Family story contributed by Brian Gudgeon
Alfred Wilton Day was born on 17 December 1883 to Alfred John Day and Alice Louisa Day (nee Gaunt), in Southwark. By the time of the 1901 Census, the family had moved to Croydon, and Alfred had enlisted with the 2nd Battalion, East Surrey Regiment. He was soon involved in military action after being sent to fight in the last few months of the Boer War. Alfred is listed on the UK Military Campaign Medal and Award Rolls 1793-1040: Campaign of Service South Africa – Second Boer War, Service Date 1899-1902. He remained with the East Surrey Regiment, seeing service in Poona [now Pune], India, between 1906 and 1909. In 1913, only a year before the outbreak of the First World War, after rising to the rank of Corporal, Alfred was discharged from the 3rd Battalion, East Surrey Regiment.
Alfred must have re-joined his old regiment soon after war was declared in 1914, as in 1915 his sister Alice Florence (Flo) received a Christmas card from him, showing that he was now serving with the 10th Battalion, East Surrey Regiment. He seems to have been transferred to various different regiments throughout the war: the Middlesex Regiment, the Labour Corps, and the King’s Royal Rifle Corps. On 16 March 1919, Alfred was Mentioned in Despatches for ‘Gallant and Distinguished services in the Field’ – a brave chap! He ended the war as Regimental Sergeant Major.
He married Mary Amelia Hodge (always known as “Millie”) after the war, in the winter of 1920, and worked as a baker’s roundsman. Alfred died on 1 November 1933, the same year as his brother William (they were buried in the same plot at Mitcham Road Cemetery). His Death Certificate states that he died in Teevan Road, Croydon, but had been living at 57 Elmers Road, South Norwood. The cause of death was attributed to ‘fibrosis of the heart’ (which is most likely as a result of his years of heavy smoking).
Read about his brothers in the First World War: