Lest We Forget: World War 1 display

The RS, PSHE and History Departments  are working together on a display commemorating World War 1 with a story with a distinctly local flavour. We are focusing on the story of a Tring Park estate worker -  Henry Arthur Davey - injured in the Battle of Bazentin Ridge which was part of the Battle of the Somme Offensive during July 1916. He joined a Bedfordshire regiment aged 20; only a few years old than our own 6th Form.

By the end of just one day’s fighting, the casualty list was extremely long, his regiment alone having lost 330 officers and men. Our pupils are making a poppy for each of them. As you can see it will have quite an impact; we are inspired by Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red  a work of installation art placed in the moat of the Tower of London, England, between July and November 2014, commemorating the centenary of the outbreak of World War I. It consisted of 888,246 ceramic red poppies, each intended to represent one British or Colonial serviceman killed in the War. 

According to Army records, Private Davey received a gunshot wound to the spine on the 15th July 1916, resulting in paraplegia.  From the Bucks Herald, 17th March 1917:

DEATH OF PTE. H. A. DAVEY.− With profound regret the residents of Tring have heard the announcement of the death in hospital of Pte. Henry A. Davey, Bedfordshire Regiment, son of Mrs. Elizabeth Davey, a widow residing at Council-cottages, Brook-street.  The deepest sympathy is felt for the bereaved mother, which is the deeper because this is the second son that has fallen in the war, an older one, William, being killed in the Battle of the Somme  on July 11 last year.  Arthur Davey was one of the first to answer his country’s call, and joined the Bedfords a few days after the commencement of the war.  He proceeded to France and took part in the battle of Poizeres, on July 16, when he was severely wounded, a bullet passing almost through his body, fracturing several ribs and seriously injuring vital organs, the result being almost entire paralysis of the body and lower limbs.  Brought to England, he lay for eight months in King George’s Hospital, Waterloo, and succumbed to his terrible injuries on Saturday last, March 10.

As a lad he was an enthusiastic member of the Church Lads’ Brigade, and for five and a half years he was in the employ of the Rev. H. Francis (vicar), later being employed on the Tring Park Estate.  He was held in the highest esteem and respect by all with whom he came in contact.  As a member of the local bell-ringers he rendered good service, and his comrades showed their sympathy by ringing a muffled peal on the Church bells after the funeral, which took place on Thursday afternoon, the hospital authorities having sent the body home for interment in his native town.”