Leslie Terrett Day, maternal relative: The Battle of the Somme July 1916

Leslie Terrett Day was born at Prospect House, Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire, England on 27 Jun 1886 and he was Killed in Action during The Battle of the Somne on 1 July 1916.

Leslie Terrett Day was the brother-in-law of the niece of the husband of the niece of one of my 1st cousins 4x removed my Mother's side of the family. The actual lineage is:

  • Leslie Terrett Day (1886-1916) - brother-in-law of niece of husband of niece of 1st cousin 4x removed
  • John Terrett Day (1849-1926) - Father of Leslie Terrett Day
  • Hugh Terrett Day (1889-1976) - Son of John Terrett Day
  • Phyllis Annie Bennett (1901-1950) - wife of Hugh Terrett Day
  • Philip Charles Bennett (1867-1947) - Father of Phyllis Annie Bennett
  • James Bennett (1821-1903) - Father of Philip Charles Bennett
  • Arthur Bennett (1854-1924) - Son of James Bennett
  • Catherine Priday Marfell (1858-1942) - wife of Arthur Bennett
  • Sarah Ann Priday (1827-1896) - Mother of Catherine Priday Marfell
  • Samuel Priday (1800-1883) - Father of Sarah Ann Priday
  • Sarah Jane Priday (1854-1933) - Daughter of Samuel Priday
  • Richard Priday (1812-1890) - Father of Sarah Jane Priday
  • William Priday (1763-1850) - Father of Richard Priday
  • Charles Priday (1794-1870) - Son of William Priday
  • Nathaniel Priday Jr II (1830-1900) - Son of Charles Priday
  • Joseph Priday (1853-1933) - Son of Nathaniel Priday Jr II
  • Joseph Priday (1887-1954) - Son of Joseph Priday
  • Alice May Priday (1917-2009) - Daughter of Joseph Priday
  • William G Hyde - Me

His Family

Leslie Terrett Day's father was John Terrett Day, born in January 1846 at East Brent, Somerset, England. John Terrett Day was a Farmer of lands in Herefordshire, England.

John Terrett Day's father was Shadrack Miller Day, born during 1823 at East Brent, Somerset, England and he too was a Farmer of lands in Herefordshire, England. Shadrack Miller Day married Sarah Terrett (1813–1882) on 20 Apr 1845 at St Michael's, Bath, Somerset, England and afterwards moved to (late) Millards Farm, East Brent, Somerset, England. Shadrack & Sarah had just the one child, John Terrett Day.

John Terrett Day marriedIsabel Eliza Elsmore Cook (1857–1943) on 25 September 1881 at St Andrew's, Clifton, (now in Bristol), Gloucestershire and they went on to set up home at Old Gore (Farm), Upton Bishop, Herefordshire (John Terrett Day was the Farmer) and started to raise a family which eventually grew to 7 children:

  • Hilda Frances (Fran) Day (1883–1958)
  • Elsie Kathleen (Hertha) Day (1884–1959)
  • Leslie Terrett Day (1886–1916)
  • Edith Norah Terrett Day (1887–1976)
  • Hugh Terrett Day (1889–1976)
  • Harold John Terrett Day (1894–1950)
  • Horace Melville Day (1899–1953)

Leslie Terrett Day, was born on 27 June 1886 at Prospect House, Wye St, Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire, England. By the age of 5 he was living on his parents farm at Old Gore, Upton Bishop, Herefordshire and by the time he was 15 thye family were living at Crofts (farm), Ross-on-Wye and Leslie is shown to to be still at school. At age 24, April 1911 records show Leslie was living at 3 Hopetown Place, Southwark, London and no doubt working in the City of London.

In May 1911, Leslie travelled to Liverpool, Lancashire to board, on 26 May, the ship RMS "Lake Champlain" operated by the Canadian Pacific Railway shipping line for the journey to Quebec, Canada. According to the ships manifest, Leslie Terrett Day is a Painter, however whether it was of houses or of people or landscapes is not stated. The ship arrived in Quebec about 7 June 1911. The purpose of the visit to Canada is unknown at this time.

