DAVEY, George William

No. 2133, Rifleman, George William DAVEY
Aged 29

8th Battalion, Rifle Brigade (The Prince Consort's Own)
Killed in Action on Thursday 4th April, 1918

Born in Exning in Q4-1888 [Newmarket 3b:505], eldest son of George and Susannah DAVEY (née MUNNINGS) of Oxford Street, Exning.

1891 census...George [2] was staying with his grandparents Charles and Susannah MUNNINGS in Burwell at the 1891 census. His father George DAVEY [26] a gardener, born Burwell, his mother Susannah [24] a charwoman born Lambeth and his brother Charles F [1], born Exning, were living in Oxford Street, Exning

1901 census...at 2 Eleanor Terrace, Exning were George, his parents (mother has changed her place of birth to West Ham), brother Charles and 5 new brothers, all Exning born John[8], Harry [6], William [4], Walter [2] and Robert [2 weeks] and his Grandfather, another George DAVEY [66] born Burwell.

1911 census...George was in the Army in Cairo. In Ashley were his parents, brothers William (now a labourer), Walter and Robert,plus new sisters Violet[8] born Exning, Mary[5] born Ashley, Daisy [7 months] born Ashley and brother Edward [2] born Ashley.

The CWGC has his parents address later as 46 Cottage, Cheveley, Newmarket,( the pension card has No.48) which must account for him being named on the Cheveley memorial. Some records gave the family as at Ashley cum Silverley

George joined the Army on 19th June 1907, aged 19 yrs 9 months for a term of 7 years in the colours and 5 on Reserve. He was in the 4th Battalion of the Rifle Brigade from 7th January 1909, and went to Alexandria that year.
For the 1911 census he was at the Citadel in Cairo and was in hospital there in January 1912. His time in the colours was eventful, promotions followed by demotions and then promotion again. Being seemingly of a carefree nature, one misconduct charge in 1910 was "Carelessness in the ranks, namely letting his rifle fall and letting off a round when changing magazines". This cost him 96 hours detention. He seems to like being one of the lads, one demotion in Egypt in 1913 followed being caught, whilst a Corporal, "playing card with Private Riflemen". Originally his time in the colours was due to end in 1914, but early that year, 27 May,1914 he extended his service to 12 years in the colours. On 19 Dec.1914 he was transferred to the Army Cycle Corps, but was transferred back the Rifle Brigade on 13th May. 1916. Promoted to Corporal (again) on 17th July 1916, then to Sergeant on 15th May, 1917. He then took the most unusual step of requesting demotion to Rifleman on 16th March 1918, in consequence his medals will be engraved for Private Davey.
There remains 13 pages of his service record, somewhat charred, but mostly readable. A summary of his movements is as follows:-
Home��..10/6/1907 to 6/1/1909................Egypt 7/1/1909 to 4/2/1913...................India 5/2/1913 to 18/11/1914
Home��..19/11/1914 to 12/12/1914.............BEF 20/12/1914 to 10/1/1915 ..............Home 11/1/1915 to 4/8/1915
BEF 5/8/1915 to 4/4/1918.

The final German attack was launched towards Amiens on 4 April, when fifteen divisions attacked seven Allied divisions on a line east of Amiens and north of Albert. The Rifle Brigade lost 81 men this day, only 13 have identified graves. Of the 81, 47 were from the 8th Battalion.All the missing are named on the Pozieres Memorial

George is presumed to be the same man named on the Exning War Memorial. There are no clues as to where George may have been when his young brother Walter James DAVEY was killed on Christmas Eve, 1915. George was in the Army Cyclist Corps at the time.

The illuminated Roll of Honour in St. Martin's Church, Exning, has a George Davey, living at Plantation Farm and serving in the Middlesex Regiment and a married man, this would appear to be another person, who survived the war.

photo: Roy Beardsworth

No Known Grave
George is commemorated on the Pozieres Memorial, France..Ref: J.3
and the Exning war memorial

click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details