Ronald Joseph Davies


From John Davies

This is a copy of a letter I received when my Aunt died who was sister to Ronald, who must have talked about his experiences particularly when at sea during WW2. His MN discharge book number R253390. (Which is lost), tried to find details of his sea going career but with no success.

This is a story of a local Birkenhead boy who served his apprenticeship at Cammell Lairds as a shipwright and rose to be a naval Architect, responsible for supervising the building of the ship RMS Windsor Castle, Transvaal Castle, and then on to the Container ships in Germany

Ronald Davies was the youngest of 5 children.

He was always interested in ships and was on the docks, talking ships to all and sundry, tug boat men etc,

He started at Lairds age 16 after being an office lad, then as an apprentice Shipwright. (I have his Indenture of apprenticeship from Cammell Lairds).

After he had helped to knock the chocks out at his first launch. He said to us all at home “I am going to build one of the best ships Lairds has ever turned out and I am going to be on the Launch platform and see my ship go down the slip into the River Mersey”

Then found out he could go to Holt Hill Technical School in the evening to study Naval Architecture, passed his examinations and eventually became a member of the Institute of Naval Architects.

At the start of the war he joined Union-Castle line and joined RMS Capetown Castle  as a ship’s carpenter and whilst at sea saw many horrible things.

Being introduced to HM Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother

at the launch of RMS Windsor Castle

He saw the Battle ships HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repluse, blowing up and sinking off Singapore resulting with many personnel in the sea

The order came through was to for all the ships in the area including RMS Capetown Castle to immediately leave and not to stop and pick up survivors, ships were more valuable that the rescue of the lads in the water.

No record that I could find placed the Capetown Castle in that area at that time, also noted from Union-Castle records that Benj. Llwyllen Jones. Bosun, 28/2/2021, said that the Capetown Castle was routed to Singapore on 23/12 1941, also not shown on its war voyages.  HMS Prince of Wales sank on 10/12/1241.

I presume he was on RMS Capetown Castle!

After the war he joined Union-Castle as an assistant naval architect, and worked at Harland & Wolff on the building of the Pretoria and Edinburgh Castles and others being built around the UK.

He was on the launch platform of the Pendennis Castle at Harland & Wolff, Windsor Castle and of the launch of the Transvaal Castle at John Browns shipyard.

(Not Sure about the Mini Mails but was at Cammell Lairds for the modification for deck passengers on both the Southampton and Good Hope Castle.)

I have the official invitation, lunch and toast list to the launch of T.S.S. Transvaal Castle and the official Table Plan at the launch of T.S.S. Pendennis Castle.

Please find attached a photograph of Ronald being presented to the Queen Mother after the launch of the Windsor Castle.

As everyone was aware there were many problems before the launch and afterwards, but unfortunately my Aunt never went on to write about those problems that her brother had told her about.

I believe the last ships he was involved with was the building of the container ships in Germany for the company.

I also have his signed apprenticeship papers with Cammell Lairds.

John H. Davies - Nephew of Ronald and who sailed as Senior Second Engineer on a few trips on the SA Vaal,

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