University of Oxford
4 files

58557: Photograph and medals of Private William Vaughan Davies

online resource
posted on 2024-02-23, 23:00 authored by Great War Archive Project Team

Private William Vaughan Davies

This story was repeated time and time again by Mrs. Olwen Roberts, b. 6.3.1904 nee Davies, to her children as it concerned her older brother William whom she remembered fondly. She said that on one period of leave from the front she remembered he arrived home in possession of his rifle, and would spend hours sitting before the kitchen fire cleaning and oiling the weapon, and saying that in the trenches it was his only 'friend'

William Vaughan Davies, was an American citizen, born at Black Diamond, Nr Seattle, Washington State, U.S.A. on 30/ 3 / 1890. His parents, Morris Vaughan Davies and Elizabeth Davies had emigrated there from Blaenau Ffestiniog, Meirionethshire, North Wales in 1887. William was their second son, one of nine children.

His parents became dissolutioned with life in the United States and in 1892 they returned to Wales to work and live in Blaenau Ffestiniog. William was then aged 3/4 years.

William left school at 14 years of age to begin work as a slate miner, he was a good singer, a boxer and he played football. When World War 1 broke out in 1914 he volunteered for the Army at age of 24 years and joined the Royal Welsh Fusiliers. He need not have done so, he could not have been called up for military service as he was not a British citizen, but he joined all his friends, and his brother, John who had also volunteered.

William served as a Private, with his regiment on active service in France for almost 3 years, he was involved in various actions, twice in attacks on the German lines during which his battalion suffered such severe casualties that there were insufficient men left to re-form the unit and he was, after the second occasion, transferred for duty with the Royal Engineers. When serving with them he was buried alive by an explosion during a German attack when he and a friend remained silent whilst they could hear the German troops walking on some corrugated iron beneath which they lay. In this episode he lost all his front teeth and was reported missing, believed killed in action. However he was rescued during a British counter attack two or three days later.

He was granted home leave on two occasions from France.

He returned to active service in France with the 13th. Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers, and whilst with them was killed in action near Delville Wood, Somme on 26th August, l918 aged 28 years, when his unit was involved in an attack on the German lines with the 38th (Welsh) Division which captured the high ground near Guillemont during late August 1918. He was a single man and is buried at the British War Cemetery, (plot reference V11.B.20), Caterpillar Valley, near Longueval, France. When his parents were originally notified he was again listed as missing in action they were not too concerned about him, thinking he would again turn up, but, unfortunately it was not to be.

The cemetery originally contained graves of those killed from 38th (Welsh) Division and 6th Dragoon Guards, but after the Armistice it became plot 1 of a larger cemetery as soldiers buried elsewhere were moved there and a further 31 plots were created, and the whole surrounded by a wall built of stone rubble. It covers an area of 14,832 square metres and near to the east side there stands a memorial to those New Zealand soldiers who were killed in the area in 1916 and whose graves are unknown. There are more than 5,500 1914 - 18 casualties commemorated at this site.

List of R.W.F. soldiers killed on 26/8/1918 and buried at Caterpillar Valley War Cemetry, Longueval, Somme, France

number serial number rank name

1 66629 Private BAILEY. W.H. 2 58385 Private BALDWIN. Allen. 3 58220 Private BROWN. J. 4 23257 Corporal DANE H. 5 11200 Private DAVIES,W.J. 6 55267 Private DAVIES, William Vaughan, 7 66200 Private DINELLI, G.A. 8 23287 Corporal EDWARDS. R.O. 9 21305 C.S.M. EGERTON, Edward Henry. 10 58249 Sergeant ELIAS,G. 11 2nd. Lieut. EVANS,D.E. 12 292314 Private EVANS,J.H. 13 93401 Private GOULDING,J. 14 69817 Private GRIFFITHS, Ellis. 15 241749 Private HADLEY, Thomas William. 16 24215 L/Cpl. HALL,T. 17 2nd. Lieut. HARRIS, William Handel. 18 241150 L/Cpl. JONES, William. 19 292188 Private JONES, W. 20 75370 Private MADLEY,Andrew James. 21 58131 Private MARSDEN, W.A.S. 22 204837 Private MATHER,James. 23 57972 Private MATHER.T.S. 24 202630 Private MAYNARD.R. 25 58304 Private MITCHELL.R. 26 18043 Private MORRIS, Arthur. 27 202365 L/Cpl. MOSES, S. 28 58416 Private MURPHY.T.P. 29 57986 Private PAILTHORPE, Frank. 30 77633 Private PELL,G. 31 26422 Sergeant PHILLIPS,R. 32 61376 Private PRICE,J. 33 53872 Private PRITCHARD, Robert O. 34 53013 Private RILEY, Robert. 35 4218 Private ROBERTS,C. 36 57993 Private ROBERTS, P.J. 37 58152 Private RICHARDSON, Peter John. 38 58164 Private SHARPLES, L. 39 60259 Private SMITH, Sydney. 40 291667 Private SOUTHERNS, Richard H. 41 54662 Private THOMAS. D. 42 75276 Private THOMAS, Wilfred William. 43 70202 L/Cpl WATSON, W.B. 44 9361 L/Cpl WESTACOTT, Alfred, 45 44398 Sergeant WHITE, R.J. 46 73214 Private WILLIAMS, G. 47 Lieut. WILLIAMS, James Griffith. 48 15743 Private WILLIAMS, Thomas Phillip.



8925.cpd| 3471.jpg|GWA_1744_Pte.W.V.Davies_-_medals.jpg 3472.jpg|GWA_1745_Longueval_Cemetry.jpg 3473.jpg|GWA_1746_W.V.Davies_-_commemorative_scroll.jpg 3474.jpg|GWA_1747_Pte._William_Vauhan_Davies__1918.jpg


Davies,William Vaughn


1914 - 1918

Date Created


Temporal Coverage









1, 2, 3, 4

Number of Pages



Everett Sharp | Dewi Roberts (Mr,)


The Great War Archive, University of Oxford / Primary Contributor


The Great War Archive, University of Oxford

Usage metrics

    Great War Archive


    Ref. manager