Born on 26th October 1892 at Bow/Poplar, son of Hughes (Physician & Surgeon) and Edith Davies. 1901: A scholar at Albion House School in Margate, the family home was at 82 Bow Road. 1911: A scholar at Rossall School in Lancashire, his parents were at “Clovelly” Salway Hill, Woodford Green, his father still working as a Doctor. Geoffrey was an excellent all round sportsman, playing cricket for Essex and Cambridge University where went in 1913, earning a degree from Selwyn College. He became a Member of the Middle Temple, and Woodford Golf Club.
He landed at Boulogne on 30th August 1915, and was involved in the Battle of Loos during 09-15. During the night of 24/25 September 1915 the Battalion marched into Bethune and the following day they moved forward again through the stream of British wounded coming back from the fighting at Loos.
On 26th September 1915 at 11.00, 72nd Brigade began attacking the German second line trenches at Hulluch between the positions of Puits and Stutzpunkt 4, and was to be supported by 11 Essex and 9 Suffolk. The Essex men were ordered forward at about mid day, advancing in the direction of Stutzpunkt 3, parallel with and 600 yards south of the Vermelles/Hulluch Road. Hulluch could be seen in the distance, from which both shell and machine gun fire began hitting the ranks as they crossed the Lens-La Bassée Road. Part of the Battalion tried to take Hulluch but suffered heavy casualties, and was forced to take shelter in the outskirts of the village. The remainder of the Battalion went on towards Stutzpunkt 4 but was held up by the uncut German wire. There was little shelter and casualties began to mount until the order was heard to retire. Small parties fell back the way they had come but suffered further casualties as the Germans continued to pour fire into them from Hulluch.
A German officer of the 26th Regiment who were opposing the Essex that day wrote: - “The Battalion Staff was on the left flank, south of Stutzpunkt IV, whence we had a wonderful view. The English attacked in whole hosts and with great dash. Our men fired standing up as fast as they could pull their triggers. No Englishmen got through the wire entanglement, and the ground in front was covered with bodies."
The Battalion casualties (including their Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Charles Edward Radclyffe DSO) were 18 officers and 353 men, “brought down by machine gun fire which sounded like the rattling of a mowing machine”. Geoffrey Davies was among those Killed in Action by the machine guns that day.
X/R: Lieutenant Ernest Langford Davies, Canadian Infantry (Cousin).
Research by Adrian Lee, Local Historian