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Calls to honour teenage Tommy with fitting grave

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: March 25, 2014

  • 25/03/14 Soldier's unmarked grave Malcolm Goode has researched a First World War boy soldier who is buried in an unmarked grave in Stapenhill Cemetery.

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A FORGOTTEN First World War boy soldier buried in an unmarked pauper’s plot could soon have a gravestone to mark his final resting place.

Military historian Malcolm Goode discovered the tragic tale of 17-year-old Harry Davis while researching a book he will write on the Great War.

The teenage Tommy succumbed to pneumonia in September 1914 and was buried in Plot H of Stapenhill Cemetery - an unmarked plot he shares with two others.

Mr Goode, who is also a Stretton parish councillor, said: “This is not right.

“He went out to war and was an early casualty.

“He came back unnoticed, unknown and has been completely forgotten.”

Harry Davis enlisted in the 1/6 North Staffordshire Regiment before war broke out in 1914.

But he was sent home sick after the territorial unit arrived in Luton just weeks after war was declared.

Mr Goode said an obituary notice said Harry, of Broadway Street, died on September 30, 1914, and was buried three days later.

He said: “If it is at all possible, Harry should be given a marked grave.

“He went off went off to fight for his king and country with high expectations along with hundreds of others before he succumbed to his unfortunate fate.

“He is a forgotten soldier, but we promise to never forget them.”

Mr Goode said attempts to unpick the mystery of Harry Davis were hampered because important early records could not be found.

But he eventually tracked down Harry’s final resting place with the help of cemetery staff.

Mr Good has now appealed to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission to build a headstone on Harry’s plot and for his ancestors to come forward.

He said: “His parents were William and Sarah Davis. His brothers were and sisters were Alice, William, Percy and John Davis.”

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