Orders, Decorations and Medals (19 & 20 March 2008)

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Date of Auction: 19th & 20th March 2008

Sold for £1,200

Estimate: £1,000 - £1,200

Military General Service 1793-1814, 1 clasp, Albuhera (David Davis, 7th Foot) edge bruising and contact marks, otherwise very fine £1000-1200


David Davis, a weaver from Myvott, near Welshpool, enlisted in the 7th Foot in April 1809, aged 29 years.

He subsequently fought with his regiment at Albuhera in May 1811, in which action he received gunshot wounds to his hand and right hip (WO 97/342 refers), a perhaps not startling revelation in lieu of the overall British casualty rate of 61% - of the 28 officers and 540 men present, two officers and 47 men were killed, and 13 and 287 wounded. Moreover, it was the 7th who came off worse in Myers’ Fusilier Brigade, when they attempted to break the dreadful deadlock between the French and the rapidly diminishing remnants of the 2nd Division:

‘The Fusilier Battalions, struck by the iron tempest, reeled and staggered like sinking ships. Suddenly and sternly recovering, they closed on their terrible enemies, and then was seen with what a strength and majesty the British soldier fights ... Nothing could stop that astonishing infantry and the mighty mass (of the enemy), giving way like a loosened cliff, went headlong down the ascent. The rain flowed after in streams discoloured by blood, and 1500 unwounded men, the remnant of 6000 unconquerable British soldiers, stood triumphant on the fatal hill!’

Davis served with the Regiment until March 1813, when he was transferred to the 13th Royal Veterans’ Battalion, and, in April 1815, was finally discharged in consequence of his old Albuhera wounds.

In 1842, he applied to Chelsea Hospital from his residence in Welshpool for admission as an in-pensioner, and went before the Board on 27 September. The subsequent report noted that he was ‘wounded in the hip and left hand at Albuera’, and that his wife and two step-daughters were resident in America, but nonetheless his application was unsuccessful (WO 23/165 refers). Then in February 1866, when aged around 86 years, and living in the Cardiff district, he applied for an increase in his 6d. a day pension, but this, too, was refused.