CNP Lake Champlain 1900

RMS Lake Chaplain operated by CNP shipping line

What is known is that Leslie nexts appears in records on 28 March 1914 at Callao, Peru where he is boarding the ship RMS "Orcoma", operated by The Pacific Steam Navigation Co for the trip back to Britain. The ships manifest describes Leslie as a Nitrate Official.

rms orcoma at liverpool

RMS Orcoma docked at Liverpool

According to records of the day, the trip from Peru to Britain would be expected to take 30 days (assuming relatively calm weather), meaning he arrived back at Liverpool, Lancashire on 28 April 1914 (or thereabouts).

There are no records of Leslie Terrett Day ever marrying in the UK, nor did he have any children.

I am begining to wonder if Leslie actually worked for the British Govt, either in Munitions procurement or even in the Secret Service Bureau (the forerunner of MI6, created in 1909). I say this, with trepidation, because to go out on a ship (to Canada) described as a "painter" and to come back a few short years later from the other end of the Americas described as a "nitrate official" does seem a bit odd! Especially when I cannot find any reference to a Painter (on any type) called L T Day. Nor, in fairness, does a search of the National Archives on-line records generate anything but Leslie's military service records.

Quebec, Canada - Leslie's first port of call - had at that time a big munitions industry, turning Saltpeter into ammunition propellant & making bullets & artillery shells.

Peru (and Chile) were big in the production of the base products for ammunition. And the possibility of conflict in Europe & elsewhere, was not a big shock to everyone at that time. Britain's Royal Navy had an extensive Intelligence Arm, they needed to get a heads up (as we would say today) because their ships would deliver the troops & fighting power in any conflict (at that time).

His Military

War was declared on 4th August 1914 after Germany invaded Belgium & northern France.

Leslie Terrett Day went to the Royal Naval Dockyards at Chatham, Kent on 25 September 1914 and enlisted in the Royal Enginners & was allocated Service Number 54013 (his stated occupation was Under Manager).

Leslie Terrett Day next appears in official records on 15 December 1914 when he was recorded as being a Temporary Sub Lieutenant in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve Flying Corps (siource: London Gazette), where his Commanding Officer was Commander C. R. Samson.

Leslie is recorded as bing stationed in London & various oustations during his time in the RNAS, one of those places could have been the Central Flying Schhol at Upavon (on the northern edge of Salisbury Plain( Wiltshire but equally a notation as imprecise as that could mean he was flying, overseas or even part of Samson's armoured car group!

The Royal Navy Flying Corps was part of the The Royal Flying Corps, along with the Military wing. The Royal Flying Corps was created on 13 April 1912 and absorbed the Naval air detachment and also the Air Battalion of the Royal Engineers.

The Royal Navy Flying Corps set up a Central Flying School at Upavon, Wiltshire, on the northern edge of Salisbury Plain, where they taught new recruits how to fly and established pilots how to fly the Navy way. The first Commanding Officer was Commander C. R. Samson, who had been a Member of Parliament pre-war. Samson was one of the first four officers selected for pilot training by the Royal Navy and was the first person to fly an aircraft from a moving ship. He also commanded the first British armoured vehicles used in combat. It was the RNAS which provided much of the mobile cover using armoured cars, during the withdrawal from Antwerp to the Yser, in 1914.

On 1 August 1915 the Royal Naval Air Service officially came under the control of the Royal Navy. In addition to seaplanes, carrier-borne aircraft, and other aircraft with a legitimate "naval" application the RNAS also maintained several crack fighter squadrons on the Western Front, as well as allocating scarce resources to an independent strategic bombing force at a time when such operations were highly speculative.

On 13 June 1915, Leslie Terrett Day, transferred to the Royal Field Artillery, giving up his RNVR Sub Lieutenant rank and becoming a Temporary Lieutenant in the RFA, the notice of which was published in the London Gazette of July 1915.

