Davison, Ellis Davies

I found Ellis Davies Davison by adding “Shotton” in the “Additional Information” on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Website on the eve of Remembrance Day 2020.

Ellis Davies Davison was born in the September quarter of 1916 in the Hawarden Registration District (Hawarden Vol.  11b Page 358) the son of John & Fanny Davison (nee Davies) who had married in the June quarter of 1910 in a Civil Marriage or Registrar Attended Ceremony in Chester. (Cheshire West ROC/55/123).

John & Fanny Davison are seen on the 1911 census, sadly John didn’t enter the information re his marriage and children which everyone was supposed to fill in on the 1911 census, which was the first census that the householder completed.

They were living at Pear Tree Cottages, Higher Shotton, Queensferry, Flintshire, (4 rooms).    John Davison, 35 and married was a Labourer in the Brick Works and had been born in Pentrobin, Hawarden, Flintshire.    Fanny Davison was 34 and had been born in Chester.

I do not know anything about Ellis’s childhood or teenage years, so any information to help tell his story would be gratefully received.

I did find Baptisms of two brothers to Ellis:-

St. Ethelwold’s Church Parish Registers – Baptisms.

Page 28 No. 251  Born 26th May 1913  Bapt. 7th July 1913 Mathew Henry s/o John & Fanny DAVISON, Pear Tree Cottages, Higher Shotton, Hawarden, Labourer.

Page 79 No. 708 Born 13th August 1911  Bapt. 10th September 1911 John Berty s/o John & Fanny DAVIESON (sic) Shotton, Labourer.

However, sadly, I found the burial in 1939 of Fanny age 62 years, she was buried in Hawarden on the 14th June of that year and she had been living at Pear Tree Cottage.

The first time we see Ellis is on the 1939 National Register, taken on the 29th September 1939, where we find him living with his father John.   This source gives the dates of birth and we find that John Davison was born on the 22nd June 1875 and he was a widower and a Retired Council Labourer.   Ellis Davies Davison was born on the 30th May 1916 and was a General Farm Labourer and single.

So we know that when war broke out on the 3rd September 1939, Ellis had not yet either enlisted or was conscripted:-,had%20to%20register%20for%20service

Your Country needs you. – On the day Britain declared war on Germany, 3 September 1939, Parliament immediately passed a more wide-reaching measure. The National Service (Armed Forces) Act imposed conscription on all males aged between 18 and 41 who had to register for service.

Ellis was 23.  Any information to help tell his story would be appreciated.

In any case he was to find himself in the 3rd Battalion Welsh Guards and they fought in the Tunisian and Italian Campaigns of the war.

Unit History: Welsh Guards

The Regiment was the last of the five Foot Guards Regiments to be formed, only coming into existence in 1915 by Royal Warrant of King George V and order of Earl Kitchener the Secretary of State for War.  Within a few months of its creation the new unit was not only on mounted guard duty at Buckingham Palace but also sailed for France to engage in the actions of the Great War.

During the Second World War The Regiment was expanded to three Battalions with both the 1st and the 2nd Battalions in action in North West Europe while the 3rd Battalion fought in the Tunisian and Italian Campaigns of the war.

After the war, the 3rd Battalion was disbanded and the 2nd Battalion was placed in suspended animation.  The 1st Battalion went on to served in Northern Ireland, Palestine, Egypt, Germany, Aden, Cyprus and Belize, and was famously part of the task force that fought in the Falklands campaign in 1982.

More recently it has been deployed on two tours of Bosnia and tours of Northern Ireland, Iraq, Kosovo and Afghanistan.

It is easy to distinguish between the Regiments of Foot Guards as the buttons on the tunics are spaced to reflect their order of seniority. The Welsh Guards have buttons arranged in groups of five.

National Army Museum – Welsh Guards.

Second World War

1st Battalion served in France and Belgium with the British Expeditionary Force in 1939-40. 2nd Battalion, which had been raised in May 1939, joined them in France in May 1940, taking part in the defence of Boulogne.

That same month, Lieutenant the Hon Christopher Furness of 1st Battalion won a posthumous Victoria Cross at the Battle of Arras. The remnants of both battalions were evacuated at Dunkirk.

