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Henry Davis was born on the 10th October 1892 in Preston the son of John and Elizabeth Davis (nee Simpson). His parents were married on the 29th May 1887 at Christ Church in Preston. John and Elizabeth had at least seven children including Henry, five of whom survived, the others being; Thomas (1890), Elizabeth (1898), John (1901) and Florence (1903).

In 1891 just prior to Henry`s birth his parents and elder brother Thomas lived at 28 Barton Street in Preston. At the time the family was sharing their home with Elizabeth`s mother Jane Simpson, John`s brother Henry and his wife Sarah and their two children, Margaret and Thomas. John and his brother Henry were both employed as bobbin turners.

The Census record for 1901 shows that eight year old Henry and his family had moved to 4 Sydney Place in Preston but ten years later the 1911 Census shows the family had returned to live in Barton Street once again. Henry`s father was still employed as a bobbin turner and Henry and his younger sister Elizabeth were both cotton weavers.

On the 13th December 1912 Henry joined the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment at Preston. Unfortunately his service papers have not survived but we do know that he was with the 1st Battalion when they disembarked in France on the 12th August 1914 as part of the British Expeditionary Force. He was still with the 1st Battalion in October 1916 when word reached his family that Henry had been awarded the Military Medal for bravery. News of his award was published in the Preston Guardian, the news article also reporting on some of Henry`s experiences from his time in France;10484 Private Henry Davis MM 1st Battalion

 

The absence of any service record makes it difficult to piece together Henry`s army service, however, we do know that he joined the Machine Gun Corps at some point and was issued with the service number 66642. A later piece of information confirms that he served in France in 1914/15/16 and that he was in Egypt in 1917/18/19 therefore it`s very likely the date of his transfer to the MGC happened in late 1916 or early 1917.

Henry survived the war and prior to his discharge he married a widow, Ellen Wignall (nee Murphy) on the 13th September 1919 in Preston. Ellen`s first marriage was to Frederick Wignall in 1913 and they had a daughter Jesse who was born that same year but sadly Frederick died in 1918 at the age of 28. A year after they married Henry and Ellen also had their own daughter and named her Elizabeth.

Henry was discharged from the army on the 12th December 1919 after serving for seven years. As well as his Military Medal he was also awarded the 1914 Star, British War and Victory Medals in recognition of his services for his country.

There is however, a curious note on the reverse of his Medal Index Card which confirms that he returned both his 1914 Star and Military Medal to the Authorities in November 1920, the reason stated as; “having no use for them”. There is no mention of him returning his British War and Victory Medals so why he would return those two particular medals is a bit of a mystery and will probably remain so.10484 Private Henry Davis MM 1st Battalion MIC

On the 19th February 1921 Henry re-enlisted into Section D of the Army Reserve for a term of four years before being finally discharged on the 18th February 1925.

In 1939 Henry and Ellen`s home address was at 82 Victoria Street in Preston, Henry was employed at the gas works and Ellen was a cotton weaver.

Henry reached his 47th birthday a few weeks after Britain declared war on Germany in 1939 and on the 1st February 1940 he enlisted into the 6th (Home Defence) Battalion of the East Lancashire Regiment. He spent five months with the Battalion before being discharged on the 5th July 1940.

Henry passed away at 82 Victoria Street in Preston in 1952 at the age of 60 and was laid to rest in Preston Cemetery on the 4th November 1952.

Janet Davis

Janet Davis

Janet Davis has been researching her family history for many years and through this she discovered many relatives who served in WW1. This interest then led Janet to do many walking the battlefield tours with her husband. In April 2013 she discovered this website and volunteered to help. Janet believes that there are lots of stories still to be told, most of them very sad but at the same time they are a fascinating insight into the men, their families, what they did and where they came from.
Janet Davis

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