I was going to focus only on one of my grandfather’s two brothers in this blog post, as he had won the Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM) during the Second World War. But as I started to write, it was clear that there are interesting records that relate to all three. I had received my grandfather’s service record from the Ministry of Defence (MOD), but for the others I had to use other sources to find out what I could about their service.
James Herbert Davies and Kate Ethel married in Stratford on 11 June 1914. Shortly after, on 27 September, my grandfather James Thomas Francis Davies was born in West Ham. He was followed by Sidney in 1916 and then Albert in 1921 1.
The three boys were brought up in and around East London and by all accounts the family were not well off. James Herbert had served in the Army – going into the reserves in 1910 before being called up in 1914 and being discharged in 1919. Due to James’ ill health and not being able to work the family were in receipt of poor relief. James applied for entrance to Gordon Boys Home in Woking for two of his sons, young James was admitted in 1928 aged 13 and, two years later, Sidney joined his brother aged 12, though there is no evidence that Albert attended.
- 1. James Herbert Davies born March 1884 Woolwich 1d 1266, Kate Ethel Fordham born December 1893 West Ham 4a 16, James Thomas Francis (JTF) Davies born December 1914 James FT, Fordham, West Ham, 4a 14 Sidney George John (SGJ) Davies born December 1916 Sidney GJ, Fordham, West Ham 4a 558, Albert Frank William (AFW) Davies born March 1921 Albert WF, Fordham, Lewisham 1D 1917 Herbert James Davies and Kate Ethel Fordham marriage (Kate E Fordham June 1914 Davies West Ham 4a 748). ^