1890 - 1917
THOMAS WILLIAM DAY was born on the 18th January 1890 in Great Waltham and baptised at the Parish Church on the 4th May. His parents, George Thomas and Harriett Day (née Scott) were married on the 28th July 1877 at the Parish Church, North Weald Bassett, Essex. George’s occupation was given as a Carrier, and residing in Great Waltham at the time of his marriage. Harriett was born in North Weald, the daughter of George Scott, a labourer.
Thomas was one of nine children and the second youngest son. He had six sisters and two brothers.
In 1891, the family were living in South Street, Great Waltham. George was working as a Horse clipper and painter. In 1893, shortly after the birth of her daughter, Mary Rebecca, Harriett died and in 1897, Thomas’s father George died. They are both buried in the churchyard.
The children were now orphaned and Thomas’s elder sister, Harriet, (called Agnes) now aged 21 years, took on the responsibility of fostering and boarding Louisa, aged 11 years, Thomas, aged 7 years and his younger brother Edward, aged 5 years. She was paid two shillings and six pence a week for each child by the Chelmsford Union.
On the 26th June 1900, Harriet Agnes married Frederick Boyce, a bootmaker, in Great Waltham Parish Church.
In 1901, George Albert, aged 22 years, the eldest son was now a painter and three of his siblings were living with him in South Street. Louisa, his sister was a working Domestic servant at South House Farm, Minnie was a Domestic Servant in Springfield Road, Ellen was a Servant and Mary, aged 7 years was staying with her aunt, in Willingale, Ongar.
In 1911, Thomas, aged 21 years was a Grocer’s Assistant, boarding at 11 Cheselden Road, Guildford in Surrey.
He was living in Harrow when he enlisted as a Private in the 15th Battalion, of the London Regiment (Prince of Wales’ Own Civil Service Rifles) Regimental No. 5188. The POW Own Civil Service Rifles Regiment was an Infantry Regiment of the Volunteer Force and saw active service as part of the London Regiment. Thomas’s Regimental number was later changed to 532438.
On the 18th March 1915 The Regiment landed at Le Havre with the 4th London Brigade, 2nd London Division (in May these became 140th Brigade 47th Division). It was at Festubert, in May, that the battalion first became acquainted with the realities of war, even though the men were employed throughout in holding the line.
In June 1917, the Regionement were at the Dominion Lines, near Ouderdom, Ypres. On the 7th June, the Regiment co-operated in an attack by the 2nd Army on the Messines-Wytschaete Ridge. After the attack they were relieved by the 73rd Infantry Brigade and moved back to Ecluse Trench. There were a number of casualties and wounded and one officer and 9 other ranks were missing.
Death and Memorial
Thomas was killed in action on this day, the 7th June 1917. His body was never recovered. He was 27 years old.
Thomas William DAY
He is ‘Remembered with Honour’ on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial. Panel 54.
He was awarded the British Medal and the Victory Medal.
Thomas is also remembered both on the War Memorial in Great Waltham and on the grave of his sister Ellen Day, in the Churchyard.
UK Register of Soldiers’ Effects, 1901-1929
Harriet was Thomas’s next of kin and she was awarded £3.10s.2d on the 19th November 1917. A further Gratuity payment of £6 was made to her on the 31st October 1919. She was also the main Beneficiary of his estate of £127.12s.9d.
Thomas's brother Edward also served in WW1. He fought at the Somme, returning home with the Military Medal and bar . He lived into his 90s, passing away in Oxford.