John Hampden Grammar School

Ralph and Victor Davies

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Ralph was born 29th October 1894 in High Wycombe and Victor, his younger brother, in 1898. His parents were John Davis and Rose Davis and they lived in 57 Richardson Street. He had four brothers, three of whom were also in the army. Their mother died in November 1915, the last time both of them returned home.
 
Ralph attended the School in 1908 and won an attendance prize. He then worked for Allen and Co who were chair manufacturers based on Oxford Road. 
 
Victor attended the School in 1911 and worked as a cabinet maker apprentice with Messrs Peatey and Co.

Ralph joined the Gloucestershire Regiment in September 1914 in Wycombe and was promoted to Lance Sergeant. He was involved in the first attack of the Battle of Pozières part of the Battle of the Somme. He went over the top on night of July 22nd/23rd 1916. He was never seen again and his body never identified. He is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial. He was 21 years old.
 
Victor joined the Oxford & Bucks Light Infantry 1/1st Bucks Battalion in October 1914 in Aylesbury. He died on 23rd August 1916, fighting with the also in the Battle of Pozières. He was shot through the head while attacking and his body was also never identified and he is also remembered on the Thiepval Memorial. He was 19 years old. The Battalion's war diary of the day reports,
 
"On the 23rd August the Battalion relieved the 6th Gloucesters in the trenches between Ovillers and Thiepval, with orders to carry out an attack on the enemy’s forward positions. “A” and “ C” Companies were detailed for this attack, which was timed for 3.05 p.m. A bombardment carried out by the Heavy Artillery from 1 p.m. to 2.45 p.m. served merely to define the limits of the objective. At 3 p.m. an intense bombardment was put down for five minutes by the Field Artillery, under cover of which the attack was launched. The barrage was good, but too short, as when it lifted the attacking troops had still some way to go, and the enemy were manning their trench thickly, apparently little affected by it. 

The enemy barrage also came down immediately after our own. As a result casualties were heavy and progress almost impossible. A few N.C.O.’s and men of 

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“C” Company reached their objective on the extreme right, but were all killed or wounded, only Sergeant Bishop getting back. The remnants of the two Companies had to lie where they were, many being killed and wounded by shell-fire and snipers, before nightfall made a move back possible.

No real gain resulted, except the capture of almost the whole of a diagonal trench running from the centre of our position to the enemy’s right, and on the left our bomb stop was advanced some fifty yards. The losses in both Companies were heavy. Out of a total of four officers and 150 other ranks who actually went over the top, our casualties were two officers killed and two wounded, and in other ranks 24 were killed, 71 wounded, and 13 missing."

Ralph's listing on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission site can be found here
Victor's listing on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission site can be found here.
 
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