Davies, Peter James

Peter was born at the end of 1895 in Prestatyn. His mother was Tabitha Davies, born in Prestatyn in late 1871 the daughter of Elizabeth Davies. Sadly Tabitha died in 1904 aged only 32 years.

In 1901 Tabitha and Peter were living with Elizabeth at Ffrith Las in Prestatyn: Elizabeth aged 55, Tabitha aged 30 and Peter aged 5 years.

By 1911 Peter’s mother, Tabitha had died, and Peter was living with his grandmother Elizabeth at Penyffrith, Prestatyn.   Elizabeth’s nephew Robert Roberts a bricklayer aged 35 was also living with them. Peter was 15 and was a grocer’s assistant. This census tells us that Elizabeth was a Welsh speaker, while the boys spoke Welsh and English.

Elizabeth was the daughter of Peter Davies and Margaret (Roberts) who married in 1843. In 1851 Peter, Margaret and their five daughters were living in Towyn, Meliden. Peter Davies 38, a miner, Margaret 35, Mary 11, Sarah 9, Elizabeth 7, Dianna 5 and Margaret 3.

In 1881 Margaret was listed as a widow of 63, living with Elizabeth 39, Tabitha 9 and another grandson William, aged 17. Margaret is described as being Blind.

Only a very little is known of Peter’s military history. It would appear that he joined the army before the War, enlisting at Rhyl on 5th March 1913. He stated that he was 18 years old, was a labourer, working for Mr Pitchford a Coal Merchant. He was 5’2.5″, had a chest measurement of 33.5″ and he lived at Ffrith Las, Sandy Lane, Prestatyn. He first joined the 5th Bn East Welsh Hussars and had the number 1175. He was moved to the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, embodied on the 11th December 1914 and sent to join his new Corps stationed at Wrexham Depot on the 15th December 1914. No other military records have been found for Peter, but we do know that he was killed in action on 30th January 1915 on the Western Front.

There is a record card for Peter in the Flintshire Roll of Honour at the County Archive Office in Hawarden, which tells us that he was the “first soldier from Prestatyn to fall in the Great War”.

He is remembered on the Ploegsteert Memorial in Belgium.

From Commonwealth War Graves Commission:

The Ploegsteert Memorial commemorates more than 11,000 servicemen of the United Kingdom and South African forces who died in this sector during the First World War and have no known grave. The memorial serves the area from the line Caestre-Dranoutre-Warneton to the north, to Haverskerque-Estaires-Fournes to the south, including the towns of Hazebrouck, Merville, Bailleul and Armentieres, the Forest of Nieppe, and Ploegsteert Wood. The original intention had been to erect the memorial in Lille.

Most of those commemorated by the memorial did not die in major offensives, such as those which took place around Ypres to the north, or Loos to the south. Most were killed in the course of the day-to-day trench warfare which characterised this part of the line, or in small scale set engagements, usually carried out in support of the major attacks taking place elsewhere.


Ploegsteert Memorial in Belgium


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