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Reuben Davies was born in Leigh, Lancashire in the first quarter of 1891.

At the time of the 1911 Census now aged twenty, Reuben was living with his parents Issac and Jane at 46 Baker Street, Leigh, Lancashire. Reuben was the eldest child, having three younger sisters and a younger brother. His brother William also served in France during the First World War.

Pre-war he worked as a labourer underground in a coal mine, as did his father.

Family Memories

Reuben married Margaret Ellen Cartwright married on 1st February 1913 in Leigh. They had three children in the following years, Elizabeth, Marion and Jessie who was very young when Reuben died. Margaret Ellen re-married in 1938 but had no children with her new husband Thomas Mahon (affectionately known as Sam by the family), and the next generation never questioned that Sam was their grandfather.

Both Elizabeth and Jessie went to Australia to begin life over there and their surviving families continue to live in the Sydney areas.

Marion, however, stayed at home and married Thomas Boardman. Their sons Keith and Peter (Kenny) also never questioned Sam’s role, but knew that the medals and other documents belonged to Reuben, which Kenny now has in his possession.

There is one medal missing, the DCM although we do have the ribbon?

On 22nd June 1915 Private Davies  sailed for France to reinforce the 1st Battalion in the field. During the next few years he would prove himself able to lead and was promoted through the J.N.C.O ranks to that of Serjeant.

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For his gallantry during the 1918 German Spring Offensive (21st March – 14th May 1918) Reuben was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal (DCM), his citation is copied below. He was also awarded the Military Medal (MM) which was gazetted on 22nd July 1919.

22035 L./Sjt. R. Davies, L.N. Lanc. R. (Leigh) (LG 3 Sept. 1918)
For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. During an enemy attack their advance had placed them in possession of a position of some importance.

Serjt. Davies moved over the open with five men, under machine gun fire at close range, and established a block that prevented the further advance of the enemy in that direction. A bombing party of one officer and nine men to whom he then attached himself, were being checked by the fire of an enemy machine gun, but he brought a Lewis gun into action, and kept down the enemy fire, thus making the advance of the bombing party possible. Later in the day, with five men, he held an advanced post some 400 yards in front of our line, under heavy fire, to prevent surprise during the reorganisation of our line of resistance. His courage and coolness during the whole day were of great assistance to his officers and a very fine example to the men.

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Following the Armistice, Reuben was demobilized to ‘Class Z’ reserve. In addition to the DCM and MM, he received the 1914/15 Star, the British War Medal and Victory Medal. Leigh Council expressed their appreciation for Reuben and his contribution to the War.

davies1 davies5

Reuben died in the first quarter of 1922. He was just 31 years old. The following newspaper article explains the cause of Reuben’s death and that he had lived for fifteen months with a fractured spine.

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Unfortunately his service papers have not survived.

Paul McCormick
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Paul McCormick

Paul McCormick is the creator and administrator for the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment website. Since 2010 he has been researching the soldiers that served during the First World War and sharing their stories on his website. You can contact Paul through the website 'Contact Me' page or on Twitter and Facebook.
Paul McCormick
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