William Davies

WILLIAM DAVIES (1883 - 1917)

Private William Davies served in the 22nd Battalion, Manchester Regiment. This was one of the 'Pals Battalions' originally formed by the Lord Mayor of Manchester on 20 November 1914. These specially created battalions were made up of men who had enlisted in local recruiting campaigns with the assurance that they would serve with their friends, neighbours and work colleagues. The thinking behind the drive to join a pals' battalion was that more men would enlist if they knew they would be going off to war with people they knew rather than strangers.

William was born in Macclesfield in 1883, the youngest child of Peter - a gardener - and Elizabeth Davies. By 1881, the family had moved to Manchester and were living in Hume, at 6, Hargreave Street. William was working as a groom when married Abigail Asquith, on 3 June 1905, in Chorlton. William and Abigail were living at 41, Cambridge Place, Salford, when their daughter Edith was born on 3 March 1906.

On 11 May 1915, one month short of his thirty-third birthday, William enlisted in Manchester for the Lancashire Fusiliers and joined his regimental barracks in Bury. However, just eleven days after joining the Regiment, William received a medical discharge from service as a result of "being not likely to become an efficient soldier". A second medical had discovered William had an inguinal hernia.

William did not sit out the War for in June 1916 he was accepted for service with the Manchester Regiment and was posted to France. As part of the 7th Division, William served on the Western Front, probably fighting in Battles on the Somme. In March 1917, William was involved in the fight to push the German army back to the Hindenburg Line. William was 'Killed in Action' during the 7th Division's attack at Croisilles in France, on 3 March; we do not know the circumstances of his death.

Commonwealth War Graves Commission records show that William was initially buried near the battlefield where he fell. His grave was marked with a simple cross and his name. In December 1919, William's body was exhumed and reburied, in Croisilles British Cemetery, with other servicemen who died in the same attack. His widow, Edith, as his next-of-kin, decided that William's headstone should include the words:

"Fresh in our hearts
Your memory clings"

Croisilles British Cemetery
Croisilles British Cemetery © CWG

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