Mrs Christian Davies

The story of the female dragoon is complicated because of the different names by which she was known - Kit Welsh, Mother Ross, Christian Davies. Her first name was Christian, or Kit, and she was married to a man named Richard Welsh. Around the year 1701 He was tricked into joining the army by a recruiting officer and sent to Flanders. Kit decided to find her husband and disguised herself as a man so that she could join the army herself and follow him out to the war. She first joined an infantry regiment but was discharged for fighting a duel with a sergeant whom she wounded. She re-enlisted in the Scots Greys and fought in the battle of the Schellenberg in 1702 where she was wounded, but still managed to conceal her gender. She also fought at Blenheim in 1704 but soon after found her husband. He was with another woman but promised to keep her identity a secret. At Ramillies in May 1706 she was still serving in the Greys and was badly injured when a shell fractured her skull. In hospital her sex was discovered. However she was reconciled with her husband and they renewed their marriage vows. The officers of the regiment attended the ceremony and gave her gifts of pieces of gold. After this she became a camp follower, working as a sutler. But her husband was killed soon after, and she had a relationship with a Captain Ross. He too was killed and she eventually married a soldier called Davies. When the army returned to England she was given a pension of a shilling a day and Mr and Mrs Davies ended their days in the Royal Hospital Chelsea. Christian Davies died on 7 July 1739 and was given military honours at her funeral. She is buried amongst the other Chelsea Pensioners.

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by Stephen Luscombe