Officer’s Steward 2nd Class John DAVIES
Killed in Action 27 October 1916
John Davies was the youngest son of George Davies, born 1871 in Hammersmith, and his wife Emily Marion nee Lyons. They had been married at St Peter’s Church, Hammersmith in 1891. In 1901, the family lived at 8 Saville Road, South Acton. George Edward (8) was the eldest son, Mary Ann was 7, Emily was 5, and Ethel was aged 11 months. John himself had been born on 7 December 1897. George Sr. had described himself as a plumber at his marriage, though a general labourer in 1901. By 1911, the family had moved to 73 Windmill Road in Chiswick. George again was a plumber, his wife worked as an ironer at the local laundry, as did Mary. George Edward worked as an errand boy.
At the time of John’s enlistment into the Royal Navy on 25 November 1914 he had been employed as a porter. He joined HMS Excellent, a shore training establishment, and by 7 December 1915 on attaining the age of 18, he gained the rank of Officer’s Steward, 3rd Class. He joined the crew of HMS Nubian as Officer’s Steward 2nd Class on 1 August 1916.
HMS Nubian was a Royal Navy Tribal-class destroyer. She was launched in 1909. During the Battle of Dover Strait, on the night of 26–27 October 1916 off Folkestone, Nubian‘s bows were destroyed by a torpedo from a large German Torpedo boat, one of a flotilla of 23 that had launched a raid against the Dover barrage and other allied shipping in the Channel. Nubian had been one of several destroyers brought in as reinforcements after the sinking of the defending destroyer HMS Flirt early in the action when a number of Drifters had also been sunk. Nubian was taken in tow and run aground at North Foreland.
15 of the crew of HMS Nubian were either killed or missing after the battle on 26 October 1916: James Bushell, W. Broomfield, J. Davies, L. Horsley, W, Keeling, F.H.J. Knight, W. Minors, L.E. Pronger, J. Rapson, F. Sayers, J. Sharp, J.W.Smith, W.G. Wavell and Stoker Alfred James Clewley
Another Tribal-class destroyer, Zulu, had her stern blown off by a mine near Dunkirk on 27 October 1916 and was towed to Calais. Both wrecks were ultimately towed to Chatham Dockyard where Zulu‘s bows were joined to the midsection and stern of Nubian. The resulting destroyer was given the portmanteau name Zubian, and commissioned on 7 June 1917. Zubian served until the end of the war, sinking the mine-laying U-boat UC-50 on 4 February 1918 off the coast of Essex. It was scrapped in 1919.
John has no known grave. He is officially commemorated on the War memorial at Chiswick Old Cemetery.
John’s brother George Edward also became a plumber. he married Elizabeth Lenton at Christ Church Turnham Green on Christmas Day 1913. Nothing is known about his war years.