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Rosalind Davies' Family History
© Rosalind Davies 2001
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Joseph Thomas Davies 1889 - 1971

my grandfather

Joseph THOMAS DAVIES

Birth: 20 Nov 1889 4 Back George St, Lancaster UK i.
Death: 27 Dec 1971 Kaloola Nursing Home, Harris Park, NSW,Australia
Burial: 30 Dec 1971 cremated, Rookwood NSW
Occupation: labourer/ foreman
Religion: Baptist
Father: John DAVIES (1863-1938)
Mother: Sarah LEWIS (1864-1938)

His wives:
1: Janet (Jenny) RIDING
Marriage: 11 Apr 1914 St Pauls, Scotforth, UK
Children: Wilfred (1915-1998) See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LyMZy7oLsZY for his wedding video of 1942

and her sister
2: Lilian RIDING
Marriage: 31 Jul 1920 St Pauls, Scotforth , UK
Children: Margery (1922-)

 
Tom as a young man
Grandfather was named after his fraternal grandfather Joseph Davies but was known as Tom. Tom was born in 1889 whilst the family were living at 4 Back George Street, Lancaster. By 1891 they were living at 32 Motham Street, Scotforth. ii

He was an excellent sportsman playing with the Scotforth soccer team the Greaves (Street) Amateurs.

Tom- front row, second from left Tom married Jenny (Janet) Riding in 1914 and their son Wilfred was born in 1915. At that time, Tom's occupation was listed Table Baize Works labourer with White Cross Mills owned by Storey Bros. iii. When World War 1 broke out Tom joined the 5th Battalion King's Own Royal Lancaster (Territorial) # 6380052 DVR where he gained an Efficiency medal.
Tom is sitting in the front row, second from the left.

Tom served mainly with the British Artillery during World War 1 as a driver or looking after the horses that pulled the large guns. His service was with the 10th Battery, Royal Field Artillery; # 662 DVR and the Royal Artillery #662DVR. He was stationed in Belgium and France and was slightly gassed whilst in the trenches. He remained in France after the armistice was declared. It wasn't until after February of 1919 that the army demobilised any soldiers as they were still on standby in case the armistice agreement broke down. The men were used to dismantle arms dumps, generally clearing up rubbish and taking up the trade education programs to give them skills to look for a job when they eventually got home. Virtually every unit from the smallest to the largest had a football team, a tug-o-war team and a cross-country team. Large units at the battalion level also had cricket, rugby and many other teams. There were lots of individual competitions ranging from chess to boxing. Men were selected or volunteered and were given time off to train and play. iv

Tom's World War 1 medals Tom's war medals Tom in France
Tom's World War 1 service medals- front and back
From the left reads: "The Great War for Civilisation 1914-1919" ;silver reads "Territprial Force Efficiency Medal: second from right reads " 1914-1918; right reads "#682 Dvr. J.T. Davies RFA" This photo on the left shows Tom holding an officer's horse in a very cold French town.
Tom joined the 55th Division Football Division Troops League, which won the Premiership title in 1918-1919. Even when the war was still on, the army tried to keep up moral by organising battalion sports days with Jacket & Cap Race, Three-legged Race, Lifesaving and running races. There were also company/battalion/regiment football matches and Divisional Horse Shows with prizes for the Best Pack Animal, Single Horse Turnout and Best Heavy Draught Horse. They were also visits by the Divisional Band who played a select programme of popular music. These competitions were fiercely competitive especially between regiments and often warranted mentions in the War Diaries. The following medal shows the regard with which these activities were held by those in command. v

Tom's medal on the right states "55th Divison Football- France- 1918- 1919- Winners- Div. Troops League"
Tom's winning team medal
Jenny died from tuberculosis later that year. Tommy was given compassionate leave from France to go back home for a short time.

When Tom was finally demobbed from the army, he returned to his parents' home in Greaves Road, Scotforth. His parents, John and Sarah Davies had been minding the baby Wilfred.


