Serjeant John Davis
From the starting point of just the name ‘J Davis’ on the memorial it was a long time until I could positively identify John. As one of the first group on the WW1 memorial, alongside ‘R Robinson’ and ‘W Ormesher’ it seemed a reasonable idea that he would have been a member of staff. The first clue came from the briefest of mentions in the Western Gazette on July 20th 1906.
Even then finding a J Davis who was a Maths Teacher still wasn’t any easier. I had been through the archive at the Blandford Musuem before but I hadn’t come across the School Register of Teachers which finally gave me a positive identification. (Even the museum didn’t know they had it!)
The simple J Davis which I had begun to think would remain a mystery became John.
John was the son of Mr &Mrs Edward and Hannah Davis 40 Cunliffe Street Wrexham and attended Grove Park County School Wrexham 1897-1901. He then gained a place at Bangor University in 1901 graduating with a BA Pure and Applied Mathematics in 1905.
John joined Blandord Secondary School as Maths master in September 1905. This was as part of a school expansion (50 when the Head, Mr Greenhalgh was first appointed 13 years before now 163) This was his first teaching job and he was at the school for three academic years until July 1908. As the school was quite small it was necessary that he taught Geography throughout the school as well as Maths. He left to go back to Wales to teach at Brecon County School in September 1908.
Serjeant Royal Engineers (The Royal Engineers used that spelling at the time) at Oxford Works New Kent Road and Holloway RE Gas Department. All part of the Royal Engineer Anti Gas Establishment at University College London. As John didn’t serve overseas he was not eligable for any medals, however it might seem unfair to modetn eyes. Whether or not his death was related to the reaecrh he assited in might never be known but John died of Pneumonia in Nottingham Military Hospital 27th November 1918 aged 35 (Wrexham Advertiser 7 December 1918) (Wrexham Cemetery Records)