Manuscript and published poetry of Horace Claflin Bayley with accompanying documentation

Scope and Content

The content consists of H. C. Bayley's poetry, notable for its several First World War related poems which include but are not limited to Unfit, written after having been refused military service at a recruiting office in 1914, The Mercy of the Hun inspired by the execution of Edith Cavell (1865-1915) in Brussels, 12 October 1915, Murphy's Mules, Missing, HMS Ramsey (sunk in action, 6 August 1915; accompanying photograph at PG/14570) and The Cup inspired by Vimy Ridge, 16 May 1916. Further contents include newspaper cuttings of war poems printed in The Times newspaper August 1914-1915, a music sheet for Bayley's recruitment song Come Along, Boys! and a newspaper cutting of Bayley's obituary.

Administrative / Biographical History

Horace Claflin Bayley (1868-1932), born 6 February in Altrincham, Cheshire, was the son of William (b.1835), a cashier for American merchants, and Charlotte (b.1839) Bayley. In 1896 in Lytham, Lancashire, Horace married Edith Annie Midgley (1869-1922), the daughter of John James (b.1840), a chemist and Margaret (b.1841) Midgley. The couple had three daughters: Edith Margaret (b.1898) and Joan Musgrave (b.1900), born in in Stockport, Cheshire, and Charlotte Sylvia (b.1904), born in Cheadle, Cheshire.

Moving to the Isle of Man in the late 1910s (for Bayley’s health), the family resided in the northern parish of Lezayre, before moving south in 1912-1913 to Plaxtole, Bowling Green Road, Castletown. For many years Bayley was assistant secretary at King William's College, Castletown and a town commissioner for Castletown. He had also been secretary of the Buchan School for Girls (formerly Castletown High School for Girls) for twelve years and latterly a school governor. Bayley was a member of the Isle of Man Natural History and Antiquarian Society, member of the Isle of Man Boy Scouts and member of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. He was a keen churchman, closely identifying with St Olave's Church, Ramsey and St Mary’s Church, Castletown. Bayley served as secretary for the Parochial Church Council, a representative for Castletown at the Sodor and Man Diocesan Conference and was a member of the British and Foreign Bible Society.

In the First World War (1914-1918), Bayley was declared unfit for active service. He took a great interest in the war effort, participating in canvasing schemes to recruit young men eligible for army and navy duty, publishing recruitment songs ( Come Along, Boys! 1914) and writing poetry inspired by the war itself. Bayley died on 4 April 1932 at the age of 64 and was buried in Malew Churchyard.

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Archivist's Note

The biographical information was gathered from Isle of Man newspapers the Isle of Man Times (29/08/1908 & 12/05/1928), the Ramsey Courier (01/04/1910, 24/02/1911, 04/04/1911 & 11/12/1914) and the Isle of Man Examiner (26/04/1913, 04/12/1915, 19/02/1916, 14/04/1917, 23/03/1923 & 08/04/1932).

Isle of Man newspapers available online at

Fonds-level description created by Eleanor Williams (MNH Project Archivist), February 2016.

Separated Material

Separated material held by Manx National Heritage includes a photograph of HMS Ramsey, reference number: PG/14570 & a photograph of Horace Claflin Bayley. Reference number: PG/14570/2.