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Early 1914 casualty, POW and one-legged policeman

Article about: I try to collect groups with stories and this was one of my favourites. 9591 Private Francis Charles Day, No. 6 Platoon, 'B' Company, 1st Battalion The Gloucestershire Regiment. Francis Char

  1. #1

    Default Early 1914 casualty, POW and one-legged policeman

    I try to collect groups with stories and this was one of my favourites.

    9591 Private Francis Charles Day, No. 6 Platoon, 'B' Company, 1st Battalion The Gloucestershire Regiment.

    Francis Charles Day was born in Ampney Crucis, Gloucestershire and enlisted in The Gloucestershire Regiment 3rd February 1912, aged 18 years. The Regiment was stationed at Bordon, near Aldershot. On the 12th August 1914 it embarked on the S.S. Gloucester Castle, bound for Le Havre and War. Part of the First Division, it took up a position near Landrecies. It was there on 26th August 1914, the Glosters saw their first action of the War.

    Cap of Honour (D.S. Daniell)
    "The British Expeditionary Force was a small force compared with the French and German Armies, but in quality it was superb. The spirit of the men, their fighting ability and marksmanship, and their equipment made it an incomparable little army. The task of the B.E.F., to fight with the French and Belgians against the tremendous German Army, was one which called for gallantry and self-sacrifice. Their stubborn resistance gave Britain time to muster and equip her new armies, but the cost in the flower of Britain's manhood was tragic."

    Battalion War Diary (WO95/1278)
    “26th Aug. 1914 The Battalion was advanced guard to the Brigade. on approaching FAVRIL 2 companies were extended in fan like formation from RUE DU BOIS - point 173 - CROIX-HAINAUT to cover the reconnaissance. The Brigade then occupied a position facing LANDRECIS. Gloucester Regt astride the LANDRECIS Road. The Battalion. entrenched along a line of hedges covering the exits at LANDRECIS and a section of the 54th Battery RFA under Lt. Blewitt took up a position in line with our trenches near the centre. "C" Company was posted East of the road "D" Company and M.G. Section West of the road "A" Company in reserve 200 yards up the road, and "B" Company out to the front as covering party. …. At this time an aeroplane carrying French colours came swooping down over our position only 200-300 feet up. The Germans apparently opened fire on it, but directly after the aeroplane passed from left to right along the whole of our position and immediately after the Germans got the exact range of our trenches. It was not long before "B" Comapany was driven in and retired round the flanks but not before suffering some casualties.”

    Recollection of 9591 Pte. F.C. DAY (printed in the Regimental Journal)

    "I had a very rough time after that 26th August at Landrecies, when I was shot through both knees. I remember you (Lt. Col. R.M. Grazebrook OBE MC, then OC No 6 Platoon 'B' Coy.) tying your handkerchief around my leg before retiring. I must have passed out soon after, for it was quite dark before I knew anything about it and then could not move. I just remember seeing some of the Huns away to our right, so I think the shot must have come from there. I suppose I was one of the first men of the 28th to get wounded. I lay out there for 3 days and wondered if I should get back home for it seemed like weeks. The only company I had was a man named Holford; he died the same night; so it did look rather hopeless and worse still when I saw all those Germans charging with fixed bayonets and an officer on a horse with revolver levelled at me. They must have thought we were 2 scouts. After wanting to know where the Regiment was he gave orders for me to be taken to Landrecies. Before I was taken to hospital I was put in a cottage 2 doors from a house they were setting on fire and I told them it would have been better to have stopped in the fields than to be burnt to death. After a few days I had tetanus, pleurisy and pneumonia. By good luck some of our 5th Field Ambulance were prisoners there and they nursed me through the worst part before they were sent to Germany. Around Christmas I was sent to Le Cateau and remained there until February 1915, when I was repatriated with the first batch of returned prisoners.
    I lost my left leg through paralysis on the 26th August, just 12 months after being hit. After a long spell in hospital I was finally discharged in October 1916. My right leg is not too strong now, but I am able to get around on crutches and am otherwise in very good health."

    Gloucestershire War Diary 1914-15 by R.M. Grazebrook
    "I was therefore out alone with my platoon and was being enfiladed from my left. In consequence we had to get back, but was forced to leave behind Pte F. Day, who had been wounded n the right knee. Day was captured by the enemy, as he was left hidden away behind the hedges and out of sight of the cavalry who did rescue a certain number of our fellows. He was returned the next year as an exchange prisoner of war."

    Disabled Prisoners Return

    In December 1914 the British Government proposed a scheme to exchange British and German prisoners of war who were classified "physically incapacitated for further military service." The scheme was organised by the Red Cross and on
    14th February 1915 the first batch of British prisoners, 7 officers and 103 other ranks, were collected at Lingen, near the Dutch border, and the next day boarded a train which took them to Oldenzaal. A party of 20 Dutch doctors, medical students and Dutch Red Cross Reserve was sent from Amsterdam to take care of the men, and each prisoner was given a bowl of soup, fruit, chocolates, tobacco, a pipe and cigarettes.

    The train arrived at Flushing on 16th February 1915. At 8 am next morning the mail boat "Mecklenburg" of the Zeeland Company, transported the British prisoners to Folkestone. On disembarking the British prisoners they then took on board the Germans being exchanged. The men were taken by hospital train to London. On arriving at Charing Cross Station they found "hundreds of people gathered to welcome our wounded, and a loud cheer was raised as the ambulance train drew up at the platform. The Scottish motor ambulances stood in readiness and the wounded men were quickly transferred to them from the train.... It was a scene as moving as any that has been witnessed in London since the war began. The ambulances set off one by one ... each was greeted with a fresh burst of cheering as it passed through the station yard, and the men within replied by waving their hands." The men were taken to Queen Alexandra's Military Hospital in Grosvenor Road, Millbank. The next morning, the King and Queen arrived at the hospital. They visited each ward, briefly speaking to each one of the men.

    Among the men were “Pte. A. Hobbs 7705, Pte. F.C. Day 9591 & Pte. F. Saunders 9665, 1st Gloucestershire Regt.”

    Private Day was finally discharged 15th November 1916, aged 22. He was awarded Silver War Badge No.322,702. But the loss of a leg was not going to stop Francis Day from serving. He joined the Ampney Crucis Section of the Gloucestershire Special Constabulary. Serving through the Second World War, he received the Defence Medal and his Special Constabulary Long Service good Conduct Medal.

    His photograph was published in the Cheltenham Chronicle and Glo'shire Graphic of November 28th 1914. "Private F.C. Day 1st Gloucester Regiment, of Ampney Crucis, wounded in action, and missing since Aug. 26th."

    He was also photographed with the Ampney Crucis Section in the Gloucestershire Special Constabulary at the end of the war.
    His medals are: 1914 Star and clasp, British War Medal, Victory Medal, Defence Medal and Special Constabulary Long Service Medal.
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture Early 1914 casualty, POW and one-legged policeman   Early 1914 casualty, POW and one-legged policeman  

    Early 1914 casualty, POW and one-legged policeman  

  2. #2

    Default

    Brilliant historical group
    Regards,

    Jerry

    Whatever its just an opinion.

  3. #3

    Default

    a nice group and story.
    thanks for sharing.

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