1918-2008: Ninety Years of Remembrance

Soldier Record

Herbert Stanley Day

Contributed by: Clinton Mann, on 2008-11-23

Herbert Stanley Day
First Name Herbert Stanley
Surname Day
Year of Birth 1889
Year of Death 1918
Regiment Royal Engineers
Place of Wartime Residence Ipswich, Swansea

Herbert Stanley's Story

Born in Ipswich in 1889, son of watchmaker Joseph Thomas Day and Lucy Coy, having three sisters and two brothers. In 1911 he married Ethel Mary Cone Beckwith. They had one son (Raymond Herbert John Day).

On the photograph: Ethel Mary Cone Day (nee Beckwith) with son Raymond Day (age?) and husband Herbert Stanley Day in Army uniform, now a 2nd Corporal.

"Bert" served in the Royal Engineers in 512th Field Company. He died on 27th May 1918, buried in Blargies Communal Cemetery Extension, Oise, France (Grave I.D.2.) The extension is said to have been built for those who died in hospital. Some records refer to his death as "Killed in Action" or "Killed in Air Raid".

Other Royal Engineers buried at Blargies died around the same time, suggesting that an incident caused their deaths; why else would they be buried together within the same plot group?

Grave I.D.1: Private Alfred A. Watt; died 20th May 1918 aged 38. Reg. No: 63427.

Grave I.D.2: 2nd Corporal Herbert Stanley Day; died 27th May, 1918, aged 29. Son of Joseph Day and Lucy, Ipswich. Royal Engineers. Reg. No: 145474.

Grave I.D.3: Sapper Fred Taylor; died 28th May 1918. Aged 24. Royal Engineers. 24th Base Park Unit Company. Reg. No: 249929.

Grave I.D.4: 2nd Corporal Ernest Haigh; died 27th May, 1918 aged 25. Reg. no: 145313.

Grave I.D.5. 2nd Corporal Edward Rowland Talbot; died 27th May 1918 aged 22 Royal Engineers. Reg. no: 37548.

Grave I.D.6. Sergeant William W. Paterson; died 27th May, 1918 aged 29; Royal Engineers. 24th Base Park Company. Reg. No: 16080

Grave I.D.7: Sapper Thomas William Gooding; died 10th June, 1918, aged 20. Railway Operating Division, Royal Engineers.

Blargies is distant from where allied forces were fighting in 1918, located at a rail crossing, it sited an ammunition dump after 1916 and was subject to air raids in 1918. Hermann Kohl, (1888-1938), a German pilot, commanded Bomber-Staffel 19 in December 1917 and flew Gothas. Kohl's unit launched two raids against a French ammunition dump at Blargies. Later Kohl was shot down and captured by the French in July 1918.

In 1916 Blargies became a centre of labour attached to the dumps and depots at Abancourt, when the Cemetery extension was opened for burial of men who died in the camp hospitals. 184 British soldiers are among 239 buried there. Blargies was also a prison camp, at which a mutiny in 1916 led to executions.

War Services and pension records at the National Archives give a nil find for Herbert Stanley Day; they were probably destroyed in the London air raid of 1940.

H. S. Day was awarded the Victory medal: (Roll of Individuals under Army Orders 301 and 266 of 1919.) The roll book gives no additional information about his rank or regiment. Medal roll details: R.E./101 Roll: B223 Page 55167

Clinton Mann has H.S.Day's Cigarette case, inscribed and presented to him by his companions for Xmas 1917. The inscription reads:

To Cpl H.S.Day R.E. from the boys of No. 3 Hut France Xmas 1917.

His "dog tag" has also survived.

Herbert is listed on a memorial at Alan Road Methodist Church in Ipswich and on the Ipswich Cenotaph in Christchurch Park.

Ethel lived on but never remarried. She raised my mother Dorothy, whose own father (James Robert Cornelius) died from influenza in 1918, and whose own mother (Annie Eliza Beckwith) died three years later. Ethel seemed a severe lady but was both sad and kind. In her house in Levington Road there was a Japanese chest with small drawers, in which as a child I peeked at Herbert Day's letters. I was more interested in their stamps than contents. When Ethel died in the 1970s she left me the cabinet, but the drawers were empty. I have never found out what happened to the letters.

Some of his Day family descendants still live in Ipswich.

Herbert Day: his life lost in 1918; his letters in the 70s; but artefacts & life story survive...

Clinton Mann, November 2008

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