THE heroics which gained men like Jack Davies the Victoria Cross and the horrors of life in the trenches are both being relived this weekend.
Echoes of the First World War is a series of tours which run at St George’s Hall, Liverpool, until Sunday.
Historian Frank Carlyle is guiding visitors around the Lime Street hall, revealing Merseyside stories of The First World War as actors in period costume relive the past and explore the lives of Victoria Cross recipients – Jack Davies from St Helens and Merseysiders William Ratcliffe and Noel Chavasse.
Born in 1895 on the Wirral, Jack grew up in St Helens, and when war broke out he enlisted in the St Helens Pals, the 11th Battalion of the Duke of Lancaster’s South Lancashire Regiment.
Jack – John Thomas Davies – went to France in November 1915. In 1916 he was wounded twice but on both occasions returned to action.
His gallantry is recorded on the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment Lancashire Infantry Museum’s website: “On March 24 the St Helens Pals were occupying positions 12 miles south west of St Quentin near the village of Eppeville.
“In the words of his VC citation: – “When his company – outflanked on both sides – received orders to withdraw, Corporal Davies knew the only line of withdrawal lay through a deep stream lined with a belt of barbed wire, and it was imperative to hold up the enemy as long as possible.
“He mounted the parapet, fully exposing himself, to get a more effective field of fire, and kept his Lewis gun in action to the last, causing the enemy many casualties and checking their advance.
“By his very great devotion to duty he enabled part of his company to get across the river, which they would otherwise have been unable to do, saving the lives of many of his comrades.
“When last seen this gallant NCO was still firing his gun, with the enemy close on the top of him, and was in all probability killed at his gun.
“His parents were notified of his death in action, and his Victoria Cross was gazetted posthumously, before information was received two months later that, he was a prisoner. He is believed to be the only person to have been awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross while still alive.”
He served during the Second World War as a captain in the Home Guard and died in October 1955, aged 60. He is buried in St Helens Cemetery.