DAVEY, Walter James

No. 21501, Private, Walter James DAVEY
Aged 17

12th Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment (Prince of Wales Own)
Killed in Action on Tuesday 24th December, 1915

Born in Exning in Q3-1898 [Newmarket 3b:522], son of George and Susannah DAVEY (nee MUNNINGS)of 2 Eleanor Terrace, Exning.

1901 census...at 2 Eleanor Terrace, Exning were Walter [2], His father George DAVEY [26] a gardener, born Burwell, his mother Susannah [24] a charwoman born Lambeth (changed her place of birth from Lambeth to West Ham), brothers George [12], Charles [11] John [8], Harry [6], William [4] and Robert [2 weeks] all Exning born, plus his grandfather George [66],born Burwell.

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

Walter's elder brother George William DAVEY was killed in Flanders in 1916. The CWGC has his parents address at the time of his death as 46 Cottage, Cheveley, Newmarket, which probably accounts for his name on the Cheveley memorial. Some records gave the family as at Ashley cum Silverley
It begs the question how Walter was even abroad at that age, yet alone in the front in the Ypres Salient. It certainly appears that he falsified his age on enlistment. To help to confuse the issue, there was another Exning born Walter Davey of about the same age, the son of Walter and Annie Davey (nee Musk) of White Hall Yard.

12th (Service) Battalion of the West Yorkshire Regiment was formed at York on 16 September 1914 as part of Kitchener's 3rd Army and came under the 63rd Brigade, 21st Division. They landed at Le Havre in September 1915 and on 16 November 1915 were transferred to 9th Brigade, 3rd Division. They were just south west of Ypres near St Eloi when Walter was killed, he and only one other were killed in a whole week over Christmas.

photo: Rodney Gibson

Walter is buried in Dickebusch Military Cemetery, Belgium..Ref: A.4
and commemorated on the Exning war memorial

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