In 1920, Tommy married Jenny's widowed sister Lilian. He continued to play football. This time the Scotforth soccer team won the North Lancashire & District Football League.

Scotforth Footbal Club 1920 The photo on the left shows Tom in the front row, far right with the Scotforth Football Club in the 1919-1920 season. The medal above is when they won the premiership in the 1920-1921 season.
Winner's medal

After the birth of a daughter Margery, they decided to emigrate to Australia because the work opportunities seemed better. They were nominated by Lilian's brother, Jack and left England from Tilbury Docks in London on 18th October 1923 on the SS Borda (P & O Line) via the Cape of Good Hope, Fremantle then Port Adelaide in Australia. Baby Margery was very sick on the voyage. Tommy's passport describes him as 5 feet 5 inches with grey eyes.

The family settled in Murray Bridge, South Australia, because other family members had preceded them. They lived for a few weeks with Lilian's brother Jack and his wife Maggie before moving into a three roomed galvanised iron house. Jack gave Tommy work servicing his hire boats but then Tommy worked for the railways as a fettler laying the railway sleepers. He was away for a fortnight at a time.

Tom's Royal Antedilivian Order or Buffaloes medal Tom's Labour Cards
He joined the charity organisation, 'Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes' in 1924 and was promoted to Primo in 1927. This organisation was a community help organisation that looked after the families of members particularly those in need of medical assistance or financial help.
Above & below; Tom's badges from the Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes- Murray Bridge, South Australia. "Justice, Truth, Philanthropy"
Workers for Nairn's Lino factory
Justice, Truth, Philanthropy

In 1928 the family decided to move to New South Wales. They settled in Granville because Lilian's sister Sarah and Ethel were already established there. They lived in Trongate Street at first then moved to a house at 38 John Street. A year later they bought the house for 900 pounds. Tommy worked for Nairn's Lino Works in Carnarvon Street, Silverwater for many years. Firstly driving the horse and dray then working in the factory. They had a wharf at the back of the factory on Dick River and also a railway siding with coal coming by rail to be unloaded by Tom with his horse and dray and taken to the steam boilers. Cork would come from all over the world and unloaded onto barges in Sydney Harbour and transported up the Parramatta River to Nairn's wharf. vi.

Tom lost his job during the Great Depression of 1929. Later, he worked as a sub contractor carting coal along Parramatta Road with a horse and cart. Once he fell off the cart and badly injured his heel. On another occasion he was knocked off his push bike by a truck one night at 6 p.m. and was rushed to Auburn Hospital with concussion and needed stitches.vi

   
Tom and Lil about 1938
Above; Tom and Lil in about 1938.I n 1946, they travelled back to South Australia to visit the relatives that they'd left behind.
38 John Street, Granville With the grandchildren in about 1951
Tom and Lil had been renting 38 John Street, Granville for some time but in September 1949 they were able to buy the property from Mrs. Clarissa Jane Austin. They were the best of grandparents and can be seen here with myself (right) my sister Janette (left) and Marge's eldest son Jimmy in the middle. This was taken about 1951.

Lil died in March 1953. Their daughter Margery and her husband Fred Brown and family had come to live at 38 John Street to care for Lil some time before then stayed on to look after Tom.


Tom died in 1971 from cerebral arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) which he'd suffered from for several years and cerebral thrombosis (blood clot in the brain) which he'd suffered from for 7 days. He was 82. He was cremated at Rookwood Cemetery in Sydney. There is no plaque. I remember my grandfather as a kindly, gentle man, slow to anger and loving.

 

Footnotes:

i. Birth Certificate
ii. 1891 Census of Lancaster
iii.Marriage certificate
iv. John M Chapman - john@purley.demon.co.uk- military expert
v. Ian Edwards- ian.edwards2@virgin.net- military expert
vi. article from local newspaper dated 1983 following the demolition of the Nairn factory
vii. Oral- Margery Brown
viii Death Certificate

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Ros Davies