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'Ambush Alf', World War II veteran, dies at 97

Alf Davies narrowly escaped one of the Second World War’s worst atrocities, SS Wormhout.

A Dunkirk veteran, from Llandudno, who narrowly escaped one of the Second World War’s worst atrocities has died at the age of 97.

Alf Davies was in a convoy of trucks ambushed by the Germans in the French town of Wormhout in May 1940.

Soldiers from the 1st SS Panzer Division Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler killed around 80 British soldiers and French POWs in the town by throwing grenades into a barn where they were being held.

Alf, who was nicknamed “Ambush Alf” on his return to his home town of Llandudno, survived by jumping into a river and escaping to the beaches at Dunkirk.

Speaking in 2014 Alf said it was 'was absolute chaos'.

The Germans dropped leaflets telling us to lay down our weapons and surrender, saying we were surrounded and we knew the only way out was Dunkirk.

The captain came up with the idea of a shortcut to Dunkirk through a place called Wormhout. We passed infantry who told us to turn back but we pressed on and when we came into Wormhout the SS were up in buildings and on roofs.

They opened fire and it was absolute chaos.

We all jumped down from the trucks and scattered.

It was pretty much every man for himself.

– Alf Davies, speaking in 2014

Alf and his two friends managed to get to the beaches at Dunkirk, using a motorbike they found.

The three men escaped on board a ship.

Alf remembered nothing until he awoke in England.

It was a terrible time and I saw so many people, good friends die.

You can never forget and I think about them all the time.

It was horrific, there’s no two ways about it.

– Alf Davies, speaking in 2014

After the war he worked repairing roads.

He married Olwen in 1946.

Taid (grandad) was very well known in Llandudno and was a member of the Llandudno Football Club and the Royal Artillery for many years. He was a very kind man, and was very modest about his efforts in the war.

He would not discuss it much unless we asked to hear about his experiences.

We are all very proud of him, he had a long and happy life, full of interesting stories which can be passed down for generations to come.

We will miss him dearly.

– Nia Owen, Alf Davies' grandduaghter

Llandudno is now twinned with Wormhout.