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Headstone plans for boy soldier take step forward

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: April 09, 2014

  • 05/11/13 First World War soldier's research - Flat 47, St Paul's Court, Burton, DE14 2EZ Malcolm Goode researched Audrey Sadler's uncles Sydney and William who fought in the First World War.

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HOPES have been raised that a forgotten Great War boy soldier will have a monument placed on his grave – 100 years after his death.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) told the Mail there could be a ‘strong case’ to build a headstone on Harry’s Davies’s final resting place in Stapenhill Cemetery.

It is believed that matching information on the 17-year-old’s death certificate and newspaper cuttings of his death and burial would be enough evidence for the CWGC to act.

The teenage Tommy, of Burton’s Broadway Street, was buried in an unmarked pauper’s plot in October 1914 after he died from pneumonia before his unit was sent to France.

A spokesman from the CWGC said: “The newspaper articles would need a death certificate to go alongside it if we are to get the case forward.

“It’s a bit tricky because he died so early in the war, but if they served they would be eligible to be commemorated by the commission.

“There’s a risk that because he died so early there is no medal card because he did not go into action, but a death a certificate would make a strong case.”

Harry Davies served as a private in the 1/6 North Staffordshire battalion, which was sent to Luton after war was declared, but he was sent home ill after only a few weeks.

The articles which could finally give Harry a fitting resting place come from the Mail’s predecessors, the Burton Daily Mail and Burton Observer, dated from September and October 1914.

It is unclear why his grave was over looked for a headstone. But historian Malcolm Goode (pictured), who uncovered the tragic tale, said his research had been hampered by missing early records.

He told the Mail he felt it was ‘not right’ Harry did not have a headstone given that he had volunteered to fight for his country.

Mr Goode said: “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.”

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