David William DAVY

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DAVY, David William

Service Number: 2015
Enlisted: 4 October 1915, Adelaide, South Australia
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 32nd Infantry Battalion
Born: Hindmarsh, South Australia, 2 August 1890
Home Town: Waikerie, Loxton Waikerie, South Australia
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Labourer
Died: Killed in action, France, 19 July 1916, aged 25 years
Cemetery: Rue-Petillon Military Cemetery, Fleurbaix, Bethune, Nord Pas de Calais, France
Memorials: Adelaide National War Memorial, Adelaide South Australian Railways WW1 & WW2 Honour Boards, Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Hawker Residents of Hawker Honour Roll, Hawker and District WW1 Roll of Honor, Parachilna & Region Honour Roll
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World War 1 Service

4 Oct 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Adelaide, South Australia
7 Feb 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 2015, 32nd Infantry Battalion
7 Feb 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 2015, 32nd Infantry Battalion, HMAT Miltiades, Adelaide
Date unknown: Involvement 32nd Infantry Battalion, Fromelles (Fleurbaix)

David William DAVY -

David William DAVY was born in about August 1890 in HINDMARSH to David and Mary Davy, of 136, Melbourne Rd., North Adelaide. And was brought up at HOOKINA, South Australia. David had a sister. David was employed as a Labourer at the WAIKERIE Railway station and yards for a few years prior to the outbreak of war.

David enlisted on the 1st October 1915, aged 25 years & listed Labourer as his employment. He was described as a single man, 5’7 ¾ “tall, weighed 152 pounds and had a 37” chest. He had dark hair, a dark complexion and brown eyes. He was allocated service number 2015.

David completed camp training and embarked from Adelaide with the 32nd Battalion Australian Infantry Force, (A.I.F) for the Suez on 7 February 1916 on HMAT "Miltiades" (A28). Disembarking at Suez on 11 March 1916. David proceeded to join 32nd Bn. on 1st April 1916 at Duntroon Plateau. The 32nd embarked from Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 17 June 1916; disembarking at Marseilles in France, on 23 June 1916.

The 32nd Battalion was committed to the front for the first time on 16 July 1916. On the 19th July 1916 only three days after taking up position in the trenches the 32nd took part in the fighting around Fromelles during which it suffered 718 casualties—which equalled roughly 90 percent of its effective strength !— a third of the battalion's total casualties for the entire war. The Battalion was withdrawn from action to be rebuilt.

On that one terrible, senseless day over 5,500 Australians became casualties at Fromelles. Almost 2,000 of them were killed in action or died of wounds and some 400 were captured. This is believed to be the greatest loss by a single division in 24 hours during the entire First World War. Some consider Fromelles the most tragic event in Australia’s history.

David was killed on the first day of this devastating attack - dying with so many of his mates. David was first officially buried at Eaton Hall Cemetery by Reverend F. G. WARD on 20 July 1916 and later reinterred in the RUE-PETILLON MILITARY CEMETERY, FLEURBAIX, BETHUNE, FRANCE when the graves were organised by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

David DAVY was fortunate not to be in a mass or unknown grave like so many of his Cobbers. (There are 1,335 still listed as “missing in action” after this battle, many buried in communal graves, identity unknown- Many others never recovered.)

The DAVY family and HOOKINA community were devastated, as were his friends and acquaintances in WAIKERIE when they heard the news. David’s father, David Snr. later received Davids British War Medal, Victory Medal, Memorial Scroll and Plaque along with a copy of the ‘Kings Message’.

David is commemorated on the Australian War Memorial on the Roll of Honour, the South Australian Railways Memorial, and although not on the Waikerie Honour Roll or Memorial, David is also commemorated here as he left his home and employment in WAIKERIE to answer his nations call and made the supreme sacrifice.

On his Commonwealth War Graves Commission headstone his parents requested the following epitaph,

HIS DUTY NOBLY DONE, AT REST.



LEST WE FORGET.

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Biography

"THE LATE PRIVATE D. W. DAVY.

Mr. David Davy, of Hookins, has been informed of the death in action in France on July 17, of his only son. Private D. W. Davy, who at the time of enlisting was in the employ of the railways at Waikerie. Private Davy enlisted last September, and left for the front in the early part of this year." - from the Adelaide Chronicle 26 Aug 1916 (nla.gov.au)

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