Davies, Joseph Edward

According to the British armed forces and overseas deaths and burials, Joseph Edward Davies was born on the 20th May 1906, third son of Joseph Edward & Margaret Davies (nee WALKER), who had been married in a Civil Ceremony in Chester in 1897 (Cheshire West ROC/36/141).

Joseph Edward (Jnr) is first seen on the 1911 census living at 11, Saltney Cottages, Golftyn, Connah’s Quay, Flintshire (2 Rooms).   Head of the household was Joseph Edward Davies, 37, Iron Worker (Cutter Iron Down), his wife of 14 years was Margaret, 33 and they tell us that 9 children had been born to them and were still living.   Their children, like them had all been born in Connah’s Quay.   Sarah A. was the eldest at 12, William C.,11, John A., 9, Margaret H., 8, Frances, 6, Joseph Ed., 4, James, 3 and baby Elizabeth , 3 months old.

I believe that Baby Elizabeth was to marry in 1935 to William J. Ellis (Flintshire (Mold) C104/05/E66) at St.. Mark’s Church, Connah’s Quay and it’s her that Joseph Edward Snr is living on the 1939 Register below:-

1939 Register RG14; Piece: 33934; Schedule Number: 331

Davies Household (3 People)

79 Dee View Road , Connah’s Quay U.D., Flintshire, Wales

Joseph E          Davies 01 Feb 1874    Male    Shearer Steel Works    Widowed        63        1

Barbara E        Ellis     06 Jan 1911     Female Unpaid Domestic Duties        Married          63        2

Sorry, this record is officially closed. Check if you can open a closed record.

I cannot find any trace of Joseph Edward Jnr, but as the 1939 Register was taken on the 29th September 1939 and the War started on the 1st September 1939, so he would /could have been in camp.

Coincidentally, I found Charles Forrester’s parents, John Halliday & Amelia Forrester, were living at 79, Dee View Road, on the 1911 census (Charles died in the war as well and is named on the War Memorial).

However we know he was in the Royal Navy and a Petty Officer Stoker on H.M.S. Electra and became involved in the war:-

Battle of the Java Sea and loss

On 26 February 1942, Electra arrived at Surabaya from Tanjong Priok, along with HMS Exeter, HMAS Perth, the Dutch light cruiser Java, and the destroyers Jupiter and Encounter. HMS Dauntless, HMS Danae, and HMAS Hobart remained at Tanjong Priok. On 27 February, the striking force left Surabaya, the three British destroyers in the lead, with Electra in the center, Jupiter to port, and Encounter to starboard; followed by the Dutch cruiser De Ruyter, HMS Exeter, USS Houston, HMAS Perth, and HNLMS Java; followed by two Dutch and four American destroyers. (See Battle of the Java Sea.)

That afternoon, they made contact with the enemy. Electra managed to evade the shells and torpedoes in the first round. At 1715, Exeter received a hit which destroyed a 4-inch (102 mm) gun mount and then exploded in a boiler room, causing her to lose speed. At 1725, seeing that Exeter was in trouble, Electra headed toward the enemy ships, followed by the other two British destroyers, to cover Exeter’s escape. After several near misses from gunfire from the Japanese light cruiser Jintsū, Electra fired back, scoring several hits on Jintsū and the destroyer Asagumo. During this slugging match, Electra sustained several hits, which knocked out A and X gun mounts, wrecked the electrical system forward, cut off all communications, destroyed a searchlight platform, damaged the after boiler room, and ruptured the main steam line. Electra came to a stop, fired off her torpedoes, and started to list to port. After a fire started under ‘B’ gun mount and ‘Y’ mount ran out of ammunition, abandon ship was ordered. One surviving whaleboat got away after being loaded with wounded, but it was destroyed by a shell shortly after. She sank shortly afterwards on the afternoon of 27 February 1942, bow first, with the White Ensign still flying.


