Roll of Honour

Herbert J. St A. Davies

Herbert John Saint Aubrey "Jack" Davies was born on 12th June 1900 to Mr Herbert Reginald St Aubrey Davies and Mrs M.E. Davies of Priory Lodge, Little Dunmow. He was educated at Felsted School.

On reaching age 18 Herbert joined the Royal Air Force. Herbert applied to join the Royal Air Force on 11th June 1918, and was confirmed as fit to train as an Observer or Pilot on 21st June 1918. He became Flight Cadet 178851 and was sent to the School of Observation at RAF Manston, Kent on 1st July 1918. He was transferred to RAF Thetford on 26th November 1918.

He died in training as a Flight Cadet still just 18 on 17th December 1918. He is buried in the churchyard at Little Dunmow.

The photograph was taken in 1917 when Herbert was just 17, and a member of the school Hockey team.


War Grave at Little Dunmow

Extract from the School Magazine
The last day of term, December 17th, with the Armistice six weeks old, with work finished, with thoughts on tickets and lists and home, hearts were merry, when a whisper crept round that Jack Davies had 'crashed' and all our gaiety was gone. He had not 'crashed' but that morning at Thetford - a vile morning for aircraft - he had been ordered up for his last trip to complete his full observer's course. The plane got into cloud and difficulty 3,000 feet up. The pilot, an old hand, manoeuvred successfully, and clearing the cloud looked round to speak to Jack, and missed him. They found him lying peacefully on the ground, unbroken but for a small skull fracture; and on the Saturday buried him under the shade of the old Priory Church at Little Dunmow. So he passed in the full pride of boyhood - he was eighteen and a half - a boy in the pride of triple colours, a boy in innocence of life and joyfulness of spirit, a boy who loved the home of which he was the life, and the school that he has served well. He had come from Mr F E Rowe's in Sept 1913, and was a Prefect in the Engineering VI when last summer he joined the RAF. To his devoted father, mother and brother we tender our affectionate sympathy.

The Essex Weekly News of 27th December 1918 reported the details of the inquest:


Mr. Coroner Read held an inquest at Thetford on the 19th inst. concerning the death of Flight-Cadet Herbert J. St. A. Davies, R.A.F., of Little Dunmow who, as reported last week, died from injuries received by falling from the pilot's seat in an aeroplane while acting as observer.

Lieut. W.P. Lewis, a pilot in the Royal Air Force, said he was instructed on the 18th inst. to do cloud penetration, and to take deceased up as his observer. They both got into the machine about 10.15 a.m. Witness strapped himself in and told deceased to do the same. Deceased sat behind. When they were up about 2,000 feet the machine began to stall, and he pushed the controls forward to put it into a spinning nose-dive. When he had got the machine out of the dive he turned round to speak to deceased, and found he was gone. He landed the machine, and was then informed that his observer had fallen out. He had been up several times with deceased. The strap was fixed to the sides of the machine, and if it had not broken would have gone with deceased.

Capt. W.B. Elliott said he instructed the last witness to do cloud penetration, and take deceased with him as his observer. He watched them attempt to penetrate the clouds and saw them come out again. He then saw them go into the clouds again and come out in a spinning nose dive. He saw deceased fall out when the machine was spinning, and on going to the spot where he had fallen found he was dead.

Major E. Gray said the deceased joined his flight on Nov 30 coming from an Officers' Training Corps, and had done about five hours in the air as an observer. Deceased was a keen pupil. He had since looked at the machine and taken it on a flight and found everything in perfect order. Both the belts in the pilot's and observer's seats were in good order.

Evidence of the injuries received by deceased having been given by Capt. A.L. Dykes M.D., the Jury returned a verdict of Accidentally Killed by falling from the observer's seat in an aeroplane in which he was acting as an observer.