SECOND LIEUTENANT HUGH MERCER DAVIES
12TH OCTOBER 1918 AGE 35
BURIED: MAUROIS COMMUNAL CEMETERY, FRANCE
Hugh Davies's wife, Laura, chose to make a very bald statement on her husband's grave - but it speaks volumes. Her husband was a volunteer, and a very early volunteer at that. He had joined up in the first month of the war, August 1914, had survived for over four years and then been killed in its last month, October 1918. Fate is cruel.
Davies had enlisted as a private, served in Egypt from November 1914, and then in Gallipoli. He had risen through the ranks until in June 1916 he was a sergeant. That month the London Gazette recorded his award of the Distinguished Conduct Medal:
"For exceptional ability and good work. He turned out a large quantity of grenades to meet an urgent demand."
In September 1917 Davies was commissioned into the Royal Engineers. He served with the 430th Field Company and was killed on 12 October during the Second Battle of Le Cateau, the first battle having taken place in August 1914.
On the day of his death sappers had been at work around Le Cateau diverting a railway line, filling craters and trying to fix up a water supply. There's no evidence as to what Davies had been doing but as a plumber in civilian life it would seem logical that he was involved in the latter.