Davies, Vincent

Vincent Davies was born on the 24th March 1913, according to the 1939 National Register and the Hawarden Grammar Admissions Register.

He was the son of William & Annie Davies, (nee  Griffiths) who had married at St Cynfarch Church, Hope on the 22nd April 1911:- William DAVIES, 21, Bachelor, Painter, Penyffordd, Hithel DAVIES, Collie & Annie GRIFFITHS, 22, Spinster, Caergwrle, John GRIFFITHS, Brewery Foreman.   (After Banns) – Witnesses:- Robert GRIFFITHS & Alice GRIFFITHS.

They married 20 days after the 1911 census, where William is seen living at Penyffordd Hope Station, Nr. Chester, with his parent and siblings.    Head of the household was Hithel Davies, 42, a Coal Miner  (Hewer) who had been born in Padeswood, Mold, Flintshire, his wife Rose Hannah, 39 had been born in Liverpool, Lancashire and they tell us that they had been married for 21 years and 10 children had been born to them, all still living.  William, 20 and single was a House Painter and Employer, and had been born in Kinnerton, Flintshire.   Thomas John, 19 and single was a Railway Porter (L.& N..W. Railway), Hithel, 17 was a Railway Checker and George Vincent was 14.   Margaret Edith, 12, Edward Sidney, 10, Maria Rose, 8 and Emily 5 were at school.   Arthur, 3 and James, 1 made up the full family.   All children except William had been born in Hope, Flintshire.

The 1911 census shows Vincent’s mother, Annie Griffiths,22, working with 3 of her sisters, Alice, 28, Amy,25 and Mary, 18, all born Caergwrle, as Domestic Servants at Meadowslea Hope Station, Penyffordd, Flintshire with 12 rooms.   They were the servants of Thomas Owen, 51 and a Land Agent, born Blessington, Co. Wicklow and his wife Amy, 45, born Northop, Flintshire and their daughter Miriam Brenna, age 4, born at Meadowslea, Hope Station, Flints.

Annie’s parents, John & Eliza and her other siblings were living at Alyn Bank, Hope, Flintshire. (5 rooms).   Head of the household was John Griffiths, 49 and a Brewery Foreman, all the family had been born in Caergwrle.   His wife Eliza, 47, tells us that they had been married 29 years and 11 children had been born, but sadly 1 died.   Lilian Griffiths, 19 was an unemployed School Teacher, Albert C, 16 was a House Painter, Jessie, 14, Gertrude E., 11 and Jack, 7 were at School.

The first time we see Vincent is on the Hawarden Grammar School Admissions Register E/GS/1/10

1047/1543 DAVIES, Vincent, D. Of Birth  – 24th March 1913, Alyn Bank, Caergwrle, Father – Painter, D. Of Entry – 15th September 1925, Hope Cl.  Sch £3., D. Of Leaving 22nd July 1927 – Garage (Junior?) (Train???)

His sister Hazel was also on the register: –

1058/1884 DAVIES, Hazel, Date of Birth 6th January 1917, Alyn Bank, Caergwrle, Father – Painter, Date of Entry 17th September 1928. Sch. £6.  Date of Laeving 27th July 1934   S.T. 1934 – 5.

Then on the 1939 National Register, (Taken on the 29th September 1939), where the family were living at Tyhlwyd, Castle Street, Caergwrle, Hawarden R.D., Flintshire.   This source gives us the dates of birth, William Davies, was born on the 9th June 1890 and was a Painter & Paper Hanger, Annie Davies, was born on the 4th February 1889 and as most married women who did not have a job, was doing “Unpaid Domestic Duties.”  Vincent Davies was born on the 24th March 1913 and was a Bricklayer and Single.   Albert V.  Davies born on the 2nd November 1918 was single and a Painter. Hazel Davies was born on the 6th January 1917, she was single and a Schoolteacher.  It is on this document that we learn that Hazel was to marry a gentleman named Edwards, and while researching I find their marriage in St Cynfarch Church, Hope in 1941, the bridegroom was Robert W. Edwards.