That night, about 0235hrs. in the morning of 28 February, 54 survivors of the 173 men on board were picked up by the United States submarine S-38, and were taken to Surabaya. When the submarine surfaced in the middle of the survivors, they were not sure if it was friendly or enemy. One of the survivors recognised the submarine as being friendly, because it had an ‘Admiralty’ type anchor; and at that time, only United States submarines still had this type of anchor. One of the survivors died on the submarine on the way. After treatment in a Dutch hospital, 42 survivors were taken to Australia by the inter-island steamer Verspeck, where they arrived on 10 March. One more survivor died at the hospital, and 10 others in critical condition were left at the hospital.

After spending some time there recovering, many of the survivors were put on the liner Nankin, bound for Ceylon, and ultimately, home to Britain. On the way, Nankin was attacked and sunk by the German raider Thor. The survivors, after spending seven weeks on the raider’s supply ship Regensburg, were handed over to the Japanese, where they spent the rest of the war in a Japanese prison camp.

On 29 March 1947, a stained glass window at St. George’s Chapel at the Royal Naval Barracks, Chatham, was dedicated to the crew of Electra.

The wreck

On 19 August 2003, the wreck of Electra was found. It is lying on its port side in approximately 160 feet (49 m) of water, almost completely covered with fishing nets. Her wreck had been badly damaged by illegal salvagers when an expedition surveyed the site in 2016.[6][7][8]

Also from


On 24 January, the Japanese reached Balikpapan. On 25 January, S-38, hurriedly repaired, departed Soerabaja to patrol in Makassar Strait off Balikpapan.

During the next two weeks, S-38 underwent two severe depth charge attacks. On 7 February, she penetrated close to Balikpapan to examine shipping in the harbor, activity along the coast road, and new defenses in the area. On 8 February, she resumed offensive operations, but poor weather hindered success. On 9 February, the Japanese moved on Makassar City, and S-38 was ordered to patrol off Cape William on the Celebes side of the strait, where she remained until 12 February.

Then ordered back to Soerabaja the submarine arrived at her Javanese base on 16 February. Six days later, she again put to sea. Moving east, she patrolled initially off Meinderts Reef, off the northeast coast of Java; then headed north to round the eastern end of Madoera Island en route to Bawean Island. On 26 February, she shelled Japanese facilities at Sangkapura; then patrolled between Bawean and the western approach to Soerabaja. On 28 February, she picked up 58[13] survivors from destroyer HMS Electra, sunk the day before at the Battle of the Java Sea; and, on 1 March, transferred the British sailors to a surface ship in Madoera Strait. She then resumed her hunt for Japanese shipping which had put the enemy ashore at Batavia, Indramajoe, and Rembang, the latter the last large oil center in the Netherlands East Indies and only 110 mi (180 km) from Soerabaja.

Blair, Clay (1975). Silent Victory: The U.S. Submarine War against Japan. Philadelphia: Lippincott. p. 889. ISBN 9780397010899.

[13] Blair, p.186.

The fact that Joseph Edward’s CWGC Citation states that he died 29th September 1944 and H.M.S. Electra  was in a battle of Java and sunk on the 27th February 1942, Joseph must have been one of the survivers and perhaps picked up by the American Submarine S-38, but as the  British armed forces and overseas deaths and burials Document (Below) states that he died at sea (2) – Missing – Death on War Service presumed, it is a mystery as he didn’t die until the 29th September 1944, over two years later.    There must be a clerical error.   The conclusion I came to was that he was among the captured on the Nankin and handed to the Japanese as stated above in the Wikipedia article and sadly died later.


DAVIES, Joseph Edward of 79, Dee View Road, Connah’s Quay, Flintshire died 29th September 1944 on War Service.   Administration Bangor 16th December to Joseph Edward DAVIES, Retired Steel Worker.   Effects £275 1s 6d.

Learn more about the other soldiers on the Connahs Quay and Shotton War Memorial

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