b. 1930 | British Army
Kenneth Davies was born in South Wales in 1930. He enlisted in the British Army at the age of 17 and served in the 1st Battalion of the Welch Regiment, with whom he was a mechanic and driver. While serving with the regiment, he spent time in Hong Kong and even got to sing with Bob Hope and Angela Lansbury!
Kenneth Davies was born on the 26th of January 1930 in Oakdale, near Blackwood, and refers to himself as a “Western Valley Boy.”
His father was a miner but he was caught in a mine flood in 1933 and was adamant that his sons wouldn’t follow him down the mines. When Kenneth was 14, the family moved to Barry in South Glamorgan.
Three years later, Kenneth enlisted in the Regular Army and into the 1st Battalion of the Welch Regiment. It was just before Christmas of 1947 and he was immediately posted home on leave.
The Regular Army
Kenneth undertook ten weeks of basic training at the Army’s Dering Lines camp in Brecon, after which he was sent to Newbury in Berkshire to train as a mechanic. Trade training lasted for 18 weeks before Kenneth was posted to the Far East.
The Regiment shipped out from Liverpool Docks and were stationed in Hong Kong. While he was there, an American troop ship berthed in Victoria Harbour. The ship carried a concert party and the British Army were invited to watch the show. Kenneth and his fellow Welch Regiment soldiers went on board to see Bob Hope and Angela Lansbury perform.
“Bob Hope said ‘I know there’s a lot of Welshmen here, can anybody sing?’ My mates shouted ‘yes, he can,’ pointing to me and pushed me up onto the stage. I was as nervous as hell in front of a whole ship of American and British troops. I sang ‘I’m Looking Over a Four-Leaf Clover’ with Bob Hope and Angela Lansbury.”
– Kenneth Davies –
Leaving the Army
Kenneth spent 12 months in Hong Kong, during which time he sustained injuries to his foot. He was then sent back to Wales and stationed at the Drill Hall in Llanelli, where he worked on military transport vehicles.
He left the Army with the rank of Lance Corporal on the 23rd of March 1953 but remained on the Reserve List for the next 12 years. In 1957, Kenneth was called up for the Aden Conflict and reported to the Maindy Barracks in Cardiff, only to be stood-down just before departure.
He left the Army for good in 1963. Kenneth continued his trade in the transport industry for the rest of his working life. He mostly drove lorries long-distance and spent 18 years with one heating contractor.
He married three times and now lives in Llanelli.