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Davis, Albert    Create Anzac Certificate
Place of Birth: Tumbarumba, NSW, Australia

Service Number: 363

Place of Enlistment: Roseberry Park, NSW, Australia

Next of Kin: Davis, Thomas (cousin)

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Albert Davis
Submitted by: Beryl Pittman

ALBERT Dusty DAVIS (1889-1955) born at Tooma, son of Thomas and Maria Davis nee Griffith. At Area Headquarters, Albury, on August 31ST, 1914 he signed to document with confirmed his enlistment as Private 363, 1st Light Horse Brigade. He was inducted into the regiment at Roseberry Park, Sydney on August 27th, Major G. M Macarthur-Onslow, was the commanding Officer. He was now, officially, a member of the Australian Imperial Expeditionary Forces and was soon on his way to Egypt. He wrote home about his best pal and sent home a photo of his horse – the animal had travelled from Sydney with him. His first week in Egypt was spent in Hospital at The Citadel which was once the Sultan's palace. Lord Kitchener had taken over the Citadel in 1882 and made it into a hospital for English soldiers.

Leave Pass issued to Albert Davis at Weymouth in 1915

Albert was a Heliopolis in March 1915, and he wrote to his mother enclosing some photos of the Citadel, The Camp, and Botanic Gardens in Cairo. He described the gardens as the best he had ever seen and was impressed to find Australian Gum trees featured there. He was leaving for the front the next day.

Everyone was in great spirits today. His brother, Jim, was in camp after a spell in hospital. He is looking splendid now. He won't be going home for some time and of course he doesn't like staying behind. We leave at 11.80 tonight so I will send a letter if I get a chance later on our journey. Or Revoir with love to all, Your son Bert.

Gladys Davis with Bert on my mind – photo by C Watson

On May 21st at Gallipoli he was wounded at 12.20pm. He was shot through the chest resulting in one ball and pieces of shrapnel remaining inside the lungs, and one other which was taken out from the left side. Two men from his unit, Arthur Bellamy and Norman Quarmby were also wounded at the same time. Arthur died three days later and is buried at Gallipoli. He also received damage to the ninth thoracic vertebra through the gunshot wound and was returned to Alexandria on the Hospital Ship Letitia. This wound was to cause him many problems in his later life. He was sent to England where he became a patient in the Wandworth Hospital. The building was formerly a London Orphanage and many Australian soldiers recuperated there. He was then sent to another hospital in Codford. He spent some time in Salisbury on leave, before leaving for the front in France. Celebrated a last supper at the Old George Hotel with friends. In October 1915 he was in Weymouth, Dorset, close to the ancestral home of his great grandmother, Mary Butt. He purchased many post cards which he sent home to his niece Maureen Davis.

After receiving treatment for bronchitis he was repatriated home to Sydney and granted leave to travel to Batlow for one month – from January 25th, 1916, and was granted a travel pass. He was also to have further medical treatment in Sydney. Back in France in October he was still being troubled with Bronchitis and was treated at Ettables. He also had some teeth pulled at Buirre – under battle front conditions! In January 1917he was ordered back to London for further outpatient treatment at the No. 4 Australian General Hospital. He also received treatment for tonsillitis and mumps. He was attached to 15th Reinforcements ALH, later promoted and transferred to the 4th division Artillery, Driver 4th Ammunition Column (Blue and Red Colour Patch), Corporal and Lance Corporal 1918, and also served with the Garrison Military Police. In 1917 his unit was involved in the battles at Guedecourt, Stormy Trenc, Noreuil Valley, Lagnicourt, Bullecourt, Messines, St. Eloi, Ploegsteert, Birr Cross Roads, Bellewaarde, Hannebeke, Zonnebeke and Passchaendale. In 1918 the 4th Division Artillery withdrew from the line on November 5th, after Hollebeke, Albert, Dernancourt, Villers Bretonneux, Hamel, Mericourt, The Somme (August 8th) and Lihons. They saw action on 253 days in 1918 and fired 522,133 rounds of ammunition. He embarked on April 19th, 1919 for his return voyage home on board the Runic. We are fortunate to hold many of the personal records of Albert Davis and have also obtained his service details from the army.

For those of us who saw the movie and stage show War Horse, we were given a snapshot of the life of our soldiers – and I know that I was thinking especially of Albert and his cousins Roy and William Davis, who drove the gun carriages in those desperate time.

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