Lieutenant Peter Baillie


Peter Baillie was born in Caledonian Crescent, Edinburgh, Scotland, on 16 November 1889, the first of two children of sewing machine mechanic Alexander Baillie and his wife Jessie (or Janet) McLackie Baillie (née Tod). The family later moved to Edgbaston, Birmingham, where they lived at 13 Varna Road. Peter was educated at the Hope Street Technical School.

Baillie enlisted in the 2/1st Lothian and Border Horse at Edinburgh on 10 November 1914 (regimental number 2007). He gave his occupation as electrical engineer. In June the following year he was attached to the 1/1st Lowland Mounted Brigade Signal Troop. He embarked for the Dardanelles on 27 September. On 21 October, however, he was admitted to the 2nd Lowland Field Ambulance at Cape Helles suffering from dysentery. On 28 October he was admitted to the 15th General Hospital at Alexandria, and on 29 November was invalided to England. He was well enough to return to duty by February 1916.

On 11 March 1916 Baillie applied for a commission, expressing a preference for the cavalry or the Royal Engineers Signalling Service. He was admitted to the No.2 Cavalry Cadet Squadron at Kildare on 18 May. On 6 September he was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant and posted to the 10th Reserve Regiment of Cavalry at the Curragh.

While there he was troubled with bouts of illness probably related to the dysentery he contracted at the Dardanelles. A medical board held at the 1st Southern General Hospital in Birmingham on 17 January 1917 reported that:

while on sick leave in Birmingham from the Curragh he was taken ill with pains & vomiting and after three days reported at this hospital where he was admitted on 6 Jan. 1917. These symptoms were the same as those from which he suffered when he reported sick on 19th Dec. at the Curragh. He suffered from dysentery while in Gallipoli in the latter end of 1915. He complains of gastric hyperacidity and feels weak.

On 29 March 1917, however, he embarked for France, posted to the 2nd Regiment of the North Irish Horse. He joined the regiment at Boeschepe on 6 April and was posted to A Squadron - the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons Service Squadron.

The regimental war diary of 4 July 1917 recorded that:

2/Lt Baillie & his party returned from attachment to 47th Div in the trenches reports having had a very rough time.

In September 1917 the 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment was disbanded, with most of its officers and men and absorbed into the 9th (Service) Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers. Baillie was posted to the battalion and joined on 8 November, but five days later left for England. On 15 August he had applied for a commission in the Indian Army Reserve of Officers. Following an interview at the India Office his application was accepted (on probation) and on 19 February 1918 he embarked for India. There he was attached to the 16th Cavalry.

Baillie was promoted to lieutenant on 26 March 1918 (with seniority from 6 September 1917). He relinquished his commission on 12 August 1920.


This page last updated 25 September 2023.