January 30, 2013
Lost and found
One of the things I love the most about writing articles about history is that you never know when another tantalising piece of the jigsaw will appear. This happened to me recently. Last year I wrote about Evan Lloyd Davies who built the house next door. Evan was a local teacher and after his marriage in 1913, he and his wife had the house built ready for their life together. When the First World War broke out Evan joined up and tragically he died in action. Shortly after Evan’s story was published in Family Tree magazine a local historian got in contact to tell me about a photo of Evan in the library. I immediately dashed over there and was delighted to ‘see’ him for the very first time.
Evan Davies enlisted in the Royal Berkshire Regiment just after the birth of his son and left for France with the 1st/4th Battalion in March 1915. In August 1916 Evan was fighting with his battalion in a fierce battle on the Somme when one of their trenches was taken. Surrounded by enemy fire Evan and his surviving comrades had to make their way up a communications trench while still under attack. At a decisive moment Lance Corporal Davies crossed the open under fire to get a supply of bombs, which were then used to put the enemy’s machine gun out of action. For this heroic act he was awarded the Military Medal.
During the same battle Evan received a gunshot wound to the head and was repatriated to England where he died of his injuries just six days before the Armistice. I visited his grave in Reading cemetery and although he wasn’t even a member of my family I felt sad at his loss. It’s amazing to have a picture of this brave man who gave his life for his country.