So we know that Vincent was not in the Forces on the 29th September, 1939 as he was at home, but could have been waiting for orders, if he had been conscripted or enlisted.,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.

He was destined to be in the Royal Artillery 65 Field Regt.    According to  the 65th Field Regt. (8th London) Fd Regt. (T.A.) was with the 56th Inf. Division in Italy from July 1944, which of course coincides with where Vincent died. 

Italy 1943 – 1945: British Infantry Divisions

The 56 (London) Infantry Division was a pre-war, first line Territorial Army formation. It landed at Salerno in Italy on 9 September 1943, having come from Libya. It was involved in the battles to recapture Naples in September 1943, the Volturno Crossing in October 1943, and Monte Camino in November and December 1943. In January 1944, it was involved in the battles for the Garigliano Crossing. As the position at Anzio deteriorated, the division was transferred from X Corps to the U.S. VI Corps at Anzio. The division fought in the battle to secure the bridgehead, sustaining heavy casualties. It was withdrawn from Anzio to Egypt on 28 March 1944 to refit. The final offensive in Italy commenced on 13 April 1945, with the division involved in forcing the Argenta Gap. The division remained in Italy, until it was disbanded in 1947.

Italy 1943 – 1945

The Italian campaign can be broken down into phase. The first phase were the three landings, ‘Baytown’ across the Straits of Messina, ‘Slapstick’ at Taranto, and ‘Avalanche’ at Salerno. The latter was a close run thing, with the Germans nearly forcing the Allies to evacuate the beachhead. The second phase was the battle of the ‘Gustav Line’, including the first, second, third and fourth battles of Cassino and the landings at Anzio. The third phase was the advance up through central Italy; followed by the fourth phase which was the near breaching of the Gothic Line in late 1944. The fifth and last phase was the final offensive in April 1945, which broke through the Argenta Gap and into the valley of the River Po.

British Artillery in World War 2 – The field artillery organisation, tactics, gunnery methods and regiments of the Royal Artillery and the artilleries of British Commonwealth.  –

65th (8th London) Field Regiment TA WW2 War Memorial Names   – Vincent is remembered here.  It is a terrible photograph,(below) but Vincent is remembered here: –

On this War Memorial only 2 died on the day Vincent died, Vincent and Lieutenant Heward, Philip Francis, he was age 28 years.  Additional information from the CWGC: – Son of Harold and Grace Heward; husband of Elizabeth Heward, of Selsdon, Surrey.   Buried in the same cemetery.

Taken from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website: – HISTORY INFORMATION – On 3 September 1943 the Allies invaded the Italian mainland, the invasion coinciding with an armistice made with the Italians who then re-entered the war on the Allied side. Following the fall of Rome to the Allies in June 1944, the German retreat became ordered and successive stands were made on a series of defensive positions known as the Trasimene, Arezzo, Arno and Gothic Lines.

So Vincent and his Lieutenant were to die 8 days later, on the 11th September 1943, they must have seen and been involved such a lot, Vincent dying of Wounds received in the fighting.

Casualty List 1394 (page 7) tells us that Vincent was reported as “Wounded” earlier in the year, on the 17th February 1944, but no explanation of how, where or why.   He must have recovered as otherwise he would not have been at the front line in September 1944.

On Casualty List 1567 (Page 3) Vincent is reported as “Died of Wounds” on the 11th September 1944.

His Casualty Card tells us that his place of birth and domicile was Caergwrle, Denbighshire and he died of Wounds on the 11th September 1944

Vincent was loved and missed by his family and his name was added to the Hawarden Grammar School Roll of Honour of past pupils, to be remembered in perpetuity for his sacrifice, I hope his family were able to attend the Dedication:-

The Roll of Honour was dedicated at Hawarden Grammar School on the 3rd February 1951 with a Remembrance Service for the 47* former pupils who died in the 1939 – 1945 World War.  As recorded in the Chester Chronicle Saturday 10th February 1951.

*Author’s note, there are 46 names on the Roll of Honour, clerical error by the newspaper.


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