John A Davies lost his life in the line of duty on the 6th September 1993, alongside his colleague David Morris. Their Red Plaque was presented on the 9th July 2021.
John was killed whilst fighting a fire at Hereford’s Sun Valley poultry plant at Grandstand Road, Hereford, which involved 130 firefighters, using 23 pumping appliances.
As a Retained firefighter from Leominster Fire Station, John was working in Hereford the day of the fire and so booked himself as available for duty with the Hereford Retained unit. He responded to the fire at the factory, which started in a unit for defrosting meat. Insulation panels in the factory ceiling meant that smoke and flames were unnoticed travelling through the roof space and collapsed the ceilings. Alongside his colleague David Morris, John never made it out of the factory.
Their Red Plaque was presented on the 9th July 2021 at Queenswood Country Park and Arboretum which is on the boundary of the two stations (Leominster and Hereford) where John and David were stationed and its position at an arboretum was deemed fitting as it is in itself a place of remembrance. An additional permanent tribute in the form of a lead plaque was placed in their honour at the Hereford Cathedral in the Lady Arbour Garden on 13th May 2023 for the 30th anniversary. Students from Hereford’s NMITE University worked alongside the lead craftsmen on the project to create this fitting tribute, designed by Hereford Firefighters.
Dignitaries including His Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Herefordshire and the High Sherriff of Herefordshire will be attending, alongside the Chief Fire Officer and members of Hereford and Worcester Fire Authority.
Jon Pryce Chief Fire Officer & Chief Executive for Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service said following the service;
“David and John made the ultimate sacrifice while performing the duties that firefighters have to carry out every day. I cannot imagine what impact losing their loved ones has on those left behind.
“Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service has not forgotten David and John and I know we never will,”
Retired firefighter Shane Jones, who served with John and David at the Sun Valley fire, added his recollections of the day, remembering how crews from Ewyas Harold and Eardisley, several of whom were present at Queenswood, battled bravely but in vain to save the duo’s lives.
“It was a very long day but I went home at the end of it,” he said. “Two of my friends and colleagues didn’t.”
John is fondly remembered by his family, former colleagues, and brothers and sisters in the FBU, with a huge congregation gathering to pay tribute.
Below are memories added by those who knew John Davies or had a story that they wish to share with you. If you have a tribute for John Davies that you wish to add, please include your memory below.
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Photo credits: John Harris