Davis, Henry Ouseley

Davis, Henry Ouseley


5th Battalion attached 2nd Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles

Killed in action on Tuesday 27 October 1914 (aged 30)

No known grave


Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Le Touret Memorial, France (Panel Panel 42 and 43)

Holywood and District War Memorial

Holywood Parish Church of Ireland Church (St Philip & St James)

Portora Royal School Enniskillen

Campbell College Belfast

North of Ireland Cricket Club Memorial Plaque (includes those members of the Club who played Rugby Football)


Henry Ouseley Davis was born on 15 September 1884 in Church Road, Holywood and he was the eldest son of Henry and Mary Davis (nee Ouseley) who were married on 25 July 1883 in Rathmichael Parish Church of Ireland Church, Rathdown, Dublin.  Henry Davis from Holywood was a son of Henry Davis, a farmer.  Mary Ouseley from Dublin was a daughter of Thomas John Ouseley, a gentleman.

The Davis family lived in Church Road, in Fern Bank and at Abingdon, Holywood.

Henry Ouseley Davis’s great grandfather was Major-General Sir Ralph Ouseley.

Henry Davis Senior was a manufacturer of aprons and pinafores and he and Mary had six children including:

Henry Ouseley (born 15 September 1884 in Church Road, Holywood)

Frederick Jose (Jozé, born 21 November 1886 in Fern Bank, Holywood)

Mary Louise (born 13 May 1890 in Fern Bank, Holywood)

Ralph Coulton (born 15 August 1891 in Fern Bank, Holywood; died of haemophilia 26 November 1893)

Harold Newell (born 22 December 1893 in Fern Bank, Holywood)

Henry Ouseley Davis was educated at Portora Royal School Enniskillen, Belfast Mercantile College, Campbell College Belfast and the Royal Military College Sandhurst and he was gazetted to the Royal Dublin Fusiliers in August 1905.  He resigned his commission in 1910.

After his father died on 26 August 1905 (aged 57) Henry Ouseley Davis described himself as ‘assistant manager of a firm making up ladies working apparel’.  His mother was the manager.

Henry Ouseley Davis played cricket and golf and he was a member of the Headquarters Staff of the Ulster Volunteer Force.  He sought and obtained permission for Campbell College to be used as a hospital if civil war broke out in Ireland.  By July 1914 medical supplies and UVF nurses were installed at Campbell.

On 31 August 1914, shortly after the outbreak of the Great War, Henry Ouseley Davis was gazetted Captain in the 5th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles and in September 1914 he was attached to the 2nd Battalion for active service.

Captain Henry Ouseley Davis was 30 when he was killed in action by shrapnel at Neuve Chapelle on 27 October 1914 and he has no known grave.

There is correspondence on file between his brother Jose and the War Office dated May 1921, seeking authority to open certain graves with a view to identifying his remains.  This was not possible because all they had to go on was his height.

When he died his mother was living at St Elmo, Greencastle, Belfast and then at Abingdon, Holywood.

Captain Henry Ouseley Davis is commemorated on the Le Touret Memorial in France; on Holywood and District War Memorial; on the North of Ireland Cricket Club Memorial Plaque (includes those members of the Club who played Rugby Football) and on the Memorial Plaques in Holywood Parish Church of Ireland Church (St Philip & St James), Portora Royal School Enniskillen and Campbell College Belfast.

[The North of Ireland Football Club (members played Rugby Football as opposed to Soccer) was founded by members of the North of Ireland Cricket Club and the North of Ireland Cricket Club Memorial Plaque commemorates members of both Clubs.  Members of the Football Club were also members of the Cricket Club but not all members of the Cricket Club were members of the Football Club.]

A Memorial Tablet in Holywood Parish Church of Ireland Church bears the inscription:





27 OCTOBER 1914


Oh gallant heart that faced death unafraid,

Tis we, the living, weep; but you who died

Among those happy warriors are arrayed

Who rest from earthly warfare, sanctified

For you, the good fight fought, the battle stayed,

God’s peace unending on the further side.