Private 9275 Harry Davies

Killed in Action on Wednesday, 28th March 1917, age 22.
Commemorated on Bay 6 of Arras Memorial, Pas De Calais, France.

1st Bn., South Staffordshire Regiment. 91st Brigade of 7th Division.

Son of William and Martha Davies, of 92 Horseley Road, Tipton, Staffs.
Born: Great Bridge, Enlisted: Lichfield, Resident: Great Bridge.

First landed France & Flanders, 11th November 1914.
Medal entitlement: 1914 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Not commemorated on any Tipton memorial.
Commemorated here because identified as Tipton on 'Soldiers Died in the Great War'.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-records/find-war-dead/casualty-details/746800/HARRY%20DAVIES/

Genealogical Data

Birth of Harry Davies registered March quarter 1895 in Dudley.

1901 Census
5 Limerick Passage, Great Bridge, Tipton, Staffs.
William Davies (28, Galvanizer, born Wolverhampton), his wife Martha (31, born West Bromwich), and their 5 children: Alma (11, born Tipton), William (9, born Tipton), Harry (6, born Tipton), Martha (4, born Tipton) and Susanna (11 months, born Tipton).

1911 Census
1 Court 4 House Ballfields, Great Bridge, Tipton, Staffs.
William Davies (39, Galvanizer, born Wolverhampton), his wife Martha - misspelt Marther (41, born Newtown, West Bromwich), and their 5 surviving children of 7: Harry (16, Furnace Mate at Tube Works, born Great Bridge), Martha Ann (14, born Great Bridge), Susanna (11, School, born Great Bridge), May (6, born Great Bridge) and Frederick (8 months, born Great Bridge).

Personal Data

The 1st South Staffs landed in Zeebrugge on 6th October 1914 having returned from their overseas posting at Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. As Harry did not land in France until 11th November 1914, it is likely that he was not a Regular soldier, but very possibly a Special Reservist. Special Reservists were part-time soldiers who signed up for a period of generally 6 years and began with 6-months full-time training. They then returned to civilian life with the commitment to be called up during a period of national emergency.

After Harry’s death, his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £7/4/9d (7 pounds, 4 shillings and 9 pence); this was shared equally between his mother, Martha Davies, and Phoebe Parkes, in August 1917. Martha and Phoebe were joint legatees in Harry’s will, so it can be assumed that Phoebe was Harry’s sweetheart. His War Gratuity was £12/0/0d (12 pounds exactly), this was also shared between his mother and Phoebe Parkes in December 1919. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that Harry had enlisted in August 1914.

A ‘Dependant’s Pension’ Card exists and records the Dependant as Mrs M. Davies, of 92 Horseley Road, Tipton, Harry’s mother. Although this appears to have been active until 1933, no monetary value for the pension is shown. This is possible as the death of a Martha Davies, age 61, is recorded in Dudley in June quarter 1933.

Action resulting in his death

The 1st South Staffs took up a front line position at St Leger on 27th March 1917, preparatory to an attack on Croisilles on the next day. During the course of that attack on the 28th March, 1 officer and 29 Other Ranks were killed in action, amongst them were three Tipton men, Davies, Glover and Jones.

Both Harry Davies and George Glover have no known grave and are commemorated on the Arras Memorial, Thomas Jones is buried in Bucquoy Road Cemetery at Ficheux. Thomas was initially buried at a location midway between St Leger and Croisilles but he was exhumed and re-interred at Bucquoy Road Cemetery in November 1919.

Operations narrative:
At 0545 a creeping barrage opened. 'A' Company were in two waves on the left, 'D' in two waves on the right. 'B' and 'C' Companies in support.

'D' Company met heavy rifle and machine gun fire. In spite of this they advanced a considerable distance. A supporting half-Company ['C'] were also in the attack. A party under 2/Lt Curry got up to the wire at T.23.c. The enemy counter-attacked but were driven off. Curry retired slightly to the sunken road at T.23.d.

'A' Company advanced over the road between T.22.A.2.7 and T.23.A.2.7, and went a distance towards the road in T.12.A and C. They were met by heavy front and enfilade machine gun fire. There was a gap now open between 'A' and 'D' Companies. The situation after 0700 was very obscure, and they were probably counter-attacked. In any case, the enemy got into the gap and behind 'A' Company. All except the left-hand platoon became casualties or were taken prisoner.

At 1500, a half-Company of the Queens, and two machine guns were ordered forward to relieve the pressure on 'D' Company. The Queens reported that they could not get into position, and returned to Battalion HQ.

During the whole day, the various parties of 'C' and 'D' Companies came under very heavy shell fire, and suffered high casualties. At dusk, 'B' Company took over the front line, and the rest were withdrawn to the quarry at St Leger. The Battalion, less 'B' Company, were relieved at 2000.

Newspaper Cuttings