Today’s blog continues our series on Lampeter alumni who served in WWI, by Amy Kirby, who is studying for her BA in Heritage with Museums and Archives at UWTSD Lampeter. Amy is volunteering at the Rodierc Bowen Libray and Archives and she will be producing a series of blog posts on her research there.
John Charles Davies was born in Lampeter on the 22nd of July 1893 to Walter and Agnes, he was an only child. The family between 1901 and 1911 census had moved to London House on Harford Square from 59 College Street.
Walter Davies was the owner of a local draper’s shop and was later voted Mayor of Lampeter in 1911.
John was educated at Towyn County School before enrolling at St. David’s College on the 13th of October 1911. In August 1914 John joined the London Regiment of the Universities Public Schools Battalion, an example of ‘pal’s Battalion’ where friends and contemporaries will enlist together.
On 26th of July John was commissioned to the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, subsequently he was sent to France on the 11th of March 1916 where is joined the 10th Battalion that was attached to the 76 Brigade, 25th division (later the 3rd Division). He first trained at Codford St. and spent the winter in billets in Bournemouth and then moved onwards to Romsey on the 29th of April 1915. Finally, he transferred on the 3rd of June 1915 to Aldershot for final training. John took part of the battle of Albert, Bazentin, Delville Wood and the Battle of the Ancre.
After seven months in France John survived the first battle of the Somme. During a hiatus John had returned to Wales to marry Olive Gwynedd Davies on the 1st of October 1916 at St. Peters Church in Carmarthen. The service was performed by Reverend Mr Griffiths with the assistance of Reverend Mr Edwards and Lampeter’s senior Curate, Reverend Mr Evans. John, now Edmund-Davies, returned to active duty after honeymooning in Langland Bay on the South Coast of Wales.
Between the 9th of April and 16th of May, the 10th Battalion fought in the Battle of Arras. John was severely wounded on the first day of offence at Vimy Ridge. He died three days later of his injuries in Abbeville Hospital on the 12th of April 1917 at the age of 23.
John was buried in Abbeville Communal Cemetery Extension, he is commemorated on the St. David’s College Chapel memorial and the town war memorial. The college minutes on the 8th of May 1917 printed ‘votes of condolence were passed with mister Walter Davies, London House. Lampeter, on the death of his son from wounds received in action’.