We Have Our Lives

Charles Davies
  • Born Stoke Bishop, June 1887
  • Died nr. B├ęthune, France, 17th January 1916
  • Age28
  • RankSecond Lieutenant
  • RegimentWelsh Regiment
  • Unit9th Battalion

Charles Davies

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Charles Hugh Davies was the eldest son of Elinor and Thomas Davies. Thomas was a maths teacher, and the family lived in Stoke Bishop in North Bristol, which was the site of Bishop's Knoll Hospital during the war, the only privately owned hospital in the country to receive wounded soldiers directly from the front.

Charles went to study Classics at Magdalen College, Oxford, where he held a ‘Demyship’, a kind of scholarship. Charles was very well regarded by both his peers and teachers, and the Oxford Magazine noted after his death that Charles was “a very uncommon man, of singular ability and force”.

Once he graduated, Charles went to India to work in the Civil Service. In 1910, a year later, he relocated to Burma (now Myanmar) to work with the Burma Railways Volunteer Company. He “chose Burma deliberately as offering more colour and adventure”, and his work there “showed that he possessed a rare gift of sympathy with the Burmese national genius”. When war came he was determined to serve in the field, and despite the objections of the India Office, he returned to Britain to enlist. He was keen to get to the front as soon as possible, so enlisted as a Private in the Honourable Artillery Company, despite his Oxford education and leadership experience. He served in France, and was eventually commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Welsh Regiment.

On the 17th of January 1916, Charles was asleep in his dug-out when a piece of shrapnel from a bomb pierced the roof and hit his head. “Without recovering his consciousness his eager, keen spirit and the fire of his vivid personality were laid to an early rest”.

Writing to Thomas Davies to inform him of his son’s death, Charles’ Colonel related that he “had a very high opinion of him and his abilities as an officer. He was always willing to sacrifice himself, and ready to fill any dangerous post… We shall all of us feel his loss most deeply, both on account of his capacity as a soldier and his kindly qualities as a gentleman”.

Charles was buried at Le Touret Military Cemetery, near Béthune, France.