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  • Buried in Woburn Abbey Cemetery.
Person Details
John McNaught-Davis lived with his wife Elizabeth and their family at ‘Willowmere House’ on Wyke Lane Farndon. They had ten boys and six girls. James was the ninth son. John was a traveller for the Sandeman Whiskey Distillery and for many years served in the Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry. He rose to the rank of Sergeant-Major and after his death the regiment commissioned a plaque in his honour which is still mounted on the north wall in St. Peter’s Church. It commemorates his thirty years’ service as sidesman and churchwarden and the forty years he spent in the Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry.
James attended Worksop College 1904-1912 where he was captain of the school, football, cricket and boxing teams as well as being a member of the School Officer Cadet Corps. From there he went to Cambridge University where again he distinguished himself in Rugby and boxing. He was contemplating a career in the church and during holidays he received some tuition from the Reverend Ping Rector of Thorpe.
17 Jan 1915
594388 - CWGC Website
4th Bn South Wales Borderers
He enlisted in the South Wales Borderers as a lieutenant and at first was posted to Pembroke Docks Barracks in an administrative role later being transferred to the Western Front. At one point a full battalion was reduced to 2 officers and 200 men. James had a narrow escape when a stray bullet glance off his belt, penetrated his tunic, grazed his stomach and ended up in his pocket. He brought it home as a souvenir. Following leave in January 1915, at Givenchy he was fatally wounded by a sniper’s bullet to the shoulder and stomach. He was dead within half an hour and his last reported words were 'Good old doctor. Sorry to trouble you'. He is buried in Woburn Abbey Cemetery Cuinchy Pas De Calais France Grave Reference: II A 8
Like a Swift Hurricane: People, Clergy and Class in a Midlands Dioceses 1914-1919. Michael Austin, Merton 2014. ISBN 978 189837 7 77: Page 154, letter from army chaplain, Rev HW Blackburn, to the parents of Lt James McNaught-Davis, South Wales Borderers, who was killed, age 23, in 1915. 'I can’t tell you how sorry I am for you; he was a really noble lad and I am so glad that I knew him. We were walking together only a day before he was killed, and he had been to several little celebrations of Holy Communion that I had been able to arrange from time to time. May God help you in your sorrow, for you must have loved your boy. He was very much liked by all, and several of the men spoke to me so nicely about him. I buried him in the much-shelled little village where he died. ‘Givouchy’ [Givenchy] and his grave is marked with a cross. It is all too sad, but he died for his country. Thank God, we can say "We believe in the Resurrection of the dead".’ Source for letter: Newark Advertiser, 27 January 1915 Article published 27th January 1915 in the Newark Advertiser :- Son of Mr & Mrs J. McNaught-Davis, Willowmere House, Farndon. Educated at St. Kenelm’s College, Oxford and afterwards went to St. Cuthbert’s College, Worksop, whom he captained at cricket and football. Later entered St. Catherine’s College, Cambridge, where he won a ‘Blue’ for boxing. Had leanings towards holy orders before deciding for a military career, studying to that end and joining the University Territorials. Just before the war he was given a commission in the South Wales Borderers. Left England with a draft on Nov. 9th and had some very rough times. Escaped death when a bullet struck the buckle on his tunic and lodged in his side pocket. Recently home on leave and departed again for France on January 13th.
Remembered on


  • Buried in Woburn Abbey Cemetery.
    James Walden Fortune McNaught-Davis - Buried in Woburn Abbey Cemetery.