A MAN who had a distinguished 37-year Army career has died.

David John Davies was just 18 when he enlisted as a Private in the Royal Army Medical Corps.

When he officially retired from the Army at the age of 55, he had risen through the ranks to become a Lieutenant Colonel – the first man to do so in that regiment.

And even then, he could not leave Army life. He spent the next 10 years working behind the scenes for the service.

Mr Davies, 93, of Almondbury, died in Huddersfield Royal Infirmary on June 30.

He was born in Berry Brow and chose a career in the forces after his father, Howell Davies, who had been in the Royal Artillery but also made his name as a top rugby player with the great Fartown side.

David Davies himself was also a keen sportsman and played rugby union for Huddersfield and later for the Army and the Combined Services.

His military career took him around the world and he served with the Desert Rats in North Africa. In later life, he met General Montgomery – and told him he had been in North Africa before him!

He worked on the front line, as a stretcher bearer and medic, tending to countless wounded troops.

Years later, he was watching TV at his Almondbury home and saw a documentary about the war – and spotted a badly-wounded soldier he had treated half a century earlier whom he thought would never survive.

He later served in West Africa and his work in transferring colonial hospitals to the local people later earned him the MBE, which he received at Buckingham Palace in 1958.

He served in Hong Kong, Singapore and Germany before returning to the UK and becoming commanding officer of the RAMC College and the Military Hospital in Aldershot.

After his retirement, he was an active member of Probus and also rekindled his love affair with Yorkshire County Cricket Club and Huddersfield Town.

One of his last outings was to see Town go down to Peterborough in the play-off final at Old Trafford.

His wife Bernice died some years ago and he is survived by his partner, Dr Joyce Ovens, sons John and Russell and grandchildren Max and Jacob.

A funeral service took place yesterday at Huddersfield Crematorium.