Charlie Davies

Born – Cardiff, 5th June 1894  

Died – France, 9th June 1916

Charlie Davies, was tipped to become Glamorgan’s regular wicket-keeper, but tragically he died during the Battle of the Somme .

Charlie was the son of Daniel Davies, the owner of the Bear Hotel in Cowbridge, and like his elder brother Ewan – who went on to play rugby for Cardiff and Wales – he was a talented all-round sportsman. Charlie played rugby for Cardiff, Swansea and Caerphilly, besides representing Glamorgan in their fund-raising friendly in August 1913 against an eleven raised by Sir Harry Webb which included Gilbert Jessop and several other famous Gloucestershire cricketers as well as George Robey, the cricket-mad music hall entertainer.

At the time, the nineteen year-old Davies was regarded as one of the bright young prospects in cricket in South Wales having kept wicket with great aplomb for both Cowbridge School and Llandovery College. Having secured a place at Brasenose College in Oxford for 1914, there were many who hoped that the young Welshman would press for a cricket Blue and become a mainstay in the Glamorgan side.

This was not to be as in August 1915 he enlisted with the Royal Dublin Fusiliers and after basic training departed the following late Spring for France to prepare for the Battle of the Somme. His Battalion subsequently made their base at Mailly Wood, but the weather conditions in June 1916 were atrocious. The Battalion’s diary duly recorded: “8/6/16: Rain commenced – much work cleaning and draining trenches. 9/6/16: Weather still very bad and work held up in consequence.”

Given these grim conditions and adverse weather, the Battalion were eager to gain information on the precise whereabouts of enemy lines so on the evening of June 8th, Lieutenant Davies, plus three others, undertook reconnaissance. But only one of the party made it to the Allied trenches, with Davies being badly wounded in the raid and being taken prisoner. Indeed, the surviving member of the party recalled “The last I saw of Charlie was when he was struggling with a big German in one of their trenches. Charlie was a hard case and refused to believe he was going to die, although he had been badly wounded in five places and was heavily bleeding.”

Davies is believed to have died in captivity the following day although much mystery surrounds events following his capture, with the German authorities eventually confirming in September 1917 that Davies had died shortly after being taken prisoner.