Battle of Britain London Monument – F/O T D H Davy

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Privacy Statement The Airmen’s Stories – F/O T D H Davy


Thomas Daniel Humphrey Davy was born in Shanghai, China on 3rd May 1920, the only child of Thomas and Georgina Davy. His father was a printing manger with the North China Daily News, an English language newspaper in Shanghai. This resulted in Davy spending much of his early life travelling between China and England.

Davy joined the RAF on a short service commission and began his initial training on 6th October 1938. On 14th December 1938 his training continued at 12 FTS and on 31st December 1938 he started flying training at 11 FTS. On completion of his course he joined 35 Squadron at Cottesmore on 22nd July 1939.

On 30th September 1939 he joined 98 Squadron at Hucknall, equipped with Fairey Battles. On 3rd January 1940 Davy was posted to 150 Squadron of the Advanced Air Striking Force in France. He was attached to 12 Squadron at Amifontaine on 6th January 1940, also operating Fairey Battles. He was taken on to the strength of the squadron on 31st March.

On 12th May the squadron was ordered to bomb bridges over the Albert Canal at Maastricht. The attack was carried out in the face of intense ground fire. After making a dive-bombing attack, Davy’s aircraft L5241 was attacked by a Me109 which was fought off by his gunner, LAC GH Patterson.

The port fuel tank of the Battle was on fire and Davy ordered the crew to bale out. He stayed with the aircraft, eventually making a forced-landing eight miles short of base, his Battle bursting into flames on landing. It was the sole survivor of the six aircraft which set out.

Sgt. GD Mansell had landed safely and made his way back to the squadron. LAC Patterson struck the tailplane on baling out and on landing was taken to hospital in Liege, where he was later captured.

Davy was awarded the DFC (gazetted 31st May 1940) and Patterson the DFM for the action.

Davy’s last operation with 12 Squadron was on the night of 25th/26th July to Evere in Belgium but he returned because of bad weather.

Back in the UK, Davy volunteered to serve with Fighter Command and was posted to 12 OTU Benson on 12th August. He joined 19 Squadron on 18th August, transferring to 226 Squadron at Wittering on the 22nd. He then went to 72 Squadron at Biggin Hill on 28th September.

Davy was posted to 315 (Polish) Squadron as Flight Commander on 29th January 1941. His father, by then divorced from his mother, died in Shanghai on 16th March 1941.

Davy joined the Merchant Shipping Fighter Unit (MSFU) on 20th June 1941. He completed three sea trips and after being promoted to Flight Lieutenant on 3rd September 1941 took charge of the MSFU detachment in Gibraltar on 26th September 1941. On 17th April 1942 he returned to the MSFU at Speke.

Davy was killed on 13th September 1942 whilst flying Hurricane P3868 in an interception exercise with the MFSU. As his aircraft was approached by the fighters, it was seen to carry out a steep turn to the right at about 2,000 feet and a few seconds later was seen to be spinning. The aircraft crashed into a field near Bryn-y-gwynt farm, Flintshire and caught fire.

The accident was considered to have been caused by failing to recover from a flat spin after a high speed stall induced by the steep turn.

Davy’s mother was unable to travel back from China for his funeral so the family were represented by his uncle, Septimus Davy, a RFC veteran of the First World War and one of the first men to transfer to the newly formed Royal Air Force on 1st April 1918.

Davy was 22 and is buried in Anfield Cemetery, Liverpool in a collective grave. He is commemorated on screen wall panel No. 2 of the war memorial.



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