Rifleman R/13958 Albert Davies

Davies Albert DP 96
Plaque photograph courtesy of Don Davies. For further photograph, see bottom of page.

Died of Wounds on Thursday, 21st March 1918, age 24.
Commemorated on Panel 61 to 64 of Pozieres Memorial, Somme, France.

8th Bn., King's Royal Rifle Corps. 41st Brigade of 14th Division.

Son of Mr and Mrs Davies, of 51 Peel Street, Dudley Port, Tipton, Staffs.
Born: Tipton, Enlisted: Tipton, Resident: Unknown.

First landed France & Flanders, 26th February 1916.
Medal entitlement: British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives survived and transcribed.

Commemorated on the Tipton Library Memorial.
Commemorated here because he appears on a Tipton memorial.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/1579703/

Genealogical Data

1901 Census
32 & 33 Boscobel Street, Tipton, Staffs.
John Davies (42, Ironworks Puddler, born Tipton), his wife Nancy (40, born Tipton), and their 11 children: Daniel (17, Iron Moulder, born Tipton), William (14, Stocktaker, born Tipton), Lily (12, born Tipton), Harold (10, born Tipton), Ernest (9, born Tipton), Albert (7, born Tipton), Horace (5, born Tipton), Elsie (4, born Tipton), Harry (2, born Tipton), Gladys (1, born Tipton), and Frank (7 months, born Tipton).

1911 Census
51 Peel Street, Dudley Port, Tipton, Staffs.
John Davies (52, Stoker at Waterworks, born Tipton), his wife Nancy (50, born Tipton), and 11 of their 12 children: Daniel (27, Iron Moulder, born Tipton), Lily (22, born Tipton), Harold (20, Engineering Clerk, born Tipton), Ernest (19, Iron Moulder, born Tipton), Albert (17, Grocer's Assistant, born Tipton), Horace (15, Apprentice Fitter, born Tipton), Elsie (14, School, born Tipton), Harry (12, School, born Tipton), Gladys (11, School, born Tipton), Frank (10, School, born Tipton), and Alice (7, School, born Tipton).

Personal Data

There are 2 Tipton casualties named A Davies. One of them is correctly commemorated on the Tipton Library Memorial, the other was mis-spelt as A Davis.

Albert's brother, Ernest Davies, was also killed. Click here for Ernest's detail page: Ernest Davies.

Albert enlisted with the King's Royal Rifle Corps on 2nd June 1915 in Tipton. He was 21 years and 122 days old, 5 feet 4 inches tall with a 35-inch chest, and weighed 130 pounds. His physical development was described as ‘good’ and his eye sight perfect, he was employed as a Shop Manager.

Albert first reported to the Depot Battalion, King’s Royal Rifle Corps at Winchester on 9th June 1915, and 3 days later was posted to the 14th (Reserve) Battalion for training. On 26th February 1916 Albert landed in France and was posted as a reinforcement to 7th Battalion, King’s Royal Rifle Corps (7/KRRC) in 14th (Light) Division. Just the next day, 27th February, Albert was admitted to No. 20 General Hospital at Camiers with Scabies. He re-joined his unit after a 9-day stay in hospital.

Albert was charged with ‘Improper Conduct’ on 30th June 1916 (5 days loss of pay) and ‘having by neglect.. (presumably lost an item of equipment)’ on 2nd November 1916 (2 days loss of pay). Despite these charges Albert was appointed Lance-Corporal (unpaid) on 16th April 1917, and granted Proficiency Pay on 1st July 1917.

On 10th October 1917, just 2 days before his unit went into action at the First Battle of Passchendaele, Albert received a Gun Shot Wound to his left shoulder. After treatment at No. 3 Casualty Clearing Station and No. 84 General Hospital, Albert was evacuated back to England on 15th October aboard Hospital Ship Peter de Conick.

For the first month, Albert underwent treatment at No. 2 Military Hospital at Old Park, Canterbury. After about 3 months Albert returned to France. He arrived at the Infantry Base Depot on 20th January 1918, and then arrived at III Corps Reinforcement Camp on 23rd January before being posted to the 8th Battalion, KRRC, on 29th January. Albert served with 8/KRRC for the remainder of his time abroad.

After Albert's death, his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £6/0/2d (6 pounds and 2 pence); this was paid to his mother, Nancy, in November 1919. His War Gratuity was £16/0/0d (16 pounds exactly), this was also paid to his mother in November 1919. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that Albert had enlisted in October 1914. Albert's mother was also awarded a Dependant's Pension of 9/0d (9 shillings) per week commencing on 10th December 1918.

Action resulting in his death

On the morning of 21st March 1918 the Germans launched their 'Spring Offensive', an attempt to force a break-through before American troops became effective. A terrific German bombardment commenced at 4.40am, then the Germans advanced in thick fog. Their fast-moving infantry broke through and forced an Allied retreat, thousands were killed and more captured.

The 14th (Light) Division had only just arrived in St. Quentin from Ypres, all three Brigades were in the Forward and Battle Zone about 3 miles south-east of St. Quentin. The very front of the line, near Itancourt, was occupied by the 8th and 9th King's Royal Rifle Corps and they received the main weight of the German attack.

At 9.00 am the Germans entered the front line and soon completed its capture. The 8th and 9th KRRC fell back about 2 miles south-west to Urvillers where they resisted the German advance. It was 4pm before the few posts held by the 8th KRRC in Urvillers were abandoned, and Urvillers fell to the Germans. By the end of the day, the 14th Division was ordered to fall back another 6 miles and to hold the line of the Crozat Canal at Liez and Jussy.

Albert was one of 51 men of the 8th King's Royal Rifles killed on 21st March, like many of these men Albert has no known grave and is commemorated on the Pozieres Memorial on the Somme.

Newspaper Cuttings

Birmingham Daily Post 12th November 1917
The following casualties amongst warrant officers, non-commissioned officers, and men are reported under various dates:
KING'S ROYAL RIFLE CORPS- Davies, 13958, Lce-Corpl., A., (Tipton).

Tipton Herald 19th October 1918
Mr and Mrs Davies, 51 Peel Street, Dudley Port, have received sad news of the death of their son, Ernest Davies (Bombardier RFA) killed in action while taking his gun into position on October 5th. Prior to joining the Army he was a member of the Park Lane Sunday Morning Adult School, also a member of the Tipton Park Bowling Club. He was respected by all who knew him, and is deeply mourned by his people. He has four brothers now serving in the British Army.

Davies family 1905 96
Davies family, picture taken around 1905. Courtesy of Don Davies.