9 November 2018
“UNDYING LOVE FROM FATHER AND MOTHER”
William Norman Davies (known as Norman) was one of two Harper Adams alumni who died on the same date only 6 weeks before the end of the First World War.
He was born on 19 April 1891 to Lilla and John Davies, a farmer from Much Wenlock, Shropshire.
His mother’s name is recorded as Martha Marian in the baptism record (18 July 1891, Much Wenlock Methodist church) and in the 1901 census, but in the 1891 and 1911 census as Lilla Marion (incorrectly transcribed as Silla) and as Lilla on his cwgc death record.
Norman was a pupil of Ironbridge Grammar School (now Coalbrookdale and Ironbridge CE Primary School) prior to attending Certificate course at Harper Adams from 9 October 1908 to 7 April 1909.
Four brothers are recorded on the 1911 census for the family at Marsh Farm, Much Wenlock Shropshire: George Henry, Norman, and two younger brothers, Victor and Edward, who were too young for military service in 1914. At the time the eldest brother, age 23 was training for the ministry and Norman, age 19 was working on the farm, having completed his studies at Harper Adams.
John and Lilla Davies lost two sons in the First World War; the eldest, George was in the 36th Battalion Australian Infantry AIF was a missionary who went to Australia around 1915 aged 26. He enlisted at Coffs Harbour and was killed whilst burying two friends on 12 July 1917 aged 28. A typescript of his diary and some of his letters is held by the Memorial at 2DRL/0789. George's body was never located and his name is commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial.
Their second son, Norman, who attended Harper Adams Agricultural College, served with the 21st Squadron, Machine Gun Corps (Cavalry) (111065) and died on Friday 27 September 1918, aged 27. He is remembered with honour at Haifa War Cemetery (A. 47.) in Israel.
Haifa was captured by the Mysore and Jodhpur Lancers on 23 September 1918 and the 33rd Combined Clearing Hospital was moved to the town on the 15 October. Haifa War Cemetery, which was originally part of the German cemetery, was used mainly for hospital burials, but some graves were brought in from the battlefields.
Haifa War Cemetery now contains 305 Commonwealth burials of the First World War, 86 of them unidentified, and 36 Second World War burials.