Davies, Frank

Frank Davies was born on the 18th August 1923, according to the Deaths at Sea Register.  I believe that his parents Alban a.k.a. Albert Davies and Ida May Pritchard married at Christ Church in the Parish of Dukenfield, Staleybridge, Cheshire on Christmas Day, 1909.    Alban (sic) Davies, 28, a bachelor and Iron Worker, living at 13, Novington Street, father, Richard Davies, Iron Worker & Ida May Pritchard, 21, Spinster, Domestic Servant, 13, Novington Street, father Joseph Pritchard , Iron Worker.  Witnesses were Edwin Shaw & Mary Reynolds.  (December quarter of 1909 in Ashton (Ashton  Vol 8d Page 691).   The district Ashton is an alternative name for Ashton under Lyne and it spans the boundaries of the counties of Lancashire and Cheshire.

I believe that Albert (Alban) Davies is seen on the 1911 census living at 29, Stanley Street, Stalybridge, Staffordshire.   Albert, 29 is head of the household, an Ironworker, born in Bilston, Staffs, his wife Ida May, 22 was born in Great Bridge, Staffs and they tell us that they had been married for 1 year and 1 child, Arthur, age1, had been born and was still living.

The next time we see the family, again without Frank as he was born later, was the 1921 census.   They were living at 177, Chester Road, Flints, Fintshire.   Head of the household was Albert DAVIES, now age 39 years and 4 months, he was a Furnaceman at John Summers & Sons, Hawarden Bridge Steelworks, Shotton but was “Out of Work.”  This was because of the Miner’s strike, I believe.   His wife Ida Davies, was now 32 years and 2 months old and was doing “Home Duties.”   Their children were Arthur, 10 years 8 months old, born in Staleybridge, Cheshire, Albert, 6 years 6 months old and Florence 8 years 5 months old, both born in Flints, Flintshire.   A visitor, Bessie Riley, was 11 years 5 months old, also born in Flint and at School, as all the children were.

Ida May Davies is seen on the 1939 National Register, living at 49, Bryn Road,, Connah’s Quay, this source gives us dates of birth.    Ida May had been born on the 19th April, her daughter, Florence had been born on the 12th February 1913 and both were described as doing “Unpaid Domestic Duties.”   John R. Davies had been born on the 10th November 1926 Walter (Henry H. Davies had been born on the 3rd February 1930, both children were “At School.”    There are 3 redacted or closed records on this register, but I don’t know who they are.   Probably younger than the last two children.    You would need to apply with death certificates for the authorities to reveal any names and details, as they would be covered by the 75 and 100 years law.   Frank again is missing, so was he already in the Royal Navy?

I believe that her husband Albert (Alban) Davies was ill, as he is seen on the 1939 National Register at Glanymorfa* (Nursing Home, I believe), High Street, Connah’s Quay.   His date of birth was the 26th February, 1882, he was married and a Sheet Mill Worker.

*See William Augustine Pridmore Ellsum, who I believe died there.

I cannot find any trace of Frank in the intervening years, although he is said to have been born in Flint, Flintshire on the document below.

Frank Davies in the UK, British Army and Navy Birth, Marriage and Death Records, 1730-1960, tells us that he was born on the 18th August 1923, his birthplace is given as Flint, Flintshire:-  A/Ldg. Sea. (Ty), Ship or Unit – H.M., M.T.B. 710, Death Date: 10 Apr 1945, Cause of Death – 2 (Missing- Death on War Service presumed.) Death Age:            21

Motor Torpedo Boat 710

Mined and sunk off Zara, Italy on 10 April 1945.

On April 10th, 1945, the British motor torpedo boat MTB-710 HMS was mined, off Zara, Italy.

List of the Crew:- 9.   DAVIES, FRANK (26), Leading Seaman (no. D/JX 363246), HMS MTB-710, Royal Navy, †10/04/1945, Son of Albert and Ida May Davies, of Connah’s Quay, Flintshire, Memorial: Plymouth Naval Memorial

The story below Written by Kevin Costello: Published 9th April 2017 on the website – Coastal Forces Veterans

The Sinking of MTB 710

April 10th marks the anniversary of the loss of MTB 710 in 1945, in the Adriatic. MTB 710, a Fairmile ‘D’ Dogboat, was one of several Coastal Forces boats to suffer a particularly large loss of life through a sudden and catastrophic sinking event — in this case the striking of an acoustic mine.

The following account of the sinking of MTB 710 by one of her surviving crew members, George Chandler MID, is taken from an interview he gave to BBC Southwest, as part of their filming of the Coastal Forces Veterans Association decommissioning service, held at Portsmouth on 18th April, 2007.

Interviewer: George…tell me about your story when you got sunk.

George: This happened in April 1945. What had happened was that, about three weeks before we were sunk, we were in the Adriatic, and we passed over an acoustic mine, and it blew up about thirty yards behind us. That didn’t bother us at all. About a week later we passed over another one. This time it went up about ten yards behind us, and it bent our shafts, so we had to go back to Italy, pick up in dry dock, to have our shafts mended. On the way back, we really caught it this time, because a mine blew us in half, and most of the crew were in the forehead messdeck, so they were in the piece of the boat which was sinking. And I can remember as if it was two minutes ago. I was in the messdeck, and I was just about to dip a biscuit into a cup of tea, and the next thing I was picking myself up out of the bilges. The mine must have gone off twelve feet away, behind a bulkhead, but I never heard a sound, I never heard a sound! And I think the picture which stays with me most of all, is seeing our ‘bunting tosser’, that’s the chap who runs up the flags, standing, holding onto a stanchion, and he’s saying, “don’t panic lads, don’t panic, we’ll all get out!”, and I never saw him again. And in fact I never saw anybody then, because the boat just turned up [over], and there I was in pitch dark, water up to my chin. The amazing thing is, I remember I was not frightened, and I was thinking to myself, what do I do now: I can’t see anything, can’t hear anything. And so anyway I’m quite a good swimmer, so I turned turtle, and I’m swimming around in the mess deck: never saw anybody: and then good thing it was a sunny afternoon, because about thirty feet down I could see a big square of light, which was the sun, with the hole that had been created, and so I swam down there and came up. But the funny thing that happened following that was, the stern of the boat was still going round, and there was a couple of hands were up on the stern, so we’re shouting to them “launch the dinghy! launch the dinghy!!” so we can go round and pick up. So they launched the dinghy, and myself and the First Lieutenant got in it, and we’re padding away, and this dinghy’s sinking beneath us, because they’ve forgot to put the bung in! [Laughs] So it shows you, there’s even laughter in situations like that.

See the photographs below of George.  Many thanks to him, Kevin Costello and Coastal Forces Veterans on behalf of the families who would like to know more about their loved ones who were lost on the M.T.B. 710.

I believe Frank’s mother Ida May Davies died in the September quarter 1979  Davies, Ida May Born 19ap1890  (Alyn/D Side Vol 24 Page 30).

Many thanks to Nick Griffiths for his input into Frank’s life and he and his family are connected to Leonard James Prestidge, who also lost his life at the age of 16 years.   Thank you Nick.

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

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