|Date of Birth:||c. 1785|
|Billets:||Leader of the riflemen aboard Laetificat|
The Aerial Corps tended to be wary of outsiders, a situation made more complicated by their awareness that Navy officers and sailors often looked down on aviators. Portland, the senior captain at Gibraltar, preferred to avoid the difficulty of introducing a naval officer of thirty or so into the Corps. When he received word that Laurence had harnessed Temeraire, he took Laetificat and their crew to Madeira, with the intention of presenting Lieutenant Dayes to Temeraire as his new captain. In order to facilitate Temeraire's acceptance of the replacement, Laurence was not even allowed to say good-bye to Temeraire.
It is possible that the dispatch sent to Portland by Admiral Croft, a naval officer with no experience of dragons, merely mentioned that Laurence had harnessed Temeraire and did not add that he had been flying with the dragon daily, reading to him and buying him jewellery.
In any event, Temeraire did not accept Dayes' story that Laurence did not like dragons and had preferred to return to the Navy. When Dayes attempted to take the gold and pearl chain that Laurence had given Temeraire, Temeraire put Dayes out of the field where Temeraire was staying. He then became concerned that Dayes would manage to keep Laurence away, since Temeraire did not know how to find Laurence.
Having failed to win Temeraire, Dayes had lost his chance to be allowed to harness another hatchling unless he managed to win a second chance under fire, which was unlikely. When Laurence returned at Portland's request, Dayes was in a fury and insulted Laurence as an "untrained Navy clodpole." Laurence attempted to challenge him to a duel, as he would have if he had received a similar insult from another naval officer. However, Portland asked the other officers to remove Dayes from the scene and informed Laurence of the Corps' prohibition against dueling. After some discussion, Portland apologized and expressed hope that Dayes would apologize too. Laurence agreed to accept an apology if offered. (He thought twice about this offer shortly afterwards, when he saw how distressed Temeraire was and when Temeraire informed Laurence that Dayes had lied to him and claimed that Laurence only flew with him out of duty.)
Dayes had struck up a friendship with John Granby during Granby's service aboard Laetificat. Granby's loyalty to Dayes led to some initial friction between Laurence and Granby during Laurence's first several weeks at the Loch Laggan covert.