About fifteen crow-flown miles separate the places where Jabez ARNOLD and William DAY first drew breath, Jabez in Meppershall, Bedfordshire and William in Wheathampstead, Hertfordshire. Their fathers were labourers and their mothers plaited straw. There is no telling if their paths crossed before they enlisted in the 1/89th Regiment of Foot but around 1880 they found themselves posted to Warrington, on the border of Lancashire and Cheshire.
The Orford Barracks, aka Peninsula Barracks, was what we’d describe today as “family friendly”. Jabez married Elizabeth Annie PAYNE on Christmas Day 1880 and their three children were born surrounded by soldiers. The third child, a boy, had only just been conceived when his father died – and was named Jabez.
William DAY married Elizabeth Annie about nineteen months after the death of Jabez senior and provided the three Arnold children with seven siblings. At the 1891 census, only young Jabez was part of the Day household – and he had taken his step-father’s name. On the 1911 census form, William stated that he and Elizabeth Annie had ten children, of whom seven were living. However, when Jabez junior died in 1925 aged 39, he went into the register as ‘ARNOLD’.
I don’t know how many years William served in the army. In 1891 he was still a Private in the King’s Liverpool Regiment (the 89th Foot re-named). Ten years later he was working as a Maltsman in Warrington and in 1911 he gave his occupation as ‘Labourer’.
Find the two soldiers on the FamilySearch Tree attached to Elizabeth Annie.
In 1891 William gave his birthplace as No Man’s Land, an area of common land where the Yorkists were defeated in the Wars of the Roses,(Second Battle of St Albans), and where artillery trained during the First World War. William going for a soldier was perhaps somehow pre-destined.