Contributed by: Ray Davies, on 2008-10-30
|Year of Birth||1897|
|Year of Death||1974|
|Place of Wartime Residence||Ashton-in-Makerfield, Lancashire|
My father Jack Davies was born in Flintshire, Wales in 1897 and came to Stubshaw Cross, near Wigan as a baby. When war broke out in 1914 he enlisted in the army and lied about his age. He was shipped off to France with the Manchester Regiment and given a rifle but he very quickly had that taken off him when his real age was discovered and given a stretcher instead. He took part in the battle of the Somme and must have endured some truly awful experiences as he had to carry the shattered bodies of his comrades and friends back from the front line time and time again. He somehow survived and saw further action at Ypres and Paschendaele before his luck finally ran out.
Dad said he must have broken the Olympic record for 100 yards that day
In reality an absolute miracle happened when he got a German bullet in his back as he was carrying a wounded officer on his back across a river. Because he was bent almost double the bullet entered at the base of his spine and travelled up to lodge at the top of his back. He completed the rescue before collapsing and for that deed he was awarded the Military Medal plus an inscibed gold watch presented by Ashton-in-Makerfield Council in 1917. They remain in the possession of my family to this day.
He came home a local hero and with my mother went on to produce ten children. I was the 8th born and as a young lad I used to ask him about the war but he would only ever tell me about the funny things that happened like the time he and his mate were walking down this path in a forest and walked right into a patrol of German soldiers. They both ran like hell right through the middle of them and was round the next bend before the soldiers coud react. They were actually behind enemy lines without even knowing it. Dad said he must have broken the Olympic record for 100 yards that day. He was a quiet man my dad, and no wonder with what he went through as a teenager. I only wish a could have got more out of him in later years but I never could bring myself to ask him.