b. 03/10/1900 Newlyn, Cornwall. d. 27/09/1975 Sydney, Australia.
DATE AND PLACE OF GC ACTION: 12/09/1940 London.
Robert John “Jock” or "Bob" Davies (1900-1975) was born in Newlyn, Cornwall on 3rd October 1900, the son of John Sampson Davies and his wife Annie (nee Vingoe). He had two sisters Jessie and Annie, and attended local schools in Newlyn. His father worked abroad in the mining industry, chiefly in South Africa. During the First World War, he emigrated to Canada and later joined the Canadian Army on 11th January 1918 at the age of 17. Whilst in service, he obtained his BA and AMICE in Canada, also attending Buchtel College in Akron, Ohio, USA. He was also part of the Canadian Siberian Expeditionary Force from 1918-19. They were based in Vladivostock and didn’t engage in the hostilities.
In 1920, he married his first wife, Isabella Malcolm Coupland in Ontario, Canada, and she had Scottish roots, having emigrated from Edinburgh in 1912. Robert and Isabella went on to have four children Robert John, David Graham, June and Barbara Edith and they lived in St Catherine’s, Ontario. Robert began working for a construction company. Robert (Snr) had various postings in West Africa and also South America but the family lived in New York State and Ontario until the 1930s when they came back to the U.K. and lived in Plymouth.
On the outbreak of WWII, Robert enlisted with the Royal Engineers in 1940, and became involved in bomb disposal at the height of the London Blitz. On 12th September 1940, he was with a party of sappers including George Wyllie. They were sent to recover a bomb that had fallen near St Paul's Cathedral.
Davies’ and Wyllie’s GCs were announced on 30th September 1940 and he managed to survive the War despite his hazardous work. Robert had a fall from grace two years after the award of his GC, when he was convicted of improperly receiving £500 from Messrs Charrington & Co, and was sentenced to two years imprisonment without hard labour.
Robert’s first marriage to Isabella soon collapsed, and he met his second wife June Marguerite Draper in 1946. They had a daughter Delphine in 1950, and a year later, Robert emigrated to Australia, with his wife and daughter following on a year later. The family moved from New South Wales to Queensland to Victoria, where they had a son, Dmitri in 1958. In 1961, the family moved again to Wagga Wagga, on the outskirts of Sydney, New South Wales where Robert ran a construction business until his retirement. He died on 27th September 1975 in Sydney, and was cremated at Northern Suburbs Crematorium. His GC, Defence Medal 1939-45 and War Medal 1939-45 are on loan to the Imperial War Museum, London, and displayed in the Ashcroft Gallery. Sadly, his Great War, WWII Stars and 1953 QEII Coronation Medal are missing from the group.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: LORD ASHCROFT GALLERY, IMPERIAL WAR MUSEUM, LONDON.
BURIAL PLACE: NORTHERN SUBURBS CREMATORIUM, SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA.
Robert Davies' medals at the Lord Ashcroft Gallery, Imperial War Museum, London (December 2014).
The above two images of Robert Davies GC courtesy of Malcolm Davies