b. 20/06/1820 Southampton. d. 18/12/1876 Weston Super Mare, Somerset.
George Fiott Day (1820-1876) was born on 20t June 1820, the 4th son of Charles Day, of Bobis Hill, Southampton, and had two brothers, a brother in law and other relatives in the Services. He entered the Royal Navy from the Royal Naval College in August 1833, as a First Class Volunteer on board the Challenger under Captain Seymour. The vessel sailed for the Pacific and was wrecked off the coast of Patagonia on 19th May 1835. He next served on the Conway, and later under Captain the Honorable H Keppel on the coast of Spain during the Carlist Wars. In June 1837, on the coast of West Africa, he volunteered to join the Childers, at the time at the prey of yellow fever, which had killed nearly all the officers and crew. In an open boat, with only 5 men, he captured a schooner, mounting a large 18 pounder on a pivot, with a complement of 30 men, well-armed, and a cargo of 230 slaves. After the Childers was paid off, in August 1838, he completed his time on board the Racer and Orestes sloops, fitting at Portsmouth, and passed his exams on 10th November 1838.
He was then employed for 6 and a half years in the Mediterreanan as Mate on the Benbow under Captain Houston Stewart. He commanded the barge of his ship in the attack on Tortosa, on the coast of Syria, and also took part in the bombardment of St John d’Acre. On 13th December 1845, he was promoted to Lieutenant and was appointed to the Bittern on the African station. In March 1847, he moved to the Excellent, and on 3rd August 1848, as Gunnery Lieutenant to the Southampton, first at the Cape of Good Hope, and then off Brazil. In November 1851, he was appointed to command HMS Locust, a steamer of 3 guns and 100hp, employed on the Rivers Plate and Paraguaya.
In 1854, the Locust was sent to the Baltic, and took part in the capture of Bomarsund, capturing two boats of men. In 1854, he joined the Fleet in the Mediterranean and appointed Lieutenant Commander of the Recruit. In her he sailed with the Weser gun vessel on 4th April 1855, under orders for the Black Sea. On the 24th, the Weser caught fire, struck on a rock at the entrance to the Dardanelles, and was beached to avoid sinking. After a number of days, she was got off by the Recruit and taken to Constantinople. The Recruit then took part in the assault on the Fort of Arabat and also on Taganrog.
While serving in the Sea of Azoff, under Captain Osborn, he was giving the duty of watching the Strait of Genitchi, where he would achieve the award of the Victoria Cross and Legion of Honour. On 17 September 1855 at Genitichi, Crimea, Lieutenant Day of HMS Recruit was put ashore from a rowing boat to reconnoitre the bridge, batteries and enemy gun boats on the Arabat Spit. He went alone and after covering four or five miles of swampy ground, sometimes up to his thighs in water, he got to within 200 yards of the enemy position, where he found that the gun boats appeared to be under-manned and lightly defended. He returned to his ship convinced that a surprise attack was possible, but had to abandon this plan when he returned on 19 September and found the enemy on the alert and the gun boats fully manned.
The award of his Victoria Cross was announced on 24th February 1857, and was now a Commander, having been promoted on 19th November 1855. Throughout the Crimean conflict, he was awarded the Crimean Medal with the Azoff clasp, Turkish Medal and the Order of the Medjidie. He then returned to England, and was appointed on 26th May 1857, to the command of the Firefly steamer with 4 guns and 220hp, and was employed on the West Coast of Africa, in which he captured two slavers. He brought the Firefly home and paid her off in August 1858.
On 19th October 1858, Captain Day married Mary, third daughter of the late James Ireland, and for many years, MP for Honiton in Devon. Shortly afterwards, he sailed for China, in charge of two gunboats. For his services in the station, he was awarded the China Medal. He was promoted to Captain in August 1861, but in consequence of impaired health was obliged to decline active employment, but in February 1867, was placed on the Captains’ Retired List. In recognition of his services he was nominated a Companion of Bath in May 1875. He died at Weston Super Mare, Somerset after a long illness on 18th December 1876, aged 56. He was buried in Weston Super Mare Cemetery. His medals were purchased in the 1920s and are displayed in the Sheesh Mahal Collection, Patiala, India.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: SHEESH MAHAL MUSEUM, PATIALA, INDIA.
BURIAL PLACE: WESTON SUPER MARE CEMETERY, SOMERSET. GRAVE 2397
Kevin Brazier – Day’s Grave in Weston Super Mare Cemetery.