In October 1941, a 3rd Battalion was raised. This fought in North Africa and Italy (1943-45) with 8th Army, ending the war at Adige in the Po Valley.

Back in Britain, 1st and 2nd Battalion formed part of the Guards Armoured Division, 1st Battalion serving as infantry and 2nd Battalion as an armoured unit. The two battalions landed in Normandy in June 1944 and fought their way through northern France, Belgium and Holland. Working together, they were the first troops to re-enter Brussels in September of that year.

Just as a matter of interest and History:-

Rex Whistler’s self-portrait in Welsh Guards uniform, May 1940 (See below) – Oil on canvas by Reginald (Rex) John Whistler (1905-1944), 1940.

The artist depicted himself enjoying a drink on the balcony of a friend’s house in York Terrace, overlooking Regent’s Park, London, on ‘the day his uniform came’. Aged 35 and too old for immediate conscription, Rex Whistler had volunteered for service upon the outbreak of war: he saw it as a duty that men of his age should fight, rather than ‘young boys’. By this time Whistler had already established a considerable reputation as an artist, particularly of trompe l’oeil murals, stage designs and book illustrations.

Following the mechanisation of the Foot Guards as part of the Guards Armoured Division in 1941, Second Lieutenant Rex Whistler, 2nd Battalion Welsh Guards, found himself a troop commander, in charge of three tanks. During four years of intensive military training at Caterham, Wiltshire, Norfolk and on the Yorkshire moors, he continued to produce commercial work, and drew continuously for his friends. But in late June 1944, his regiment crossed the Channel with the division, equipped with Cromwell tanks.

Tragically, the artist was killed on his first day in action, 18 July 1944, during Operation GOODWOOD near Caen in Normandy. Concerned for his men who were trapped in a tank, he had left the safety of his own tank to help, but was blown up by blast from a German mortar. He is buried in the small military cemetery at Banneville-la-Campagne.

NAM Accession Number – NAM. 1994-01-113-1

Copyright/Ownership – National Army Museum, Out of Copyright

Welsh Guards – Second World War

The regiment was increased to three Battalions during the Second World War. The 1st Battalion fought valiantly in all the campaigns of the North-West European Theatre. The 2nd Battalion fought in Boulogne in 1940 whilst the 1st fought in Belgium as part of the British Expeditionary Force. In May 1940 at the Battle of Arras, the Welsh Guards gained their second Victoria Cross by Lieutenant The Hon. Christopher Furness who was killed in the action. The Welsh Guards were subsequently part of the legendary Evacuation of Dunkirk that saw over 340,000 British and French troops return to the UK against all odds.

The 3rd Battalion Welsh Guards was formed at Beavers Camp, Hounslow on 24 October 1941.[4] In 1943 the 3rd Battalion fought throughout the arduous Tunisian North African Campaign and Italian Campaigns.

While they battled on in those theatres the 1st and 2nd joined the Guards Armoured Division, with the 1st Battalion being infantry and the 2nd armoured. The two battalions worked closely, being the first troops to re-enter Brussels on 3 September 1944 after an advance of 100 miles in one day in what was described as ‘an armoured lash unequalled for speed in this or any other war’ led by Major-General Sir Allan Henry Adair.[5]

According to the Casualty List 1145 Page 10, Ellis was wounded on the 8th May 1943 and then Casualty List 1154 Page 15, tells us the sad news that he died on the 9th May 1943.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission Graves Concentration Report Form tells us that he was buried, probably near where he died at 748415 (I do not know where that is) and then reburied on the 22nd July 1943, not long afterwards, at Massicault.    He was buried a few graves away (Plot I.C. 16.) from another 3rd Bn. Welsh Guardsman, 2735655, J. Parry, who died at the same place as Ellis.

Taken from the Commonwealth War Graves Citation:- Many of those buried at Massicault War Cemetery died in the preparation for the final drive to Tunis in April 1943 and in that advance at the beginning of May.

He was loved and missed by his family and he should be remembered for his sacrifice.

His father John died on the 4th October 1955, here is his probate:-

DAVISON, John of Pear Tree Cottage, Shotton-lane, Higher Shotton, Shotton, Flintshire died 4th October 1955 at The Royal Infirmary, Chester.    Probate Bangor 27th October to John Barton DAVISON, Steelworker

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