Lieutenant Gabriel Thomas Lane Bayliff

 

 

Gabriel Thomas Lane Bayliff was born on 8 March 1898 at Alexis Creek, Chilcotin, British Columbia, son of rancher Hugh Peel Lane Bayliff. Educated at Charterhouse, he enlisted as an officer cadet on 10 October 1916, training at Netheravon. He was commissioned on 17 February 1917 and posted to the 6th Reserve Regiment of Cavalry.

On 29 April 1917 he reported for duty with the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons Service Squadron, part of the 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment, at Boeschepe in France. In September 1917 the regiment was dismounted and absorbed into the 9th Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers. Bayliff joined the battalion at Ruyaulcourt in France on 20 October, but on 16 November left for England, where he transferred to the Tank Corps.

Posted to the 10th Battalion of the Tank Corps, he returned to France on 20 December 1917. On 21 August 1918 at Achiet le Petit near Bapaume his tank was knocked out and he was captured. He later described the events of that day as follows:

While advancing onto the final objective on the morning of 21st August, the heavy fog which had made observation difficult lifted, and my tank received a direct hit, while climbing out of a sunken road, putting it out of action and causing it to slip back into the road.

When I was able to see what had happened I found to [sic] of the crew dead the remainder having left the tank believing it to be on fire.

On leaving the tank I found two of the crew unwounded but badly shaken and the other two in a shell hole in rear of the tank both wounded. I sent a runner back with a message to the supporting troops giving information and asking for help with the wounded.

Observing that we were surrounded by large numbers of the enemy who were massing for counter attack I got into the shell hole and dressed wounded; hoping to avoid detection untill our infantry should come up or I should be able to get back to the guns, but was caught by counter attack wave.

Bayliff was repatriated in December 1918 and attached to the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons. He had become a lieutenant on 15 August 1918.

He relinquished his commission on 12 November 1920 and returned to Canada, where he farmed cattle on Chilancoh Ranch, Chilcotin in British Columbia. He died on 4 November 1977.