William Richard Vince Davis was born in Borden, Kent in 1892, and was baptised on 19th July 1892 in Upchurch, Kent. William first appears on the 1901 census, aged 9; one of four children of Albert (37) and Fanny (39) Davis. Albert is listed as a bricklayer’s labourer, William’s elder brother Herbert (15) a journeyman baker (of bread). William’s 2 sisters Alice (11) and Frances (6) complete the household at 51 Sidney Road Borstal, Kent.
At the time of the 1911 census, William was 19 and a general labourer. He had both lost a brother, Herbert, and gained a new brother Cyril (8). Williams parent had eight children in total, now only four were surviving. William’s father was now a general labourer and his two sisters are listed as domestic servants.
According to army records, William enlisted on the 18th November 1915 in the town of Chatham at the age of 23. His father had died earlier the same year; therefore, his mother, Fanny, was listed as next of kin.
William enlisted into the 6th Battalion of ‘The Buffs’ (East Kent Regiment), where he held the rank of private, his service number was G/8661. Enlistment documents reveal that William was just 5ft 2.5ins, weighed 114lbs and had a chest measurement of 35 inches.
The 6th Battalion was formed in Canterbury, Kent, as part of the battalions of new armies. From August 1914, the battalion fell under the command of the 37th Brigade, 12th (Eastern Division). William was posted to an infantry base in Etaples, France on the 9th of April 1916. Which were depots close to Channel ports designed to hold men and continue their training until they were posted to the front.
William was then posted to the front in readiness for the opening phase of the Battles of the Somme which began on the 1st of July 1916. The Buffs were engaged in the Battle of Albert which ran from the 1-13th July 1916. The Buffs’ (6th Battalion, 12th Division) war diaries, record heavy fighting and losses of life on the 3rd day of the offensive, which included William.
William was 24 years old when he was killed in action on the 3rd July 1916. He has no known grave, but is commemorated on a panel of the Thiepval Memorial in Somme, France. Theipval is a memorial to the missing of the Somme and commemorates some 72,000 men with no known graves, as well as equal numbers with graves surrounding the memorial. Those who died in the battles are remembered with a ceremony every year on July 1st.
His everyman remember page is here. http://www.everymanremembered.org/profiles/soldier/756102/
William is also commemorated on the St Mathews roll of honour.
Link to memorial