War journal will help turn clock back 100 years

Towneley Hall
Towneley Hall
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Local historian Denise North will be turning the clock back 100 years as she leads her audience in the footsteps of a Burnley soldier fighting on the Western Front.

Denise will lead a free illustrated lecture “In the Footsteps of James Bailey” at Towneley Hall, Burnley, on Saturday (June 21st) at 2pm as part of the town’s commemoration of the centenary of the start of the First World War.

James served with the East Lancashire Battalion, both on the Western Front and later in the Balkans. He survived the war and served with the town’s parks department before moving to Keighley.

In 1937, as a result of his parks work, James was involved in a tour of the Western Front working on behalf of the War Graves Commission to maintain military cemeteries.

James kept a journal of his life and work which is on display at Towneley Hall.

Denise, chairman of Burnley District Historical Society and a member of the local Western Front Association, said: “I will be using extracts from James’s journal to retrace his steps and paint a picture of life during and after the First World War.”

The lecture, plus a follow-up question-and-answer session, is expected to last around an hour and will be held in the hall’s lecture theatre.

The same day the Little Children Weak exhibition featuring the stories of local people and their wartime experiences, supported by information from local historians and experts, will begin at Towneley.

The picture shows how James’s journal was, in effect, a series of drawings and cartoons which he used to illustrate what he saw around him.