I bought this superb photograph on eBay, recently. Uncommonly, the subject’s name is also published on the card; an added bonus. Unfortunately though, I cannot make a positive match for this man against one of the 11 million+ names currently published in a searchable database on this website. I have an idea who he MIGHT be and for the time being I will assign this photo to that man. But at this point I cannot be a hundred per cent sure. So what do we know about this soldier?
Ernest Davies – known facts
1. Name: Ernest Davies.
2. Regiment: 2nd Battalion, Royal Berkshire Regiment
3. Signaller: badge on the lower left arm, not to mention the flag he is holding
4. Good conduct. The chevron on his lower left arm signifies two years’ good conduct. This badge also came with an extra penny a day
5. Uniform: the pattern of uniform this man wears dates to 1902 onwards
6. Station: the 2nd Battalion, Royal Berkshire Regiment was stationed in Meerut from 1909. It remained there until 1912 at which point it moved to Jhansi
7.Photo date: Between 1909 and 1912 (based on the information in 6. above)
A quick look at the 1911 census reveals a 24-year-old Private Ernest Davies born in Basingstoke. In 1911 he was part of a detachment of 323 men stationed in Chakrata. Assuming that he had joined the army when he was no younger than eighteen years old (in 1905), his regimental number would have been greater than 7900.
There is an 8508 L-Cpl Ernest Charles Davies who served in France with the 2nd Royal Berkshire Regiment during the First World War. This man’s number indicates that he would have joined the regiment between March and October 1907, although he did not serve overseas in a theatre of war until at least 1916 as his only medal entitlement is the British War and Victory Medals. Sadly, Ernest Davies died in India on the 5th December 1916. His grave is now lost but he is commemorated on the Kirkee War memorial at Pune. He is now also commemorated on British Army Ancestors.