In memory of HMS Dunedin and her Men

Davis, RH

Jim Davis

Albert CookeConscripts - Skegness training, end 1939 3rd row on left end

john miles with bill gill and jim davis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Biographical Notes

Joined in 1939 in Scotland. Served on Northern Patrol, in Caribbean and Atlantic. Jim shared a raft with Petty Officer Butler, Able Seaman John Miles (pictured above, seated between Jim on the right and Bill Gill on the left), and Able Seaman Harry Cross. Their raft was the second or third one to be rescued by SS Nishmaha. See also Rafts and Rescue. Jim died, aged 98, at Badgers Wood Care Home, near his home in Norwich.

Jim was the second President of the Dunedin Society, following the death of the first President, Bill Gill, RM.

On return from Bermuda in 1940, one of Jim’s comrades gave him a poem that he had written, called No Regrets. Click here to see a copy of the original, but the text is reproduced below:

No Regrets

We’ve left the blazing tropics, left the heat behind,
Left the sweat and safety, for the travail of our kind,
We’ve parted from the romance, that tended us awhile,
Headed for our native land, that’s fighting Hitler’s guile.

Prickly heat has irked us and ‘dhobie itch’ as well,
Without a ‘rubber seaboot’, we’ve worried more than hell.
‘Roaches marched in thousands, then called on thousands more,
While flies settled on our carcase in groups of several score.

We’ll miss our grapefruit breakfast and ‘nanas’ for our tea,
Miss the swims and beaches, and the flying-fish at sea,
Miss the ‘whites’ to swank in, mourn the iced drinks,
And some will miss the ‘Colonel’ who stutters now methinks.

For the ark of stars is waning, and the moon has drawn her veil
And breathless nights now mock us, as we dare Atlantic’s gale.
The temperature has fallen and we swap our fans for fires,
Yet still our pulse runs strongly, for Britain’s need is dire.

So all regret is but a phrase, we’re stronger than our fate,
Our Island Home demands us back, the swines are at our gate.
We go without a coaxing, we’ve wished it all along,
We’re going back to Britain to swell the Victory song!!!!

 

Here’s how we celebrated Jim’s 98th birthday, on the website:

Happy 98th Birthday to our President, Jim Davis, 21st March 2017!

Jim Davis is one of the original four survivors who founded the Dunedin Society and he has been a dominant force behind the Society to keep the memories of his lost comrades alive. Jim joined HMS Dunedin in Scotland in 1939 and served in her on the Northern Patrol, in the Caribbean and the South Atlantic. When the first of two torpedoes hit Dunedin on 24th November 1941, Jim was reading a book on deck. Blown to the floor by the explosion, he made his way to a Carley raft and was rescued, along with the few other survivors, by the crew of SS Nishmaha on 27th November.
Jim went back to sea after returning to Britain and, in one of life’s great ironies, he was serving in HMS Stonecrop in April 1943 when she encountered and sank U-124, the U-Boat which had sunk HMS Dunedin.

We all wish Jim a very happy 98th birthday.

 

Jim Davis

It is with deepest regret that we report that Jim Davis died, aged 98, on 17th December 2017 at Badger’s Wood Care Home, near his home in Norwich. Our heartfelt sympathies and condolences go to his family.

Jim’s funeral took place at 1415 on Thursday 11th January at Earlham Crematorium, 193 Earlham Road, Norwich NR2 3RG. A short cremation service followed with the Norwich Naval Association and with full Naval Honours, Standard Bearer and Bugler. A memorial service took place at 1500 at Norwich Central Baptist Church, Duke Street, Norwich NR3 3AP. Both services were conducted by the Minister, Mark Fairweather-Tall.
Jim’s family has asked that donations in memory of Jim should be made to the RNLI. You can go straight to Jim’s page here
As one of the original four survivors who founded the Dunedin Society, Jim was a dominant force behind the Society to keep the memories of his lost comrades alive. He was present at the very first Dunedin Reunion, in 2001, and was very much a permanent fixture of almost every Dunedin event until his death. Jim was much loved by all Dunedin Society members and he will be remembered for his wonderful story-telling and – at times – his endearingly irreverent reminiscences! We all miss him.
Jim joined HMS Dunedin in Scotland in 1939 and served in her on the Northern Patrol, in the Caribbean and the South Atlantic. When the first of two torpedoes hit Dunedin on 24th November 1941, Jim was reading a book on deck. Blown to the floor by the explosion, he made his way to a Carley raft and was rescued, along with the few other survivors, by the crew of SS Nishmaha on 27th November.
Jim went back to sea after returning to Britain and, in one of life’s great ironies, he was serving in HMS Stonecrop in April 1943 when she encountered and sank U-124, the U-Boat which had sunk HMS Dunedin.

So, farewell Jim, or – to give you your full name – Ronald Henry Davis. You are greatly missed, but you have left us with such precious memories and you still bring a smile to our faces.