Private John Charles Davis


John Charles Davis was born on 26 December 1883 at Drumshanbo, County Leitrim, one of at least four children of Methodist minister Thomas Davis and his wife Annie Charlotte (née Mills). The family resided in many parts of Ireland before settling in Belfast on Thomas's retirement in 1913.

Davis enlisted in the North Irish Horse on 5 January 1915 (No.1384). On 17 November 1915 he embarked for France with F Squadron, which at the time was serving as divisional cavalry to the 33rd Division.

In June 1916 F Squadron combined with C Squadron and the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons Service Squadron to form the 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment, serving as corps cavalry to X Corps until September 1917, when the regiment was disbanded and its men transferred to the infantry. Davis was one of 70 men given the job of conducting the regiment's horses to Egypt, to be handed over for use by mounted units there. 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 1917 they arrived at the 36th (Ulster) Division Infantry Base Depot at Harfleur for infantry training, and after just a few days 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. Davis was issued regimental number 41570 and posted to D Company.

He probably saw action with the battalion at the Battle of Cambrai in November and December 1917.

Davis was one of the many posted as missing following the 9th (NIH) Battalion's fighting withdrawal from St Quentin from 21 to 28 March 1918 during the German spring offensive. It was later learned that he had been captured on 22 March near St Quentin. He remained a prisoner until the end of the war, held at camps in Rastaat and Mannheim.

Following his repatriation, on 31 March 1919 Davis was demobilised and transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve.

After the war, Davis lived at his father's house at 31 Dunluce Avenue, Belfast. He later lived in London, where he worked in the civil service.