Rifleman Archibald Frederick Davies

Service Army Service No. 552746
Rank Rifleman
Regiment:London Regiment, Queen's Westminster Rifles, 1st/16th Battalion
Date of Birth: 01/09/1881
Born Dawlish
Date of Death: 02/12/1917
Memorial: Dawlish Memorial Inscription DAVIES A.F. RFN. LON.Q.W.RFLS

Service History

It is not clear when Archibald enlisted with the London Regiment (Queen's Westminster Rifles), 1st/16th Bn. He was with a Trench Mortar Battery when he was killed “instantaneously” in the final phase of the battle of Cambrai. A regimental war diary shows that the battalion had been in action on the 30th November and were withdrawn fron the front line and resting on 1st and 2nd December, but there was one casualty from other ranks (O.R.) on the 1st and two O.R. on the 2nd December. The diary for the 30th November records the lack of anti-aircraft fire against patrolling enemy aircraft and it may be that shrapnel from a bomb may have caught Archibald Davies unawares?

Association with Dawlish

Archibald Frederick DAVIES was the eldest son of Frederick Alexander and Mary Jane Davies.

F A Davies was born in Clerkenwell, Islington, London in 1852 (GRO Oct-Dec 1852, Islington, London, vol 1b, page 250) and trained as a printer.

Frederick Alexander Davies married Mary Jane Knight in Dawlish in the April- June quarter of 1881 (GRO Ref N.A., Vol 5b, page 287).

Mary Jane Knight was the daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth Knight. Thomas Knight (1817-1852) was a machine maker and he married Elizabeth Tucker (1817- ) and they lived in South Molton. Elizabeth was born in Kings Nympton and she and Thomas had two daughters, Mary Jane (1853-1932) and Louise Elizabeth**(1849-1901). Mary Jane Knight was born in South Molton (GRO ref 1853, Jan-Mar, vol 5b, p 438).

After the death of Thomas Knight in 1852, Elizabeth married again, to James Vile. She had been living with him as his servant at Cooks Cross, South Molton in 1861. At that date she was working as a plain needlewoman and Mary Jane Knight was still at school, aged 8.

In 1871 Mary Knight was a housemaid to Elizabeth Vile (formerly Knight) at 12 Marine Parade.

In 1881 Mary Jane Knight was still living with her mother, Elizabeth Vile at 1 Brookdale Terrace, Dawlish where her mother was a lodging-house keeper.

Mary Jane Knight married Frederick Alexander Davies in 1881 and it is possible that he had moved to establish a business as a photographer, for that is how he appears in the 1891 census at 9 Marine Parade:

Frederick A Davies, Head, 37 Photographer born London

Mary J Davies wife 37 born South Molton

Archibald son 9 born Dawlish

Mabel dau 8 “

Herbert C son 4 “

Dora E dau 2 “

Annie Ray visitor 9 born Chelsea
By 1901 there was one more child, Lilian M Davies, born in Dawlish ca 1892, and Archibald was no longer listed at home. He may have already, at age 19, left to study law in London where we find him in 1911, living at 54 The Crescent, Wimbledon Park, S W London with his wife Lilian, nee Page. They were married at St John’s Church, World’s End, Chelsea on April 10th, 1909.

Archibald Frederick Davies is mentioned in an article in the Dawlish Gazette (see Documents) as “confidential clerk to a well-known firm of London solicitors, by whom he was held in the highest esteem.” It also appears that Archibald and Lilian Davies had a son ca 1913.


Devon Roll of Honour Davies, Archibald Fredk, Rifm, London Regt, 2nd Dec 1917, France
Additional Information Commonwealth War Graves Site

Next of Kin: Lilian Davies, wife
Last Known Address: 54 The Crescent, Wimbledon Park, S W London

City of London Queen's Westminster Rifles - badge

A F Davies marriage

Dawlish Boys' School Roll of Honour 1914-1919

Birth marriage death refs

Dawlish Gazette collection in Dawlish Museum

The Battle of Cambrai

refs via subscription websites:

Census records

Regimental War Diary

Marriage record, Chelsea 1909

UK, Army Registers of Soldiers’ Effects

Probate records