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Private Allen Davey



Allen Davey was born on 31 January 1888 at Loughmourne, Carrickfergus, County Antrim, the first of eleven children of farmer William John Davey and his wife Maggie Isabella (nee Allen). By 1912 he was living in North Street, Carrickfergus and working as an insurance agent.

On 10 April 1912 he married Sarah Elliott Patterson at St Nicholas Church, Carrickfergus. The couple had three children in the next three years – Sarah Elizabeth, George Allen and William John.

Davey enlisted in the North Irish Horse at Belfast between 14 and 16 October 1914 (No.1312). He embarked for France on 1 May 1915 as part of D Squadron, which was serving as divisional cavalry to the 51st Division.

It is likely that between 1915 and mid-1917 Davey returned to the regimental depot at Antrim – possibly following a wound, illness or injury. When he returned to France he was posted to either B or C Squadron of the 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment.

In August 1917 orders were received that the 2nd Regiment would be dismounted and the men transferred to infantry. Davey was one of 70 men given the job of conducting the regiment's horses to Egypt. They embarked from Marseilles on board HMT Bohemian on 25 August. After a month at Alexandria they returned to France, via Italy. On 5 October they arrived at the 36th (Ulster) Division Infantry Base Depot at Harfleur for infantry training, and were formally transferred to the Royal Irish Fusiliers. Davey was issued regimental number 41589.

After just a few days they were posted to the 9th (Service) Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers – which had been renamed the 9th (North Irish Horse) Battalion – joining it in the field at Ruyaulcourt on 12 October.

It is likely that Davey saw action with his new battalion in the Battle of Cambrai in November and December 1917 and perhaps also in the retreat from St Quentin from 21 to 28 March 1918 during the German spring offensive.

On 9 April 1918 the 9th Battalion was on the Ypres front when the Germans began their offensive in that sector. The battalion saw severe fighting between Wulverghem and Kemmel for more than a week and suffered many casualties. Davey was one of those killed, probably in the early morning of 18 April when a composite battalion of 400 men from the 9th and 1st Royal Irish Fusiliers, and 12th Royal Irish Rifles, were caught in an enemy bombardment while moving to positions on the western slopes of Mount Kemmel.

According to the battalion diary for that day:

2 am. Moved to Kemmel, as composite Bn with 1st R. Ir. Fus. cmd. by Lt. Col. Kelly. Heavy casualties, while moving into position, from enemy shelling. Capt. Despard wounded and died soon after.

... and the 108 Brigade diary:

Battalion moved to Kemmel Hill, but whilst halted near foot of N. slope was heavily shelled, losing Captain Despard killed ... and about 70 other casualties.

As he has no known grave, Private Davey is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial, Panel 141, Belgium.



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