His Death

By June 1916, Leslie Terrett Day had been transferred to an unspecified Light Trench Mortar Battery because on 1 July 1916 he was with his Light Trench Mortar Battery on the front line at Thiepval Ridge.

Trench Mortar's were a new thing (at that time) and the battery's consisted of a mixture of Royal Field Artillery & general Infantry personnel. In addition to operating the mortars, they were expected to cut barbed wire (presumably in advance of atatcks) and to clear trenchs (during or after attacks), so could possibly be considered to be jacks of all trades. Mortar Fire usually drew swift retaliation from the enemy. British Officer Edward Beddington Behrens described mortar crews as "the suicide club....desperate men, brave as anything, rather nervy though!"

The Trench Mortar Batteries often consisted of 4 Mortars, 2 officers, 1 Sargeant, 4 Corporals or Bombadiers, 16 Gunners & 2 Batmen (one each for the Officers), however there doesn't appear to be any consistency in the makeup of the Batteries at that time. And the weapons could be any combination of 1.5 inch, 2 inch, 4 inch, and 4 pounder (improved 3.7 inch) mortars.

stokes mortar 3inchBritish Army Stokes 3inch Mortar (the setting is not the Western front but its a good vioew of the weapon

Leslie Terrett Day was killed in action on 1 July 1916 during The Battle of the Somne and his existence & passing are recorded on the Thievpall Monument to those who have no known grave, suggesting the Trench Mortar Battalion was heavily hit by incoming German artillery. The lack of detail surrounding Leslie's unit has stopped me identifying precisely where Leslie died and the Commonwealth War Graves Commsion do not know either, hence why he is recorded on the Thievpal Memorial.

His Burial

Thiepval Memorial to the missingThe Thievpal Memorial was erected records the names of the 72,337 British and South African servicemen who died in the Battles of the Somme between 1915 and 1918, with no known grave. It is near the village of Thiepval, Picardy in France.

Designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, the memorial was built between 1928 and 1932 and is the largest Commonwealth Memorial to the Missing in the world. It was inaugurated by the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VIII) in the presence of Albert Lebrun, President of France, on 1 August 1932.

The memorial dominates the rural scene and has 16 brick piers, faced with Portland stone. It was originally built using French bricks from Lille, but was refaced in 1973 with Accrington brick. The main arch is aligned east to west. The memorial is 140 feet high, above the level of its podium, which to the west is 20 feet above the level of the adjoining cemetery.

It is a complex form of memorial arch, comprising interlocking arches of four sizes. Each side of the main arch is pierced by a smaller arch, orientated at a right angle to the main arch. Each side of each of these smaller arches is then pierced by a still smaller arch and so on. This design results in 16 piers, having 64 stone-panelled sides. Only 48 of these are inscribed, as the panels around the outside of the memorial are blank.

Leslie Terrett Day is recorded on Pier and Face 1 A and 8 A. His Commonwealth War Graves Commission certificate purely states "In Memory of Lieutenant Leslie Terrett Day, Royal Field Artillery, who died on 01 July 1916"

Home Town Memorial

Leslie Terrett Day is also recorded on the War Memorial in his home town of Ross-on Wye, Herefordshire.

ross on wye theprospect warmem2Ross District War Memorial, located in Prospect Gardens 9overlooking the River Wye) and next to St Mary’s churchyard, was built of granite by Alfred William Ursell, a mason, at a cost of £400 and it commemorates 105 local servicemen who fell in the First World War.

It was unveiled on 4 July 1921 by Rev R T A Money-Kyrle and Col O R Middleton, JP Chairman of the Ross District Council.

The memorial originally had two German field guns sited with it which were removed in the 1930s.

In 2008 it was discovered that the war memorial had been erected on top of a Roman settlement and so the memorial was dismantled and stored to allow archaeological investigations to take place. The memorial was subsequently repositioned approximately 50m from its original location and was rededicated.

The general dedication reads "To the Glory of God and in memory of those in the Ross District who fell in the Great War 1914-1918. "They died that we might live in Peace and Liberty".