Dai Davies’ Great War: Welsh boxers in World War I

As part of a series looking at the history of the most prominent Welsh boxers during World War I, we consider the experiences of Dai ‘Chips’ Davies.

Tylorstown’s Davies is most famous for his bitter rivalry with his near-neighbour Jimmy Wilde.

Details of his life and career are limited and sketchy, but he built a reputation as a rough and rugged opponent, able to take excessive punishment and keep coming at his foe.

Davies joined the army and seems to have continued his boxing career while in the ranks.

Boxing historian Gareth Jones says that Davies captured five Germans single-handed in 1915 and was recommended for a Distinguished Conduct Medal, while – on another occasion – he and a colleague went into battle armed just with shovels.

I am again grateful to Jones for the information that Davies was wounded in the thigh at the Battle of Festubert (15-25 May, 1915).

By December 1915 he had recovered sufficiently to box again – the sketchy records concerning his ring life show a bout against Jim Prendy, and in 1917 he featured in recorded fights against ‘Corporal Pooley’ and Frankie Ash.

Davies survived the war but would die at a young age, estimated to be about 40.

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