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George Day, Manchester Regiment - deserter 2 months 1 week ago #73741

  • BereniceUK
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A DESERTER'S ADVENTURES.

....George Day, the Plymouth soldier who deserted from the Manchester Regiment at Ladysmith and fought with the Boers against his own countrymen, arrived last week at the military depot at Ashton, Manchester, in charge of the escort to which he was handed over by the Aberavon police. Day told the Aberavon magistrates that he fought for some time with Lord Dundonald. Shortly before the relief of Ladysmith he slipped through the British lines on a dark night, avoided the Boer outposts, and escaped into open country. After a time, however, he was compelled by hunger to join the Boer forces and fight against the British troops. But once again his courage forsook him, and he managed to escape to Delagoa Bay. There he succeeded in getting employment on a steamer, and after voyaging round the world landed at Swansea a few days ago almost destitute, and gave himself up to the Aberavon police.
....Day's offence will be treated as a purely military matter, and he will not be handed over to the civil authorities for treason. This means that he will be tried for desertion in face of the enemy alone, the penalty for which, however, under the statutes of Edward III, is death.
The Aberystwyth Observer, 6th October 1904

The Sunderland Daily Echo, of Tuesday 27th September 1904, had the additional information that once at Delagoa Bay, "he set sail on a French steamer for Marseilles, and thence made a voyage to Liverpool," and that Day was aged 23,

I couldn't find a birth registration for a George Day anywhere in Devon and Cornwall between 1879-1882, nor could I find a mention of him once he'd entered the custody of the Army.
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George Day, Manchester Regiment - deserter 2 months 1 week ago #73750

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Berenice
Here we have an unambiguous medal roll entry for "5052 Pte. G. Day" of the Manchesters. WO100/198 p.21 has him marked as "NO MEDAL", "Deserted, forfeit medal". "Defence of Ladysmith" the only clasp marked.
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George Day, Manchester Regiment - deserter 2 months 1 week ago #73753

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I've contacted Tameside Local Studies at Ashton Library, as it holds the Manchester Regiment archives, giving them the information we have on George Day, and asking what became of him.

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George Day, Manchester Regiment - deserter 2 months 1 week ago #73760

  • Frank Kelley
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George Robert Day, an eighteen year old labourer, from Levenshulme, had joined the Manchester Regiment upon the 19th of March 1897 at their depot Ashton under Lyne after attesting three days prior, posted to the 1st Battalion in July, he had a rather tarnished military career, being tried three times before his desertion in the face of the enemy upon the 6th of February 1900 in Ladysmith.
He re joined upon the 29th of September 1904, after surrendering to the Civil Power in Port Talbot upon the 22nd of September, that same year, once again, he was brought before a Courts Martial, found guilty and sentenced to 10 years in prison, the sentence being subsequently confirmed by HM King Edward.




BereniceUK wrote:

A DESERTER'S ADVENTURES.

....George Day, the Plymouth soldier who deserted from the Manchester Regiment at Ladysmith and fought with the Boers against his own countrymen, arrived last week at the military depot at Ashton, Manchester, in charge of the escort to which he was handed over by the Aberavon police. Day told the Aberavon magistrates that he fought for some time with Lord Dundonald. Shortly before the relief of Ladysmith he slipped through the British lines on a dark night, avoided the Boer outposts, and escaped into open country. After a time, however, he was compelled by hunger to join the Boer forces and fight against the British troops. But once again his courage forsook him, and he managed to escape to Delagoa Bay. There he succeeded in getting employment on a steamer, and after voyaging round the world landed at Swansea a few days ago almost destitute, and gave himself up to the Aberavon police.
....Day's offence will be treated as a purely military matter, and he will not be handed over to the civil authorities for treason. This means that he will be tried for desertion in face of the enemy alone, the penalty for which, however, under the statutes of Edward III, is death.
The Aberystwyth Observer, 6th October 1904

The Sunderland Daily Echo, of Tuesday 27th September 1904, had the additional information that once at Delagoa Bay, "he set sail on a French steamer for Marseilles, and thence made a voyage to Liverpool," and that Day was aged 23,

I couldn't find a birth registration for a George Day anywhere in Devon and Cornwall between 1879-1882, nor could I find a mention of him once he'd entered the custody of the Army.

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George Day, Manchester Regiment - deserter 2 months 1 week ago #73774

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Frank Kelley wrote: George Robert Day, an eighteen year old labourer, from Levenshulme, had joined the Manchester Regiment upon the 19th of March 1897 at their depot Ashton under Lyne after attesting three days prior, posted to the 1st Battalion in July, he had a rather tarnished military career, being tried three times before his desertion in the face of the enemy upon the 6th of February 1900 in Ladysmith.
He re joined upon the 29th of September 1904, after surrendering to the Civil Power in Port Talbot upon the 22nd of September, that same year, once again, he was brought before a Courts Martial, found guilty and sentenced to 10 years in prison, the sentence being subsequently confirmed by HM King Edward.


Wow! Thank you, Frank, most illuminating. Interesting that he would probably have been released towards the end of 1914, at a time when the country was at war again. I wonder what happened to him when conscription began in January 1916, as he would still only have been aged around 37 then.

Closest match for a birth registration that I can find is George Day, 4th quarter of 1877, in Manchester (mother's maiden name being Jackson).

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George Day, Manchester Regiment - deserter 2 months 1 week ago #73776

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To be quite honest, I should have thought that Arthur Curran and the rest of the Bloodsuckers were pleased to see the back of him, life in Ladysmith at the time was harsh and absolutely no place whatsoever for someone who clearly was not a team player.

It is important to bare in mind that while the battalion was engaged upon on their end of the Platrand Ridge defending Manchester Fort exactly one month before he made up his mind he wanted to be somewhere else, he was actually in confinement, safe from the enemy, whilst people he knew were being killed and wounded doing their duty.

It would depend upon his actual circumstances as to whether or not he would ever have been subject to the Military Service Act, a great many people were not, quite frankly, an infantry section would have been a far better place without him.

Wow! Thank you, Frank, most illuminating. Interesting that he would probably have been released towards the end of 1914, at a time when the country was at war again. I wonder what happened to him when conscription began in January 1916, as he would still only have been aged around 37 then.

Closest match for a birth registration that I can find is George Day, 4th quarter of 1877, in Manchester (mother's maiden name being Jackson).

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