Remembering Cpl James Davies VC

Just over 100 years after his death in Flanders, this brave soldier’s sacrifice together sadly with many others was commemorated during the presenting of the Royal Welsh colours in Abergavenny yesterday.

The parade of 70 regular army soldiers was organised in reaffirmation of the Freedom of Monmouthshire parade being granted to the regiment in 2011 in Monmouth.

They were led by their Regimental Band and Corps of Drums who were all Army Reserve volunteers with the local Army Cadets following them.  Separating the soldiers from their band was the Regimental goat mascot on the march to St. John’s Square from the start just opposite Borough market.

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I asked the goat major why he was allowed a beard to which he answered “because the goat has one” which sounded like a reasonable excuse!
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Bandsmen all army reservists – with their leader sporting a huge bearskin hat and a rather portly figure – but hugely impressive nonetheless…

The parade started with the familiar commands of “standing/dressing in open order” which brought back memories and not a little tear in my eyes, followed by the band playing – as can be seen in this video.

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The men sporting a white hackle above their cap badge
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A very appreciative crowd gathered to see them off

The personal weapon drilled with was the SA80 with a bayonet attached which looked only slightly easier than my own Sterling 9mm SMG backing in Templar barracks for the Squad 29 pass out parade!

After arriving at the square, the speeches were very good both from the town mayor David Simcock who reminded us of the forces covenant especially as the Royal Welsh had deployed recently to Iraq and Afghanistan with an imminent move to Estonia after recent exercises in Canada.

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St John’s Square the corporal had been in service over fifteen  years when asked by the inspecting mayor which made me feel quite humble
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The dignitaries taking the salute

After the speeches Debbie and I made our way back to the Freelander parked in the rugby car park, stopping along the way to pay our respects at the town’s war memorial in honour of one of the predecessors of the Royal Welsh our own 3rd Battalion Monmouthshire Regiment and the statue of a “Tommy” contemplating the fighting in Ypres.

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Going back to the beginning of this post of course James our youngest son shares the same name as the poor soldier from 100 years ago awarded the Victoria Cross, long may the peace last that we all enjoy thanks to our wonderful armed forces.

Remembering Cpl James Davies VC

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