Born: 29th December 1879, Rothwell, Northamptonshire.

Baptised: 27th July 1880, at St. Leonard’s Church, Loddington, Northamptonshire. Parents: Emma & Charles William Davis, a Shoe Maker.

Died: 5th May 1901; age: 21; Died of Enteric Fever, at Pretoria, Gauteng, South Africa.

ENTERIC FEVER   Enteric Fever (eneterica serotype bacteria) was a rampant bacterial infection during the South Africa Boer War – 1899 – 1902.

This systemic disease, now known as Typhoid Fever, from the bacterium Salmonella typhi, is characterised by fever and abdominal pain. The disease is spread via the lymphatic system and can affect other parts of the body, or even the whole body. The symptoms usually developed a week or two after a person had became infected bringing on a high temperature, headaches, coughs, lethargy, aches and pains, lose of appetite, sickness and diarrhoea. After 2 – 3 weeks intestinal bleeding.

Enteric Fever was originally thought to be spread via dust storms and flies.

Human carriers with acute illness can contaminate the surrounding water supply through their faeces, which contains a high concentration of the bacteria. The polluted water supply can, in turn, taint the food supply. Enteric (Typhoid) Fever is then contracted by drinking, or eating the contaminated food or water. This bacteria can survive for weeks in water or dried sewage.

In 1897, an effective vaccine was developed by Almroth Wright and William Leisman, at the Army Medical School, Netley. At the time of the Boer War, the new inoculation had many side effects, and soldiers refused the voluntary immunisation. The inoculation was still voluntary in August 1914, when Great Britain entered the First World War. 

Residence: 34, Cobden Street, Kettering, Northamptonshire.

Occupation: in the Shoe Trade.

Enlistment Date: 20th June 1898.


Sent to South Africa in October 1899, prior to which he was stationed at the regiment’s headquarters.


Rank: Private; Service Number: 5166.

Regiment: Suffolk Regiment, 1st Battalion, South Africa Field Force.


Clasps Awarded: Cape Colony, Orange Free State & Transvaal + South Africa 1901 medal.




1881   3, Gold Street, Kettering, Northamptonshire.


Arthur was a year old and living with his parents.

Charles William Davis, 20, a Shoe Maker, born Rothwell.

Emma Davis (nee Bates), 21, born Loddington.


1891   34, Cobden Street, Kettering, Northamptonshire.


Arthur was 11 years old and living with his parents & siblings.

Charles, 30, a Shoe Maker.

Emma, 31.

Anne Elizabeth Davis, 9, born Kettering.

Winifred Alice Davis, 6, born Kettering.

Walter Henry Davis, 4, born Kettering.

Edith Maud Davis, 2, born Kettering.

1 boarder.


Soldiers’ Effects to Charles William Davis – father.


Arthur’s brother, William Charles Davis, of 33, Nelson Street, Kettering, a Shoe Operative at a factory lost his life in the First World War. William was KiA on the 13th November 1916, age 21. He was ranked an Able Seaman, service number Z/4406, for the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, Nelson Battalion, Royal Naval Division. He is commemorated on Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France.


We regret to record the death in South Africa of a further Kettering soldier in the person of 5166 Private A. Davis, of the 1st Suffolk Regiment, who died of Enteric Fever at Pretoria on the 5th May. The sad intelligence was communicated to the deceased’s parents, who live at 34, Cobden Street, Kettering, this morning by the Colonel in Command of the 12th Regimental District at Bury St. Edmunds. The young man, who was 21 years of age, was ordered to South Africa in October 1899, prior to which he was stationed at the regiment’s headquarters. A short time before Arthur died, he sent a letter to his parents, in which he stated the many hardships he had to undergo and that his rations per day consisted of half a pint of mazie and a plate of something answering for meat. For an envelope he tore off one or two pieces of his khaki coat and sewed them into a bag the shape of an envelope. The letter was written on a sheet of a magazine.

Much sympathy is being extended towards Mr. and Mrs. Davis in their sad bereavement.


Pictures of Arthur’s letter to his parents written on a sheet from a magazine, and his handmade envelope torn pieces from his tunic courtesy of Michael.



One of the notable Battles with a large loss of Suffolk life was the “Battle of Suffolk hill” at Colesberg, Northern Cape 5th- 6th January 1900. The hill was originally called Red or Grassy Hill. The Suffolk regiment was ordered to make a night attack on a Boer position on the heights, four companies, 354 of all ranks, set out at midnight under the command of Col. Watson. The Suffolks were met by a storm of bullets. The Colonel was amongst the first to fall, and the party later retired with 11 officers and 150+ men killed, wounded or captured.

The Boer War.

Suffolk Regiment 

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