La Vacquerie bell

  • Height  502 mm
  • Width  610 mm
  • Weight  147 kg
  • Note  F#
Bell Inscription

La Vacquerie
In Memory of William Darcy Davies.
Given by Margaret Davies.

William Davies

William Davies was born in September 1886 in Lower Hutt, Wellington. He was working as a driver for the Denhard Baking Company in Wellington when he enlisted in the New Zealand Expeditionary Force in May 1917. He joined the Canterbury Infantry Regiment and left for service overseas in August. After completing his final training at Sling Camp in England, William left for the Western Front. He joined his battalion a month after the disastrous attempt to capture Bellevue Spur, part of the drive on Passchendaele.

William soon became sick and he spent the Christmas and New Year period in hospital before returning to his battalion in early 1918. Over the months that followed a series of major German and Allied offensives took place on the Western Front, culminating in the Allies’ massive offensive against the Hindenburg Line. William was killed in action on 29 September, during the beginning stages of the offensive.

Remembering William

William’s mother Margaret remembered her son through the gifting of two memorials: a bell in the National War Memorial Carillon and marble steps at Karori Cemetery in Wellington. The bell was named ‘La Vacquerie’, likely after a small village in France that was captured by New Zealand troops as they advanced in late 1918; presumably William was killed at or near the village as he is buried nearby.

The memorial steps at the cemetery are inscribed in his memory: ‘These steps are erected by his mother to the memory of 57043 Gnr. W.D. DAVIES, who, with his comrades, fell in the Great War 29th Sept 1918 that we might live in peace and freedom. May the light of thy countenance shine upon them evermore’.

Further information:

Auckland War Memorial Museum Online Cenotaph record – William Davies
Commonwealth War Graves Commission record – William Davies

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