Tag Archives: Victoria Cross

George Fiott Day V.C. C.B.

George Fiott Day was one of the first recipients of the Victoria Cross.  He was born in Southampton in 1819 or 1820 and joined the Royal Navy as a volunteer in 1833.  The first ship he sailed on was wrecked off the coast of Patagonia in 1835. He then served off the west coast of Africa, followed by six and a half years in the Mediterranean Sea from 1838.  He returned to the coast of Africa for three years from 1845 and then travelled across to the eastern coast of South America. In 1854 he sailed to the Baltic Sea and then to the Mediterranean Sea. 

The Crimean War was in progress when George arrived as a Lieutenant on HMS Recruit in the Black Sea in 1855.  On the night of 17th September 1855 he went ashore alone at Genitchi, Crimea on a reconnaissance mission to check out the batteries, bridge and Russian gunboats on the Arabat Spit in the Sea of Azov.  He had to cross 4 or 5 miles of swampy ground and wade through water, which was knee deep in places, in order to get close enough to see the enemy position.  It was only lightly defended and undermanned.  He decided that a surprise attack would be feasible but when he carried out another reconnaissance mission on the night of 19th September he discovered that the gunboats were fully manned and that the Russians were on the alert.  On this occasion the weather was cold and squally, his mission took much longer and he returned exhausted from it.  The planned attack was called off.  George Fiott Day was awarded the Victoria Cross in 1857 for his reconnaissance missions at Genitchi.  He was promoted to the rank of Commander in November 1855.

George Fiott Day served off Africa again in 1857 and in 1858 he sailed to China.  He married Mary Ruddell-Todd in 1858 and they had three daughters.  He retired due to ill health in 1867 with the rank of Captain.  In 1875 he was appointed Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB) by Queen Victoria.  The same year he moved to Weston-super-Mare with his wife and daughters.  He died at the Anchor Head Hotel in Claremont Crescent, Weston-super-Mare on 18th December 1876, aged 56.  He was buried in Milton Road Cemetery in Weston-super-Mare but his grave had no headstone until 2002 when a ceremony was held to unveil one.

Hotel where George Day lived and died
Anchor Head Hotel George Day lived and died on this site
Blue Plaque George Day
Commemorative blue plaque on the Anchor Head Hotel
Gravestone George Fiott Day
George Fiott Day Grave, Milton Cemetary