William Albert Davis

Date of birth: 8th February 1891
Place of birth: Southampton
Service No.: R/2830
Rank: A/B RNVR
Battalion: Anson Battalion, 2nd Brigade, Royal Naval Division
Died: 25th March 1918 aged 27 years


Life before the War

William (known as Albert) was born on the 8th February 1891 at 4 Cross Street, Kingsland, Southampton.  He was the son of George and Kate Davis.

In the 1891 census he is recorded as the 2 month old infant son of George and Kate together with his older brothers James (4) and George (2) and Grandmother, Mary Ann Ege (sic) age 58; all living at 4 Cross Street in the Kingsland/St Mary Street area of Southampton.

By the time of the 1901 census he is shown as the 10 year old son of George and Kate together with his two older brothers, plus three younger sisters, Clara (6), Alice (4) and Beatrice (1); Grandma is still alive and shown as Mary Ann Edger age 69; all living at 23 Bell Street, All Saints, Southampton.

In the 1911 census William is shown as aged 20 and living-in at his place of employment, he worked as a chef at the  Queen’s Restaurant, 139-140-141 High Street Southampton, which was situated on the south side of that road on the corner of West Street.
In 1911 his parents were living at 23 Bell Street.

Prior to his enlistment he was head chef at the Royal Spithead Hotel , Bembridge, Isle of Wight.


Service History

William Albert Davis originally enlisted in the 2/1st Hampshire Yeomanry, No. 100960 at Winchester on the 10th October 1916.  He transferred to the Royal Naval Division on the 16th June 1917 and was drafted to the BEF (British Expeditionary Force) 9th July 1917, before joining the Anson Battalion of the RND on the 30th August 1917.

He later became a cook in the trenches.

He was ‘Killed in Action’ on the 25th March 1918, “Discharged Dead” – (DD)

William’s battalion served with the BEF (France & Belgium) May 1916 to May 1919.   The battallions’ motto Nil Desperandum (Despair of Nothing).

When he died his parents were notified at their home at 97 Millais Road, Itchen, Southampton. Notification was  issued by a Miss Harper who worked at  Haleine – the organisation responsible for identifying the dead on the battlefields.

William’s story is quite unusual as he was a Sailor who fought in the trenches. William Albert Davis has no known grave and is memorialised on Bay 1 of the Arras Memorial.

Researcher: Terry Randall
Published: 16th October 2013
Updated: 3rd February 2014 with information given by a representative of his niece.

He is also remembered on the Tower Hill memorial and his name was  read from the Tower Hill  Roll of Honour on 7th October 2014.

We would like to thank Williams’ great niece  Sarah Donovan  for providing us with further information  it is appreciated.

If you have any additional information about the person named above please complete the Comments section below.

2 responses to “William Albert Davis

  1. Sara Donovan

    Good Evening, I am the Great Niece of William Davis and I have also been researching his history to preserve it for the family. I may have a photo of him but I need to clarify a few details . I have his military registration details but no photo. His sister Alice is/was my Grandmother. His parents and my grandmother were still living at 23 Bell St on 1911 census. The reason his name was not on the original Cenotaph as because his last known address was in the Itchen Borough which was not part of Southampton City in 1918. He qualified for the memorial wall as he was born in Cross Street which was well within the boundary. His name was read out at the Tower of London Roll of Honour 07/10/14 which was amazing.
    I don’t know if any of the above is of any interest but he is still a work in progress for me and I had no idea this website existed until I saw it on Southampton Heritage Photos site.
    Kind regards Sara D

    • Hi Sara, thank you for contacting us and providing us with some further information, I have added this to Williams story, if you should discover you have a photograph of him we would be glad to add it to his story.
      kind regards
      Brenda-For Southampton Cenotaph Family and Friends Group

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