Dennis Ivor Day and Miles Jeffrey Game Day

Dennis Ivor Day and Miles Jeffrey Game Day
Ivor (born 1892) was the second eldest, Jeffrey (born 1897) the youngest, of three sons and one daughter born to George Dennis Day and Margaret Jane (nee Davies). Their mother was called Meta, being the German or Scandinavian abbreviation for Margaret. George was a solicitor and St Ives Town Clerk, both occupations inherited from his father and grandfather. An amalgamation in 1989 created the current St Ives firm of Leeds Day Solicitors. The family home was at Rheola, in Pig Lane, now a care home.

One of the more well to do families of St Ives, in 1901 the family of six had a domestic cook, housemaid, parlourmaid and nurse. And that privilege extended to the children's education, both boys sent to boarding school at Sandroyd Prep School, Surrey and then Repton, Derbyshire. Ivor follow his older brother, George, to Cambridge, studying maths at St John's College.

All three boys enjoyed rowing along the River Great Ouse at St Ives. Both Ivor and George developed this talent at Cambridge. The Hunts Post of 11 July 1913 reported them rowing at the Henley Royal Regatta for the Lady Margaret Boat Club, winning the Wyfold Challenge Cup.

Ivor was clearly the more talented rower, recognised as the Varsity champion sculler and winner of the Colquhoun Sculls, as reported on 28 November 1913. He was part of the winning Cambridge crew for the Oxford v Cambridge boat race in 1914, receiving a hero's welcome when back in St Ives, as reported on 3 April 1914. Both Ivor and George won the Cambridge light pairs to much acclaim as reported on 15 May 1914.

Both parents were organisers. Meta was head of the St Ives Red Cross Hospital. George was Captain of the local Territorials and organised recruiting rallies. All three boys served in the war, George being the only one to survive. Initially he served with the Hunts Cyclists Battalion on coastal duties along the north east coast., being promoted to Captain and then Major. He was reported severely wounded by shrapnel in the Hunts Post of 12 April 1918.

Dennis Ivor Day

At the outbreak of war in August 1914 Ivor joined the Naval Division. In December 1914 he obtained a commission as a Second Lieutenant in the Royal Field Artillery, attached to the 24th Division, 106th Brigade. His first experience in France was from spring 1915. After returning to England in July 1915, he was back at the Front by August 1915.

On Saturday 25 September 1915, on the first day of the Battle of Loos, Ivor was acting as an artillery observer directing British shells onto German targets. This was a very dangerous task. Not only located in a forward position, at the very least the frontline trenches, peeping over whatever cover was available made Ivor vulnerable. Unfortunately he came to the attention of a German sniper, who shot him through the eye.

He was hospitalised in Boulogne. Both parents travelled to be at his bedside. His injuries were reported in two articles in the Hunts Post on 8 October 1915 and again 8 October 1915. Unfortunately, Ivor never regained consciousness and died on Thursday 7 October 1915, aged 23yrs.

On the day of Ivor's funeral all businesses in St Ives closed for an hour. Several thousands turned out to pay their respects, effectively the whole of the town. The Hunts Post of 15 October 1915 gave a full report of the funeral, including a tribute to Ivor and poetry written about his rowing achievements. Ivor is buried in Broad Lees cemetery.

Do you have any additional information about Ivor? If so, please get in touch via the make contact page.

Miles Jeffrey Game Day

Jeffrey joined the Royal Navy aged 18yrs straight from Repton in 1915. He received his Royal Aero Club Aviator's Certificate in October 1915, flying a Caudron biplane.

Initially stationed aboard the seaplane carrier Vindex based out of Harwich, Jeffrey was promoted to Flight Lieutenant in December 1916 on the back of his reputation as a skilled and daring pilot. Dissatisfied at lack of action at Harwich, Jeffrey got transferred to the light cruiser Cassandra as sole airman and navigator, then to the experimental air station at RNAS Kingsnorth late in 1917.

Another transfer in December 1917 brought him the action he craved. Joining No. 13 Squadron RNAS based at Dunkirk, during January and February 1918 he scored five victories flying a Sopwith Camel as shown below. As a result he was appointed a Flight Commander.
  3 January 1918 - German 2-seater out of control at Dunkirk
25 January 1918 - German Fokker Triplane out of control at Staden
30 January 1918 - German 2-seater destroyed two miles north of Ostende
   2 February 1918 - German Rumpler 2-seater captured at Oostkerke
19 February 1918 - German seaplane destroyed in flames east of Ostende 
The 2 February incident was reported in the Hunts Post on 15 February 1918.

Jeffrey was the most famous WWI air service war poet. Initially writing humorous verse, his writing became more serious as he related his love of flying. The death of his older brother was a shattering experience. 'To My Brother' is a haunting poem, its theme Jeffrey's longing for contact with Ivor and their shared experiences boating along the River Great Ouse. Anyone from the area will identify with his descriptions of the river.  Other noted poems were 'The Call of the Air', 'The North Sea', 'On the Wings of the Morning', and 'An Airman's Dream''Poems and Rhymes' by Jeffrey Day was published in 1919.

On Wednesday 27 February 1918 Jeffrey was leading a flight of five British aircraft when they encountered six German 2-seaters 25 miles north of Dunkirk. He engaged them single-handedly. It is believed his aim was to break up the German formation and make it easier for his less experienced comrades to engage. Jeffrey's machine burst into flames. He nose-dived, then flattened out to land on the sea. Climbing out of his burning aircraft, he waved his fellow pilots back to base. An air-sea search was launched within an hour, but no trace of Jeffrey or his aircraft was ever found. He was aged just 21yrs.

His loss was reported by the Hunts Post on 8 March 1918 and 8 March 1918. A letter giving more details was published on 15 March 1918. He was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Cross as reported on 22 March 1918. The Hunts Post published a tribute to Jeffrey on 12 April 1918.

Do you have any additional information about Jeffrey? If so, please get in touch via the make contact page.

Source materials
Click any of the links below to view original source materials.
1901 Census
1911 Census - Dennis Ivor Day
1911 Census - Miles Jeffrey Game Day
De Ruvigny's Roll of Honour - Dennis Ivor Day
Commemorative Certificate - Dennis Ivor Day
Commonwealth War Graves Register - Dennis Ivor Day
Commemorative Certificate - Miles Jeffrey Game Day
1918 Edinburgh Gazette - Miles Jeffrey Game Day

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