'Letters from Mary kept me going during D-day landings'


David Humphreys

LETTERS from his wife would give a courageous soldier confidence as he went into battle.

As the 70th anniversary of D-Day approaches on June 6, Second World War veteran Edward Arthur Davies, 96, of Upper River Bank, Bagillt, has recalled how correspondence from Mary, his wife of 73 years, used to help as he went in to conflict.

He said: “We’d get this air mail but it’d be hard because we’d move everywhere all the time.

“We’d be on a boat moving into start invasions and they’d just hand them to us then to perk us up.

“Letters from Mary always gave me the confidence.”

Mr Davies, a recipient of the George Cross to the Island Fortress of Malta, said he has known Mary, 94, since she was just 16 years old.

“I’ve known her for 78 years. We were courting when I was 21 and she was 18.

“Her father was strict and she had to be back in the house at a certain time and for a while I’d wait for her at the top of her road in River Bank in Bagillt.

”Mary stood out among the hundreds of women I used to work with.”

The former factory supervisor received the call up to the forces in March 1940, expecting to be drafted into the RAF only to be placed in the Royal Army Medical Corps where he served until 1946.

Mr and Mrs Davies remained in correspondence and married while he was on leave on March 13, 1941.

“Those three days leave were the happiest days of my life,” he said.

The couple went on to have two sons, Alan and Russell, as well as two grandchildren and three great grandchildren.

The trick to such a long marriage was down to just three things, Mr Davies said.

“Confidence, luck and genes I suppose.

“I had so many near misses that luck was very important.”

One of those near misses included the night of the Normandy landing on June 5, 1944, as Mr Davies was treating a wounded colleague.

“I’d just put some morphine in this sergeant’s arm and heard a crack in my backpack.

“A bullet had lodged in some bandages, passing through a tube of Vaseline and some scissors.

“My companion looked at me and said: ‘That’s a lucky escape Taffy!’”

Mr Davies was awarded the George Cross to the Island Fortress of Malta medal in 2005 after receiving a Second World War victory medal as well as medals for his time in France, Germany and Italy, but said he wasn’t keen to highlight it.

“I didn’t want any fuss or bother, I just sat back, I wanted to forget about it.

“I deserve them because I was there, I’m certainly very proud of it.

“I don’t think there’s many people who have as many medals as I do.”

Despite remembering the events clearly, Mr Davies said the D-Day anniversary can be quite a distressing time.

“At this time of year, I get a bit down, it’s an awful time of year.

“When you’ve been with people for three or four years all over the world and suddenly lose them, it creeps up on you this feeling.

“I lost a lot of mates. You see a lot of stuff on television but you don’t know what it’s like unless you’ve actually done it.”

See full story in the Leader

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