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  • Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial.  Photograph Tony Lumb.
Person Details
25 Dec 1891
Skegby Nottinghamshire
Leonard was the son of George and Emily Davies nee Grocott. Both his parents were born in Dawley, Shropshire, George in about 1860 and Emily in 1862 (registered J/A/S Madeley). They were married in 1886 (J/F/M), marriage registered Madeley, Shropshire, and by the time of the 1911 Census had had nine children of whom only seven had survived. Seven children were named on the census of 1891, 1901 and 1911; Ernest George, probably known as George (b. abt. 1887, Dawley), Leonard (born 25 December 1891, bap. 24 January 1892, Skegby), Jane (bap. 14 May 1893, Skegby), Arthur (bap. 12 May 1895, Skegby), Lillian Maud (b. 24 July 1896, bap 14 August 1896, Skegby), Reginald (b. 30 September 1897, bap. 14 November 1897, Skegby) and Emily (b. 12 July 1903, baptised 3 August 1903, Skegby). Although George and Emily were in Dawley, Shropshire, in 1887 when Ernest was born the three of them were living on Fackley(?) Road, Skegby, by the time of the 1891 Census. Also in the household was a 14 year old general domestic servant, Susan Trant, who also came from Shropshire. By the time of the 1901 Census their home was at Manor View, Skegby. George (41) was a coal miner. He and Emily had six children; Ernest (14) a coal miner hewer, Leonard (9), Jane (7), Arthur (6), Lilian (4) and Reginald (3). By 1911 the family had moved to 120 Stanton Hill, Skegby. George was now working as a school caretaker. He and Emily now had seven children, five of whom were at home on the night of the census; Leonard (19), a coal miner runner, Arthur (15) a miner ganger, Lilian (14), 'at home', Reginald (13) a miner ganger, and Emily (7). The eldest surviving son, Ernest, had married Mary Jane Adamson in 1908 (J/A/S Mansfield). Ernest (24) was a coal miner loader and he and Mary Jane (bap. 15 December 1888, Skegby) and their two sons, Leonard (2) and Ronald (3 months) were living at Ropers Yard, Skegby. The eldest surviving girl, Jane, has not yet been traced on the 1911 Census. Leonard's father, George, died at the age of 52 the following year (death registered A/M/J 1912, Mansfield). On Leonard's death in 1914 the Register of Soldiers' Effects shows that payments were made to his widowed mother, Emily, and to his brothers, Arthur, Reginald and George [Ernest George] and sisters Emily, Lilian Maud and Jane. His mother, Emily, died in 1935 aged 72 (registered September, Mansfield). Of Leonard's siblings: Ernest died in 1959 aged 72 (death registered December, Mansfield), a few months after his wife Mary Jane (death registered June 1959, Mansfield). Jane Davies probably married Lewis G Byng in 1913 (registered A/M/J Mansfield) and died aged 85 in 1979 (death registered March, Nottingham). Arthur married Rose H Rhodes in 1916 (marriage registered A/M/J Mansfield) and in 1919 they had a son whom they named Arthur Leonard (b. 27 April 1919, Skegby, d. 1991). Arthur senior died on 12 July 1936 at the age of 41. Probate: 'Davies Arthur of 8 Mansfield-road, Skegby Nottinghamshire died 12 July 1936 at the General Hospital Nottingham Probate Nottingham 8 August to Reginald Davies [brother] cycle dealer and William Marsden Frecklinton [brother in law] butcher. Effects £733 15s. 2d.' Lilian Maud married William M Frecklinton in 1925 (O/N/D Mansfield). She died in 1974 aged 78 (death registered September, Mansfield). William served in the 1st Notts Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry (2014/27538) during the war. He was in Egypt from 27 December 1915 and was not discharged from the army until 16 July 1919 (1915 Star, BWM, VM). Reginald died in 1977 aged 79 (death registered March, Mansfield). Emily has not yet been positively traced although an Emily Weightman, born in 12 July 1903, died aged 79 in 1983 (death registered June, Mansfield).
In 1911 he was a miner. He became a school caretaker at Stanton Hill schools employed by Nottinghamshire County Council (Education Committee) - possibly replacing his father who died in 1912 - but may have continued to work as a miner as his occupation when he joined the RFA in 1914 was given as miner.
17 Nov 1914
22
1609288 - CWGC Website
76990
He enlisted in Nottingham
Gunner
116th Bty Royal Field Artillery
According to the Register of Soldiers' Effects he enlisted on 20 March 1914 although the County Council records suggest that he was still employed as a caretaker at Stanton Hill Schools at the outbreak of war. He served with the BEF in France from 16 August 1914 and was killed in action on 17 November the same year. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial. He qualified for the 1914 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal.
Spelling of surname varies: CWGC/NCC memorial Davies, NCC register/christening registers/UKSDGW/Medal Roll Davis although the Medal Rolls (2 records) have a note on the record that the correct surname is 'Davies'. The family seems to have habitually used the spelling 'Davies' by 1911 and perhaps as early as 1901. Gunner Leonard Davies, 116th Battery, 26th Brigade Royal Field Artillery, wrote to a family friend with some of his experiences since landing in France on 16th August 1914; Davies was looking forward to Christmas Day, his birthday. He did not live to see it, being killed in action on 17th November 1914. “Dear Friend, “I have a little time to spare, so I am writing you while I have the chance. Well, I am still in good health and so far not hurt. I have had so many near escapes that I think myself a very lucky man. This war gets worse; it is most awful. I think I must be looking 10 years older, but I shall not mind that so long as God spares my life and am able to come home and see you all again. I have plenty of news, but of course I cannot tell you. After this is ended my one wish will be to try and forget all this. If you could have seen the sight I saw yesterday your blood would have run cold. Such things I see about every day. Fancy now I can see myself out here for Christmas Day, my birthday. I know it will not seem nice for the home people, but I hope you will all try and enjoy yourselves. We know we are thought of by the people at home; we want no more. My word, we cannot see for shell and rifle bullets at times; and this sort of thing lasts for days, being very trying to the nerves. We hope it will soon end. Some Germans have been captured this week, and no mistake some of them quite boys. I have a German helmet and hope to keep it, as it belonged to one of our prisoners; good luck to him. Please remember me to all friends. I have no more to say, so I must close. Good luck. God is very merciful to a lot of us, and we have a lot to be thankful for. Tell Ma I have my letters and parcels.” Above letter published in the Nottingham Free Press dated 27th November 1914 is courtesy of Jim Grundy and his facebook pages Small Town Great War Hucknall 1914-1918. 'In Memoriam' notices from his mother, brother and sisters were placed in the local paper in 1916 and 1917. Listed on the Nottinghamshire County Council register of employees who served (Nottinghamshire Archives, ref CC CL 2 /12/1/1). Nottinghamshire County Council, minutes of Education Committee Elementary 27 July 1915, item 15 'Roll of Honour': 'It is with great regret that the Committee records the death in action of ... Driver L Davies of the RFA, the caretaker of the Stanton Hill Schools.' His mother, Emily, was his legatee although small payments were also made to his siblings.
Remembered on

Photos

  • Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial.  Photograph Tony Lumb.
    Leonard Davies - Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial. Photograph Tony Lumb.