Family story contributed by Brian Gudgeon
William Day was born in the winter of 1880, to Alfred Jon Day and Alice Louisa Day (nee Gaunt), in Southwark. By the 1901 Census, the Day family were living at 10 Rosebery Avenue, Croydon, and the 21 year old William was working as a Bottler in a brewery.
His military career began on 13 January 1902, when he enlisted with the Queen’s (Royal West Surrey) Regiment (QRWS), in Croydon, serving as a regular in the 1st Battalion. His time with the QRWS took him to South Africa and India, from where he posted Christmas cards to his sister Alice Florence (Flo) Day; a card dated from 1905 shows he was stationed in Sialkot, in the Punjab region (now in Pakistan, after the Partition in 1947). By 1911, he was working as General Warehouseman Dry Goods, and living with parents at 116 Birchanger Road, South Norwood. The family is not sure why he is entered thus as according to his Military records he was in the army at this time. It may be because he was transferred to Army Reserve on 28 Feb 1910 (or maybe April) and then re-engaged 23 Feb 1911, and then transferred again 23 Feb 1912. He was finally discharged on 12th January 1914 having served 12 years.
Although no records of his First World War service (apart from Medal Card) has been found to date, he would likely have been called up or volunteered, upon outbreak of war. In 1917, he is listed as serving with the Rifle Brigade (The Prince Consort’s Own) in a Christmas card to ‘Flo and Ed’ (his sister and her husband Charles Edward Mitchell).
In a 1918 ‘Menu’ to [Signaller] Day W.’ he is shown as serving in the 3rd Battalion, Rifle Brigade.
William survived the war, and died in 1933; he was interred in Mitcham Road Cemetery, Croydon, Plot W4, Grave No. 17716, with his younger brother, Alfred Wilton. William’s death certificate says he was ‘Found dead on 26th March 1933 Holt Wood, Chelsham R.D.’ He was 52. The cause of death was ‘Suicide whilst of unsound mind by lysol poisoning. [Post Mortem] Certificate received from E. Lovell Hewitt Acting Coroner for County of Surrey. Inquest held 30th March 1933.’ His address and occupation were ‘7 Drummond Road Croydon. No occupation. Formerly a Window Cleaner’.
Read the stories of his brothers in the First World War: