Lowestoft family at soldier’s award ceremony

HE died while serving his country hundreds of miles from home.

But this week, more than 60 years after his death, Alan Davies was finally honoured

The Army driver, whose family live in Lowestoft, was remembered at Wattisham Airfield on Wednesday as his brother Richard received the Elizabeth Cross, alongside the relatives of three other fallen servicemen.

The awards, which seek to recognise bereaved families, were presented to the families by Lord Tollemache, Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk and Brigadier Andrew Williams, Commander of 49 (East) Brigade.

The presentation ceremony marked the end of a long fight by the Davies family to secure recognition for Alan who served in the Royal Army Service Corps, having enlisted on June 17, 1947 in Norwich.

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After completing his driver training, he was posted in February 1948 to the Royal Army Service Corps Depot Battalion, where he was sent to Palestine in March 1948 as part of the Middle East Land Forces.

He was killed on May 27, 1948 as a result of a serious road traffic accident while he was off duty in Haifa.

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After receiving the award on his brother's behalf, Richard said: 'I cannot really describe how I feel about receiving the award, it's a great honour and I am going to keep the medal in the house.

'I was at school when he died but I think he enjoyed the Army. It has been a long battle to get it sorted as we never got his Army number and I had to contact other Palestine vets to find photographs of him.'

Elizabeth Crosses were also awarded to the families of Lance-Corporal Alan Alderton, who died in 1955 in Cyprus, Major Christopher Dockerty, who was killed in a Chinook helicopter crash in the west of Scotland in 1994, and Private Arthur Playford, of the Royal Norfolk Regiment, who was killed at Little Gibraltar in Korea in 1952.

Mr Playford was one of nine children and members of his family from Beccles, including his brother Jack and sisters Gloria, Grace and Margaret, were at Wednesday's ceremony to receive his medal.

Brigadier Andrew Williams, said the event was important to those who died, and to their relatives.

He said: 'I think the importance of today cannot be underestimated and it is my privilege to be here at this ceremony. The inception of the medal is highly important as it helps to put another focus on remembering the dead. That the fathers and brothers of the fallen soldiers have been here to receive the awards is hugely felt.'

The Elizabeth Cross was introduced in 2009 to give recognition to bereaved families. All families of soldiers killed on operations or as a result of terrorist actions since January 1, 1948, are eligible to receive the medal.

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