John L Davies

John Llewellyn Davies

John Llewellyn Davies. Photo: NZ Truth

John Llewellyn Davies
Born 25 Sep 1884 at Christchurch
Died 1 Jan 1930 at Auckland, age 45

Mr Davies was a radio engineer who served as Officer in Charge of the Auckland wireless station before being transferred to the same role at “the new experimental station” on the Chatham Islands.

On 16 March 1914, he married Selina (Lena) Harrold Forbes of Christchurch, in a ceremony on the Chatham Islands, and on 30 March the couple arrived in Christchurch on their way to Awarua.

Mr Davies was Officer in Charge at Awarua Radio for four months from 1 April 1914 before being appointed an Honorary Lieutenant in the NZ Army. He served with the Expeditionary Force (Advance Party) which seized the wireless station at Apia during World War 1, and was awarded the Croix-de-Guerre medal by France.

On returning to New Zealand, he resumed his duties at Awarua until the end of 1917, and then succeeded LW Bourke as Officer in Charge at Awanui Radio before re-enlisting with the Samoa Reinforcements as Officer in Charge of the Apia wireless station.

Returning again to New Zealand, Mr Davies resumed his position as Officer in Charge at Awanui Radio until 1923. There is some evidence that he was planning a third trip to Samoa in 1922, to work as a wireless operator at Apia Radio but is unknown whether this occurred.

John Davies died Auckland on New Years Day 1930 in a suicide pact he had made with a woman, who survived. It was reported at the time that he had one child.

The following year, his widow Selena married LW Bourke, who had preceded Davies at Awanui, and who may also have preceded him at Auckland (further research needed).

Worked at:

  • Auckland Radio: Officer in Charge, until March 1913
  • Pennant Hills (Sydney): Tests of the new Awanui station during March and April 1913
  • Chathams Radio: Officer in Charge, 1913 – 1914 (12-month assignment)
  • Awarua Radio: Officer in Charge, 1 Apr 1914 – 9 Aug 1914
  • Nominated for military commission, 11 Aug 1914
  • Apia Radio: Honorary Lieutenant in the NZ Expeditionary Force (Advance Party) and Wireless Expert (Assistant Engineer) during the seizure of Samoa.
    • Enlisted 11 Aug 1914, a month before his 30th birthday
    • Embarked 12 Aug 1914 aboard HMT Moeraki
    • Arrived in Apia 29 Aug 1914
    • Embarked 26 Nov 1914 aboard SS Navua
    • Arrived in New Zealand 7 Dec 1914
    • Resigned his commission 9 Dec 1914
  • Awarua Radio: Officer in Charge, 11 Jan 1915 – 11 Dec 1917
    During this time, Mr Davies was in a motor accident in which he suffered a fractured skull with paralysis of his face and a fractured ankle1
  • Awanui Radio: Officer in Charge, from Dec 1917 until returning to Samoa in August 1918
  • Apia Radio: Honorary Captain in the NZ Expeditionary Force (Samoa Reinforcements) and Officer in Charge in the Wireless Corps.
    • Re-enlisted 17 Aug 1918, a month before his 35th birthday
    • Embarked 24 Aug 1918 aboard SS Talune
    • Returned to NZ 4 Nov 1919 medically unfit. This was due to ostitis in his foot, which was attributed to his ankle injury while at Awarua in 1915.
    • Transferred to Reserve of Officers (Temporary) on 4 Dec 1919
  • Awanui Radio: Officer in Charge, from 1919
    In 1921, while at Awanui, Mr Davies received his Croix de Guerre medal from the French government
  • Apia Radio: Wireless Operator. Mr Davies is recorded as in transit to Samoa with the NZ Territorial Force on 3 Nov 1922. He was to receive extra pay as “sub censer”.
  • Retired from the NZ Army on 15 Jun 1928
  • Mr Davies wrote to the military from Auckland in November 1928 to remind them that he had left Awanui “five years ago” (i.e. 1923) and was now living in Auckland.
  • At the time of his death on 1 Jan 1930, Mr Davies was managing director of Radio, Ltd. in Auckland.
John Davies and his wife Selena Davies signed this receipt while based at Awanui Radio in 1921

John Davies and his wife Selena Davies signed this receipt while based at Awanui Radio in 1921

A French Croix de Guerre medal from World War 1

A French Croix de Guerre medal from World War 1

Links:

Military Record 1

Military Record 2

Online Cenotaph

Notes:

  1. Recruitment medical check, 29 May 1914