Family story contributed by Brian Gudgeon
Sydney Frederick Day was born on 2 August 1892, to Alfred John Day and Alice Louisa Day (nee Gaunt), in Nunhead (now in the London Borough of Southwark). By the time of the 1901 Census, the Day family was living in Thornton Heath, Croydon. Before the outbreak of war in 1914, Sydney had been working as a Bar Assistant, living at 65 Clapham Park Road.
In 1914, Sydney enlisted with the Queen’s (Royal West Surrey) Regiment (QRWS), serving as a Private, with the service number 200583. He seems to have done well in the Army, as his Character Certificate describes him as ‘very good’. The family recall Sydney telling them that he received shrapnel wounds to his upper body, during his service; many years after the war, a small piece came out of his big toe! He continued to serve with the QRWS until the end of the war, when he was finally discharged at Hounslow on 31 March 1920.
Shortly after the end of the war, Sydney married Edith Collier in Croydon, on 4 January 1922. The marriage was not a success, and the couple divorced. Sydney remarried in the spring on 1935, this time to Dorothy Cox; they spent most of their married life at 121 Frant Road, Thornton Heath, with Sydney working as a jobbing gardener (as recorded in the 1939 Register).
Sydney died in 1969, aged 77. The family remember him as a nice, quiet, gentle man, who kept two highly polished brass shell cases on his mantelpiece, mementoes of the war.
Read the stories of his brothers during the war: