The Sinking of the R.M.S. Leinster

People on board

Arthur Jex Davey

DAVEY, Hon. Arthur Jex

Arthur Jex Davey was born in London in October 1869 to Sir Horace Davey of Fernhurst and Louisa Hawes Donkin, the youngest of their six children. He was educated at Rugby and in the 1891 census, aged twenty-one, he gave his occupation as ‘Engine Maker’. In June 1894 he married Mary Iona Fothergill Robinson in London, the daughter of the Vice-Chancellor of Lancaster. On the marriage certificate he gave his address as Fairlie, Ayrshire and his occupation as ‘Engineer’. Their first daughter, Iona Hildegarde, was born in Scotland in 1896 but they had moved to The Priory, Elstree in Hertfordshire when their second daughter, Julia Christobel, was born in 1898.

The family cannot be found in the 1901 census but in 1907 they were living in Ockford House, Godalming, Surrey and in the 1911 census Arthur Davey gave his occupation as ‘Company Director’. He was Chairman of the Weaving Company, a member of the Clothworkers Company, a Governor of a school and Chairman of a hospital. In 1910 he was adopted as the Liberal candidate for Guilford but was defeated in the December elections. In 1912 he was elected to the Godalming Town Council and in 1914 became Mayor, while remaining as the prospective Liberal candidate. Both he and his wife were supporters of the suffragette movement.

In 1917 he resigned from his political and business positions to become Deputy Director of Army Contracts in the War Office. It was in this position that he had travelled to Dublin in October 1918 and on the 4th met the clothing manufacturers of Ireland. Newspapers reported that he had explained that the demand for clothing had greatly increased with the arrival of American troops and that that demand “had to be met even at the expense (temporarily) of the output of civilian clothing”.

Arthur Davey was accompanied by Mr A.W. Crawshaw (or Cramshaw) from the War Office on his return journey on RMS Leinster on the 10th. It was reported that he was on deck when the first torpedo hit the ship and went to get his overcoat from the saloon, but was never seen again. Mr Crawshaw was a survivor. A memorial service for Arthur Davey was held on the 22nd in St Margaret’s Church, Westminster, with a very large congregation attending. He is remembered on a stone beside his parent’s grave in Forest Row, and his is the only civilian name on the Godalming Roll of Honour.



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