Colin Davies (1917-1942)
Colin Davies was born on 11th June 1917 in a small town in the Rhondda Valley in South Wales just a month after his father Jack, a teacher, had enlisted in the R.G.A. (Royal Garrison Artillery) in World War I. Sadly just a week later on 18th June, his mother Annie died of Puerperal Fever, a complication of childbirth. With his father on his way to Egypt and Palestine, Colin was taken in and raised by his grandparents Thomas and Ann Davies.
His father, Jack, continued to serve in the Army and didn’t return to Wales until after the war. On his way home he was stationed in Camden Fort Meagher near Crosshaven, County Cork where he met a Cork girl, Mary Stewart. Jack married Mary on 7th October 1919 in Cork. Jack and Mary Davies settled into life in Wales with Colin and their daughter Jean (c. 1927).
Colin, the son of a teacher, graduated with a B.A. degree but when War broke out a second time he followed in his father’s footsteps, enlisting with the 74th Field Regiment of the Royal Artillery (R.A.). He was despatched as a Gunner to their campaign in the Middle East – Western Division. The records that I have found so far about Colin are a bit sketchy. I’m not sure yet when he joined up or exactly where he was stationed. What I have discovered is that Colin was captured as a Prisoner of War in June 1942 and sent to Caserta in Italy. When I found a few of his military records this weekend, I discovered that on 19th November, 1942, after being held as a P.O.W. for 5 months Colin was shot and died while trying to escape the camp. Having witnessed first hand the horrors of the front line, those last 5 months of his life as a prisoner must have been horrendous for him, both physically and emotionally. Colin was only 25 when he was killed. He was buried alongside 755 other soldiers in Caserta War Cemetery, Italy.
Colin’s father Jack, was my great uncle. Colin himself was my mother’s first cousin. What a sad ending to a such a short life so full of promise and potential. Though he had a tough start in life due to the first World War he grew into an educated young man prepared to serve his county and fellow human beings. When he said farewell to his family and headed off to war, he wasn’t to know, though it must have crossed his mind that he was making the ultimate sacrifice that would ultimately cost him his life.
Thank you Colin for your service and sacrifice. Thanks to you and hundreds of thousands like you, we are privileged to live our lives today in a much more peaceful world.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.
(Robert Laurence Binyon)
WE WILL REMEMBER THEM