Private Albert William Davis

Service Army Service No. 443539
Rank Private
Regiment:Canadian Infantry, 29th Battalion
Date of Birth: 24/08/1887
Born Dawlish
Date of Death: 07/12/1917
Memorial: Dawlish Memorial Inscription DAVIS A.W. PTE. 29TH CAN.

Service History

There is a record that Albert Davis, aged 26, arrived in Quebec City in September 1913 aboard the ship Royal Edward.
Following the outbreak of war Albert William Davis enlisted with the 29th Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force on 9th June 1915. The Western Times of Tuesday 11 December 1917 reported that “after many rejections, on account of weak sight, he was accepted.” He was medically examined at Nelson, British Columbia, which lies between Vancouver and Calgary and one imagines that he had set about a new life in Western Canada.
“Earlier contingents, including the 2nd Division which contained the 29th Infantry Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force, had sailed for England and been trained on Salisbury Plain and at Shorncliffe before leaving for the front. Just after New Year’s Day, 1916, the Canadian Corps was strengthened by the addition of the Third Division, the formation of which had been authorized the preceding December.”

It appears that Albert Davis may have been seriously injured by shrapnel in an air raid later in 1917 and was brought back to Netley Hospital near Southampton, where he died. The following extract from the

The Western Times of Tuesday 11 December 1917 reported:

‘News reached Dawlish yesterday that Pte. Bert Davis (Canadian) had passed away at the Welsh Hospital, Netley. About three weeks ago his sister, Mrs Hedley Hoar, received official notification that he was gassed and injured in the spine with shrapnel. Up to Thursday last, he was reported to be making excellent progress, and the news of his death came as a great shock to his relatives. He was in Canada when war broke out, and, after many rejections, on account of weak sight, was accepted. He threw up a good berth, with excellent prospects. Before leaving Dawlish he was one of the most popular lads in the town. As an entertainer his services were greatly in demand for “smokers” and entertainments. His death will be keenly felt by Dawlish people who tender full sympathy to Mrs Hoar in her grief.’
There are further contemporary news items, including one of his funeral, in the ‘Documents’ section of this page.

Association with Dawlish

Albert William Davis was a Dawlish lad who lost his parents by his early twenties and then emigrated to Canada. Whatever might have been his dreams of a life there, they were rudely shattered by the start of the Great War and he returned to Europe to fight with Canadian forces.
Albert’s grandfather, William Cummins Davis (1815-1894) was a Town Porter and married Martha Butler (1819-1890). They had five children by the census of 1861: William (1846-), Joseph (Albert’s father)(1850-1899), Mary (1853-), Martha (1857-) and Elizabeth (1860-).
By the 1871 census they were living at 14 Park Street and Joseph was 21 and a carpenter. His younger sisters were dressmakers. In 1877 Joseph Benjamin Davis married Ann Bessie Lovell in Dawlish and he took work as a Railway Porter. In 1881 they were living in Manor Row with their first two children, Ida Mary (1879-) and Kathleen B (1880-). They had five children in all but three died and the two survivors (by 1911 census) were Ida Mary and Albert William Davis.

Devon Roll of Honour Davis, Albert William, Pte, Canadian Mil Forces, 7th Dec 1917, Netley
Additional Information Commonwealth War Graves Site

Next of Kin: Ida Mary Hoar, sister
Last Known Address: Canada

Canadian Infantry 29th Battalion badge

Grave surround in Dawlish Cemetery - A W Davis

Dawlish Boys' School Roll of Honour 1914-1919

Free birth, marriage & death refs.

British Newspaper Archive

Soldiers of the First World War, Canadian Government records

Dawlish Gazette 8th December and 15th December 1917

A Brief History of the Canadian Expeditionary Force

Refs via subscription websites:

Census extracts

Marriage refs