Local History Society

 Families: Rev. Bill Bayley and Bearwood

Sports Day,
1st July 1918

Bearwood Mansion during the Great War

The Opening of the R.M.N.S. Orphanage at Bearwood

Rev. Joshua Anderson,
Rector of St. Bartholomew's Arborfield,

Rev. Peter Ditchfield,
Rector of Barkham 1886-1930



The 'Times and Weekly News' of November 4th: 1938 announced that Rev. Bayley was retiring as Chaplain at the Royal Merchant Navy School (which was actually in Newland Parish), and gave a description of his early life: 

Presentation to Retiring Chaplain

Bear Wood R.M.N.S.

The article explained:

The Rev. W. H. Bayley, C.F., of Bear Wood, had been the Rector of a large parish in Ottawa, Canada, and a Chaplain of the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps. He came to England on the outbreak of the Great War, and joined up as Chaplain to the British Army at Shorncliffe. He transferred to the Canadian forces when they arrived in Europe, and served in Flanders and France, being mentioned in despatches. He was recalled for service in Hospitals in 1917, and appointed assistant Director of Physical Training, serving also on the Army Sports Control Board.

In June 1919 he organised and trained the Canadian Army Team for the Inter Allied Games held at Pershing Stadium, Paris.

He escorted the last shipload of Canadian wounded to Canada in August 1919, returning to Bear Wood in September. He had served as Chaplain to the R.M.N.S. for 17 years, and remains as Rector of St. Catherine’s, Bearwood. The school will now employ a Chaplain as a full-time member of staff.


This outline misses out the detail of his time at the Bearwood Canadian Convalescent Hospital, where he organised the sports days.  Soldiers at Bearwood Canadian Convalescent Hospital in WWI

Major Bayley had been instrumental in training, playing for and encouraging the football team to great success in the 1917/8 season, as reported on 4th May 1918: 

"The Bear Wood Canadians have had a most successful season, having won nearly forty matches and been but rarely beaten, their most successful opponents having been R.E., Aldershot. They have scored about 170 goals against 56.

"They owe much to the enthusiasm of the Rev. Major Bayley, Vicar of Bear Wood, and chaplain to the hospital, who has shown great keenness and dash in the position of centre-forward. He has scored about a hundred goals, including ten against Royal Flying Corps and seven against Farnborough."


The 'Times and Weekly News of December 8th 1944 mentioned that Rev. Bayley officiated at a special service for the Home Guard:

Home Guard ‘March Off’

Winnersh and Arborfield Company

Officers and N.C.O’s and men of ‘E’ Sub Company of the 11th Berks. Battalion Home Guard, celebrated their ‘stand down’ parade on Sunday when the occasion was marked by a special service at St. Catherine’s Church, Bearwood, given by the Rev. W. H. Bayley.

Rev. Bill Bayley, from the Home Guard's group photograph



Bill Bayley was pictured with the men of the Home Guard in their group photograph.



We learn a little more about Bill Bayley's family from his son's wedding on August 3rd 1945, as reported the following week by the 'Mercury':

Wedding of F./Lt. P. H. Bayley

The wedding took place on Saturday at St. Catherine's, Bear Wood, of F./Lt. Peter HughFlight-Lieutenant Peter Bayley (son of Rev. Bill Bayley), and Joan Wood Bayley, R.A.F.V.R., younger son of Major the Rev. W. H. and Mrs. Bayley, of Bear Wood Rectory, and F./O. Joan Lilian Wood, W.A.A.F., daughter of Dr. G. E. and Mrs. Wood. of Highbury, London. The service was conducted by Major the Rev. W. H. Bayley, Hon. S.C.F. The bride, who wore blue, was given away by her father, and Wing-Commander J. Boundy, R.A.F., was best man.

A reception was held at Bear Wood Rectory. Among those present were:
Dr. and Mrs. Wood (parents of the bride);
Mr. and Mrs. Ian Michael (brother-in-law and sister of the bridegroom);
Mr. and Mrs. Roger Holt Bayley (brother and sister-in-law);
Miss Lesley H. Bayley (sister);
Mr. Courtenay B. Wilson and the Misses Wilson;
Wing Commander J. Boundy;
Squadron Leader E. Clark, R.A.F., and
Mr. George Pitt.

[Copyright 'Mercury' photo; used by permission].


The grave for Rev. and Mrs. Bayley, in the south-west corner of Bearwood churchyard. William Henry Bayley died in 1957, and Eunice Harborne Bayley 10 years later.

Resting place foe Bill and Eunice Bayley



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