' referred to was William Wells, the brother of Mr Arthur Henry Wells who had married Addie Dart Trevaskis and it was she that 'Wills' had come to Southampton to see. Addie was en route to her husband who was already in Akron, Ohio. William Wells at a later date joined his brother and sister-in-law in Akron).
References and Sources
Cleveland Plain Dealer (Ohio), 21 April 1912
Western Morning News, April 17, 1912
Gavin Bell, UK
Steve Coombes, UK
Homer Thiel, USA
Per Kristian Sebak, Norway
Brian Ticehurst, UK