William Herbert Davies

The Following biography was written by Victoria Doran


William Herbert Davies (1874-1916) was one of very few civilians from West Kirby to die during the First World War. Known to his friends as Will, he was the eldest son and second child of the five children of Robert Davies (1848-1898) and Jane Sharpe (1846-1919). He was born in Rock Ferry where his father was a master butcher. According to the London Gazette, his father went bankrupt in 1879, and by 14 May 1880 the family are at Village Road, West Kirby where his father is working as a journeyman butcher. He must have been able to pay his creditors as when he died in 1898 he left over £2,500.  By 1901 Will is working as manager of the shop, which, it is believed was then owned by his mother. 

Advertisement for Davies the Butcher's Dated 1897

Advertisement for Davies the Butcher’s Dated 1897

Early in 1904 he married Jane Grier, a Scottish lass whose widowed mother moved her family from Midlothian to West Kirby in the 1890s to set up and run a laundry in what was then called Grove Road, West Kirby (now called Groveside). They had a son and a daughter born in 1905 and 1907 respectively and moved to 18 Eaton Road, West Kirby by 1911, with Will continuing to work as a butcher.

Early in the War Will decided to join the Merchant Navy, and at the time of his death he was working as assistant butcher on HMAT Ascanius, helping to feed its Australian troops near Aden. He succumbed to the extreme heat, and presumably was buried at sea. He is commemorated on the family grave marker at St Bridget, West Kirby.

William Herbert Davies in the "West Kirby News" of September 1916

William Herbert Davies in the “West Kirby News” of September 1916

Davies Family Grave in St. Bridget's Church Yard

Davies Family Grave in St. Bridget’s Church Yard

Birth: June 1874; Rock Ferry, Wirral
Death: 2 Sep 1916 at sea 3 miles NE of Asrafi by Aden
Addresses: Village Road, West Kirby (81) (91); 26 Village Road, West Kirby (01); 18 Eaton Road, West Kirby (11)
Occupation: butcher
Unit: Merchant Navy, HMAT Ascanius
Commemorated: St Bridget, West Kirby
Sources: DA, Census: 81, 91, 01, 11; LG, Prob; Deaths at Sea (FMP)


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