Sydney Guy Davey was a vicar’s son from Horningtoft in Norfolk. Born in the summer of 1893, he came up to New House for a four year stay in 1908. He sang solo in school concerts “receiving well-deserved applause” and played for the hockey XI and the 2nd cricket team, on one occasion taking 7 wickets for 398 runs against the village side from Thurning. He also had talent as an actor and linguist. He appeared in Much Ado about Nothing and also in a French play where he received “special commendation as regards acting and fluency of speech.” In House rugby, he was part of the ill-fated New House team of 1911 where 14 served in the war and 8, including Justin Willis, Tom Warner and Frederick Milholland were killed.
Leaving Oundle, he went up to Clare College, Cambridge. He got his commission in the OTC in 1914 and took an honours degree in history in June 1915.
He joined the Norfolk Regiment and was attached to the Machine Gun Corps in June 1916. He reached France in December of that year, was promoted to the rank of Captain and then Major in February 1918. He was killed in the so-called first battle of Bapaume, where British forces abandoned the town and most of their gains on the Somme in the face of the Germans Spring Offensive.
He was reported missing, believed killed in action on 25th April 1918, aged 24, at Ervillers.
His colonel wrote: “He fought with his company with the greatest gallantry and devotion to duty – their work was of the utmost value to the country. He was beloved by all who met him; he was absolutely unselfish; he was absolutely brave. We have lost a very gallant, Christian gentleman.”
Sydney Davey’s body was never recovered and he is remembered on the Arras Memorial for the Missing.
In his local church in Aldborough, Norfolk, where his father was the vicar, his fiancée placed a memorial brass plaque and his name appears on a stained glass window.