Queen’s South Africa 1899-1902, 3 clasps, Orange Free State, Defence of Mafeking, Transvaal (343 Corpl: A. Day. Protect: Regt. F.F.), nearly extremely fine £1,200-1,500
Arthur Day served with ‘B’ Squadron of the Protectorate Regiment Frontier Force and was present at the Defence of Mafeking. He was likely among those men led by Captain Charles FitzClarence on a daring rescue mission which contributed to the latter’s affectionate nickname of the ‘The Demon of Mafeking’ (Lord Ashcroft’s “Hero of the Month”, Brigadier-General Charles FitzClarence, refers).
The citation for the V.C. to FitzClarence takes up the story:
‘On the 14th October, 1899, Captain FitzClarence went with his squadron of the Protectorate Regiment, consisting of only partially trained men, who had never been in action, to the assistance of an armoured train which had gone out from Mafeking. The enemy were in greatly superior numbers, and the squadron was for a time surrounded, and it looked as if nothing could save them from being shot down. Captain FitzClarence, however, by his personal coolness and courage inspired the greatest confidence in his men, and, by his bold and efficient handling of them, not only succeeded in relieving the armoured train, but inflicted a heavy defeat on the Boers, who lost 50 killed and a large number wounded, his own losses being 2 killed and 15 wounded. The moral effect of this blow had a very important bearing on subsequent encounters with the Boers.
On the 27th October, 1899, Captain FitzClarence led his squadron from Mafeking across the open, and made a night attack with the bayonet on one of the enemy’s trenches. A hand-to-hand fight took place in the trench, while a heavy fire was concentrated on it from the rear. The enemy was driven out with heavy loss. Captain FitzClarence was the first man into the position and accounted for four of the enemy with his sword. The British lost 6 killed and 9 wounded. Captain FitzClarence was himself slightly wounded. With reference to these two actions, Major-General Baden-Powell states that had this Officer not shown an extraordinary spirit and fearlessness the attacks would have been failures, and we should have suffered heavy loss both in men and prestige.’