Following my appeal for information relating to any of the Sevenoaks Anzacs, I was pleased to hear from Keith Davey, a great nephew of Kenrid Davey, who was one of six men I had listed from the Sevenoaks area who had emigrated to New Zealand before the outbreak of war.
Kenrid Horace Davey was born in Riverhead in late 1888, the son of David Davey and his wife, Elizabeth, known as Lizzie. The 1891 census shows the family living on Chipstead Lane with David working as a plumber and painter; Kenrid was one of six children then living at home. By 1901, the family were living at The Old School House in Chipstead.
Leaving for New Zealand
There is a Horace Davey, aged 24 listed on the passenger list for the Ionie, which departed on 23 May 1912 for New Zealand. It’s possible that this is Kenrid and interesting to note that both George Marshall and Arnold Jarvis were also on board. Like Kenrid, both George and Arnold emigrated and later fought, serving with the AIF, but unlike Kenrid who survived, they are remembered on the Sevenoaks war memorial. It is interesting to speculate that they knew each other and were making the trip together.
Kenrid’s service records show that was working as a butcher when he enlisted and was 5’4″ tall, weighing 155 pounds. He gave his next of kin as his father who by then was living at Saint William’s Villa, Dunton Green, while his nearest relative in New Zealand was his older sister, Phyllis.
He embarked from Wellington on 9 October 1915 as a Rifleman in 1st Battalion, New Zealand Rifle Brigade bound for Suez and served in Egypt for the remainder of 1915 before leaving for the Western Front the following year. He was wounded in his left arm by a shell on 10 September 1917 at Ypres and was invalided to England two weeks later.
His papers show a largely exemplary service record with just three disciplinary incidents: being AWOL for 2 hours in November 1916 (lost 14 days pay), trotting a horse on a cobbled road in January 1917 (lost 7 days pay) and for being without his helmet in March 1917 (lost 8 days pay).
Kenrid returned to New Zealand and died in 1968. His brother, Keith Davey’s grandfather, Sidney Charles Davey, also served having enlisted on 29 August 1914 and joined the Royal Engineers, eventually being promoted to Lieutenant.
Keith also mentioned that several cousins of Kenrid and Sidney had also lived in the Sevenoaks area and fought during the war, including Horace James Taylor, a cousin through their mother Lizzie’s sister, Emma, who had married Alfred Taylor.
A Cricketing Cousin
Horace Taylor was born in Sevenoaks on the 26 December 1895 and his father, Alfred, would have been well known in the town as a harness and saddle maker. The 1911 census shows the family living at 50-52 London Road (which was also known as Belgrave House) with Horace and his younger brother Alfred listed as being at school and their older sister, Millicent, recorded as an assistant school teacher.
Both boys attended Sevenoaks School as day boys; Horace could have attended any time between 1904 – 1912 and according to the Sennockian (1922) he left the school in 1912 and became a bank clerk.
Horace enlisted in late August 1914 when he was nineteen, joining the West Kent Yeomanry and saw service with them at Gallipoli and in Egypt before going on to serve in Palestine and France. He served as a Private, albeit holding the rank of corporal for two brief periods. By June 1918 Horace had returned to England to attend a cadet course, and he spent the remainder of the war working at the Larkhill Reception Camp in Wiltshire.
He is named on the Sevenoaks School’s Honour Board, in the 1914 Roll of Honour and on the roll of local serving men in St Nicholas’ Parish Church. His brother, Alfred, also saw service having joined the London Regiment (2nd Battalion) on the outbreak of war, but in 1916 was transferred to the West Riding Regiment (13th Battalion). Both brothers survived the war.
Horace was known for his interest in and talent for cricket, first displayed at School when he played in the First XI 1910 – 1912. He was later a member of the Kent County side between 1922 – 1928. Horace married Doris Austin in Tonbridge in 1935 and lived on until 1961.
Research has shown a further link with one of the men named on the Sevenoaks war memorial. In January 1916 Horace and Alfred’s sister, Millicent, married their former fellow pupil, Arthur Thompson, son of the Sevenoaks Post Office Superintendent.
Arthur was killed later that year in the September during the Battle of the Somme. The Sevenoaks School Quarterly obituary speaks of “his young wife, whose courage under her cruel loss has taught us all a lesson of endurance and faith”. Arthur’s brother, Sidney Ernest Thompson, had died on 25 September 1915 and is buried at Greatness cemetery, Sevenoaks.
My thanks to Keith Davey and Sally Robbins, Archivist at Sevenoaks School, for their invaluable help with this post. Please do get in touch if you have a link to any of the other Sevenoaks Anzacs or men named on the war memorial.