Philip Henry Halton DAVIS
Rank: 2nd Lieutenant
Date of Death: 9 November 1918
Age: 34
Cemetery: Busigny Communal Cemetery, Nord, France

Philip is recorded by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission as serving with the 3rd Battalion. This is an error as the 3rd was the training Battalion and never left England. He was actually serving with the 9th Battalion when he died.

Philip had been born, in Australia, on 20 March 1884, the son of William & Charlotte Davies. He had been educated at St Oswald's College, Shropshire. After the war, his wife, Katherine, was living at "Kohima", Milton-under-Wychwood, Oxford, but it is not known if this was their family home. The family history website, FreeBMD, records the marriage, at Chipping Norton in the March quarter of 1918 of Philip H H Davis and Lucy K Mayman and they are presumed to be the same couple. Army records, however, show his Next of Kin to have been his sister, a Miss C T Davis of 51 Cheadle Road, Cheadle Hulme.

Before the war, he had worked as a commercial traveller in South America and was fluent in Spanish and Portuguese. He joined the army, as a private, on 28 June 1917, serving in the 28th Battalion, London Regiment (The Artists Rifles). His records show him to have been 5 ft 9inches tall, with a 40 inch chest and weighing 174 pounds. He was in very good physical condition. Whilst still in training, he successfully applied to become an officer, leaving on 30 April 1918.  Four months later, he joined "D" Company, 9th Manchesters, as a 2nd Lieutenant on 24 August and was assigned to "D" Company.

The Battalion was in training throughout September and October. The Battalion's War Diary noted that, from 24 October, he was in charge of training troops in the use of Lewis guns. On 8 November, the Diary records that the "Battalion moved from Marbaix, where it had billeted overnight. Moved into Brigade Reserve at Grand Fucheau and from there proceeded to La Tuillerie remaining there for the night. In the afternoon 2nd Lt P H H Davies (sic) and 1 OR were wounded whilst moving up as liaison with 5th Connaught Rangers."

Philip had received several wounds to the ankle, right arm, left hand and left leg. His service file records these as gunshot wounds but it is much more likely that it was shrapnel from an exploding shell that caused so many individual injuries.  He was taken 48th Casualty Clearing Station at Busigny where he died the next day.

His army file records that his personal effects were returned to his sister. They included two pipes and tobacco, a whistle and lanyard, one fountain pen (broken) and two pocket knives. His outstanding Mess bill of £1.18s.4d was paid by his estate.

(Original research by John Hartley for the Cheadle & Gatley War Memorials website)

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