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  • Buried in Blighty Valley Cemetery.
Person Details
Radford
Walter Arthur Bernard Davis was born in 1888 the son of John a schoolmaster and Omelia Davis, (née Stones). John was born in 1862 in Nottingham, Omelia Stones in 1863 in Radford. They had three children two surviving infancy - their other surviving child Albert was born in 1892 in Hyson Green. In 1911, they lived at 25, Wilton Street, Old Basford, Nottingham. Albert was a grocery shop assistant. Walter emigrated to America, but returned to England after the outbreak of war.
In 1911, Walter was a lace draughtsman
01 Jul 1916
27
185007 - CWGC Website
Second Lieutenant
11th Bn Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby Regiment)
Walter Arthur Bernard Davis was commissioned on 28th June 1915. He landed in France on 11th February 1916. He was reported missing, presumed killed in action on 1st July 1916. He is buried in Blighty Valley Cemetery, Authuille Wood Battalions attacking Ovillers on 1st July 1916 had to cross 'Mash Valley' one of the widest expanses of No Man's Land (750 yards) along the entire Somme front. Today, looking from Ovillers Cemetery (German front line) towards distant houses (British front line) across open fields offering little cover, the magnitude of their task is still evident. 11th Battalion Sherwood Foresters' War Diary recorded: 'Casualties along the whole line were very heavy and a general attempt was made to crawl forward under intense machine gun and shrapnel fire, any available cover being made use of.... Lt Colonel Watson, walking diagonally across the front collecting men as he went gave fresh impetus to the advance by his personal example... A third attempt, led by Captain C E Hudson*, to reach the German trenches by the sunken road on the right flank was made but... was brought to a standstill by heavy frontal and flank fire as they came over the brow of the hill in the last 80 yards. The casualties sustained by the battalion during the day amounted to 21 officers and 508 men. The strength of the battalion on entering the trenches on 26th June was 27 officers and 710 men.' 11th Bn Sherwood Foresters War Diary TNA WO95/21871(3). 125 men from 11th Battalion Sherwood Foresters were killed during the attack on Ovillers (CWGC Debt of Honour Register).*John Cotterill adds 'The man who brought the 11th Foresters out of action on 1 July and, one of the 6 unwounded officers, was Capt Edward Hudson who would go on to get a VC as CO of 11th Foresters on Asiago Plateau in Italy in 1918'. 2nd Battalion Middlesex Regiment suffered 264 fatalities during the same advance. Concerns of their CO Lieutenant Colonel Edward Thomas Falkiner Sandys DSO, a brave and well respected officer, that his battalion would be badly mauled crossing such an expanse of open ground with uncut wire an added hazard, did not impress his superiors. Sandys was wounded during the attack and evacuated to the UK. Depressed at the fate of so many men who had trusted him, Sandys shot himself in a London hotel room and died a few days later. 8th Division's Official History records a total of 5,121 casualties on 1st July 1916. Military Research by David Nunn
On 7th October 1916 in the Nottingham Evening Post news that his body had been identified appeared in the local press. “LIEUT. W. A. B. DAVIS. Information has just been received from the War his parents, Mr. and Mrs. John Davis, of 25 Wilton-street, Old Basford, that their son, Second-Lieutenant Walter Arthur Bernard Davis, Sherwood Foresters, who was reported missing in July, now reported killed. The deceased officer, who was 28 years of age, was educated at Stanley-road Higher Grade School, and over three years ago proceeded to America. On the outbreak of the war he immediately returned home and enlisted in the Hussars, receiving his commission in the Sherwoods in April last year. His commanding officer, Col. H. Watson, D.S.O., writing from France, says: "I regret to inform you that what was taken to be your son's body was found two days ago, being identified with the disc with his name on. I have only just returned to the battalion, as I was wounded in the fight in which he was killed on July 1st, but cannot tell you how much I miss your son and the other brave officers and men who gave their lives for their country on that day. His behaviour was very fine, and his men followed him well. I am told that the whole of his platoon were killed or wounded. No commanding officer could have had better officers and men." “Capt. H. C. Watts has also written to the dead officer's parents expressing his sympathy and mentioning that Lieut. Davis was an officer on whom the colonel and he could always place the greatest reliance. His men had lost a splendid leader, and the battalion had lost one of its best officers.” Above article is courtesy of Jim Grundy and his facebook pages Small Town Great War Hucknall 1914-1918
Remembered on

Photos

  • Buried in Blighty Valley Cemetery.
    Walter Arthur Bernard Davis - Buried in Blighty Valley Cemetery.
  • Photo taken from German machine gun positions (now Ovillers British Military Cemetery) showing the terrain over which 8th Division including 11th Sherwood Foresters (70th Brigade), advanced on 1st July 1916. Houses beyond the distant tree line now stand on the 1st July 1916 British line.
    Photo David Nunn - Photo taken from German machine gun positions (now Ovillers British Military Cemetery) showing the terrain over which 8th Division including 11th Sherwood Foresters (70th Brigade), advanced on 1st July 1916. Houses beyond the distant tree line now stand on the 1st July 1916 British line.