Clifford Day was born on 27th November 1897 in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset. He was one of eleven children to John and Sophia Day. John initially worked as a general labourer for a stonemason, but by the time of the 1911 census, he had begun working for a gas company. The family, at this point, were living in a five-room house a short distance from the town centre.
Living in a large household, a dream of escape may have fermented in young Clifford’s mind. To see some of the world, he joined the Royal Navy on 3rd September 1913. Given he was only fifteen, he was too young to formally enlist, but he was given the rank of Boy, and set to work.
Clifford’s service papers confirmed that he stood at 4ft 11ins (1.48m) tall, had brown hair, brown eyes and a fresh complexion. It was also noted that he had a scar on his forehead.
Boy Day’s service began on HMS Impregnable, when he spent nine months learning the ropes. He moved on to HMS Gibraltar in May 1914, before transferring to HMS Vivid – the shore-based establishment in Devonport – at the outbreak of the First World War.
On 3rd October 1914, Clifford was assigned to the battlecruiser HMS Tiger. He was on board for only three weeks, when he was taken back to HMS Vivid, and sent to the Naval Hospital there. He was admitted with a fractured skull, sadly passing the next day – the 26th October 1914 – at the age of just 16 years old. I’ve been unable to locate any further information about his injury, other than that an inquest found that it was accidental death.
Clifford Day was brought back to Weston-super-Mare for burial. He was laid to rest in the Milton Road Cemetery in the town.