Downes, G J (Downs, Israel G)

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G J Downes (Israel G Downs) MM

No 22507, Private, 15th Royal Welsh Fusiliers, Military Medal
Died of wounds, 13 May 1916, aged 22
Buried at Merville Communal Cemetery, France

CWGC registered (Son of Richard and Rebecca Downs, of 2 Parliament St, Bilston, Staffs)

Israel [George] Downs (or Downes), the son of Richard Downs and Rebecca Downs (formerly Judson, née Bradley) was born at Bilston, Staffordshire on 1 August 1893. Richard Downs was an ironworker and Israel was a pupil at St. Leonard’s Church of England (Controlled) School from 1897. In 1911, the family lived at 4 Crown Street, Bilston, Israel being employed as a potman and waiter in a public house. He moved to Llandudno and by the outbreak of war was working for the Silver Motor Company of Llandudno and boarded at the Risboro, Clement Avenue. At Llandudno he was known as George Downes.

Israel Downs volunteered to join the Royal Welsh Fusiliers at Llandudno at the end of 1914. He was posted to the 15th (Service) Battalion (1st London Welsh) with a regimental number of 22507. The 15th RWF had formed in London on 20 October 1914 and came under the orders of the 43rd Division at Llandudno which, in April 1915, became the 38th (Welsh) Division. After initial training at Llandudno, the division moved to Winchester in August 1915. Israel Downs disembarked in France on 3 December 1915.

On the night of 7/8 May 1916, Israel Downs was wounded whilst raiding enemy trenches near Fauquissart. He was evacuated to a casualty clearing station at Merville but succumbed to his wounds on 13 May 1916 aged 22. He was buried at Merville Communal Cemetery. For his heroism during the raid, Israel Downs was posthumously awarded the Military Medal.

Known memorials:

  • Llandudno Roll of Honour (As G J Downes)
  • Llandudno War Memorial (ditto)
  • Memorial Chapel, Holy Trinity Church, Llandudno (ditto)
  • Bilston War Memorial (As Israel G Downes)

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