838499 Pte. John Albert Davis was the older of two sons of the widowed William James Davis, a farmer in Egremont Township, who took it upon themselves to enlist for the Canadian Expeditionary Force during the Great War.

John born in Egremont, Ontario, on October 30th, 1894, while his younger brother, William Cecil Davis was born on August 8th, 1895, also in Egremont.

The decision to enlist must have weighed heavily on John's mind for, as the eldest son, the farm would be his birth right, if he wanted it. This custom of passing on the family farm to the eldest son is probably why his younger brother Cecil, as he was known, had set out on his own and was working as a bank clerk in Lindsay, when John finally decided to enlist.

John attested into the 147th Battalion on January 6th, 1916. Upon joining the Battalion he was assigned to "C" Company, under the command of Captain Dobbie. Cecil attested later, in May 1916.

Billeted locally over the winter the 147th Battalion mobilized in Owen Sound in the spring of 1916 and left for training at Camp Niagara. As the conditions at Camp Niagara were wanting the unit moved to the new training facility of Camp Borden in late June. In September the unit received their orders to proceed overseas, but due to an outbreak of diphtheria they were detained in Amherst, Nova Scotia, for over a month. The unit finally sailed for Great Britain, on November 14th 1916, aboard the S.S. Olympic.

On January 1st, 1917, the 147th Battalion ceased to exist when it became the nucleus for the 8th Reserve Battalion, whose task it was to supply reinforcements to the 58th Battalion and the 4th C.M.R.

On February 7th, 1917, John was taken on strength of the 4th C.M.R. in the build-up for the Battle of Arras, which included the storming of the Vimy Ridge by the Canadian Corps.

John survived that battle and was then joined by Cecil, who was sent on to the 4th C.M.R. on April 22nd in a reinforcement draft to replace the casualties inflicted during the Arras battles.

Seeing service with the 4th C.M.R. through the summer of 1917, the Battle of Passchendaele, in October 1917, proved costly to the Davis family. The 4th C.M.R. was one of the assaulting units during the opening day of the battle forming the left flank of the 3rd Canadian Division. Their job was to secure the western slope of Bellevue Spur and it was during the opening attack on October 26th that Cecil was killed in action. John was wounded on the 29th as the battle still raged.

John went on to serve and survive the war, being struck off strength of the 4th C.M.R. on May 23rd, 1919. Cecil's exhumed body would be laid to rest in the Tyne Cot Cemetery, located on the crest of Passchendaele Ridge within sight of Bellevue Spur.

Both men are remembered on the Holstein Cenotaph: John for his service and Cecil for his loss.

Biography credits: George Auer