Francis G. Davis

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Francis Davis as a Cadet with the Ballarat Junior Technical School, 1916. Federation University Historical Collection (Cat. No. 203)
Francis G. Davis' Ballarat Junior Technical Results, 1914. Federation University Historical Collection (Cat. No. 714)
A memorial service at Leighterton cemetery, Gloucestershire, where the bodies of those members of the 1st Wing, Australian Flying Corps (AFC), who have died, or been killed on service, are buried. The whole wing was paraded and marched to the cemetery, where a service was conducted by the Wing Chaplain, Major Keith Dixon Norman. The graves were covered with beautiful wreaths, kindly sent by Mr and Mrs Lowsley Williams of Chavenage. The aircrew cadets wearing a white cap band are being trained as pilots and observers. There is one Australian flag with the Union Jack hanging on the pulpit and one Australian flag on the flagpole.
Australian War Memorial (D00118)
Tree planted (left) in the ground of the Ballarat Junior Technical School in honour of Francis Davis Federation University Historical Collection

Francis Gordon Davis was one of four brothers from Ballarat who served in World War One.[1]



Francis Gordon Davis was born in Ballarat on 09 August 1899. His father was Alfred Ernest Davis (1858-1933) who was living at North Lodge, Wendouree Parade, Ballarat West in 1918.[2] His mother was Matilda Rachel Henderson (1861-1915).[3]

On 12 April 1918 Francis Davis enlisted for service during World War One.

RECRUITING. There seems to be likely a continuance of the recruiting revival in Ballarat. Yesterday ten men offered themselves, and six passed the medical test. The successful volunteers were Clifford Longhurst (son of Mr W. E. Longhurst, baker, Mair st); Francis Gordon Davis, of Wendouree parade (this recruit being the fifth son now in the A.I.F.); Charles Potter, of the City Band, who is employed at John Macleod's; Harold Higgins, of Warrenheip (who is the fourth son in the A.I.F.) Charges Henry Wright, of the Gas Company; and J. F. Maughan, engineer's assistant City Hall staff. The recruiting officer, in congratulating these recruits, said he felt their patriotism would assist materially to reawaken public interest in the dire need for reinforcements. Three returned soldiers —W. J. Raine, W. R. Clarke, F. Bibby — also tried, but failed to pass the doctor for re-entry to the A.I.F.; but, determined not to be denied, they passed the home service test, and were supplied with warrants to Melbourne to report for duty.[4]

Davis was one of a number of former Ballarat School of Mines students who joined the Flying Corps.

The number of School of Mines students who have joined the Flying Corps has now risen to 10, viz., L.S. McConchie, H.C. Smith, J.F. Maughan, L.H. Vernon, R.O. Buchanan, F. Davis, C. Cunningham, F.T. Edwards, H.G. Bennett and W.B. Berry. They belong to one unit, and are now in camp at Laverton.[5]

Francis Davis is the only former student of the Ballarat Junior Technical School killed on service during World War One. Davis enlisted into the Australian Flying Corps, Laverton, on 12 April 1918 at which time he was 18 and 8 months and served as a second class Air Mechanic. His service number was 3310.[6] His older brother, Edward had enlisted in the Flying Corp a just week earlier.[7] His brother Herbert had enlisted in the AIF in 1915. Francis Davis died accidentally from shock resulting from an accident by skidding of a Leyland Motor Lorry at Leighterton, Tetbury, Gloucester, England on 28 January 1919 and is buried in Grave 6 in the Soldiers Corner of the Leighterton Cemetery[8]

Francis Davis was accorded a full military funeral, firing party, bugler and pallbearers. The coffin was draped in the Union Jack and surmounted in several beautiful wreathes sent from his brother 2/A.M. E.H. Davis (A.F.C Leighterton), officer of the A.F.C. Leighterton, Gloucester, Cadets of A.F.C. and many other personal friends of the deceased. The "Last Post" was sounded at the graveside, and the Rev. Major K.D. Norman C. of E. A.I.F. officiated. The grave was to be turfed and an oak cross erected by the A.I.F. London. Administrative Headquarters A.I.F. London were represented at the funeral.[9]


Marble plaque dedicated to Francis Davis, located in a wall beside the tree. It reads: This tree was planted Arbor Day, 1922, to the memory of Francis G. Davis, a past student killed on active service, 25.1.1919. Federation University Historical Collection

Francis G. Davis' name is listed in the Ballarat School of Mines Honor Roll. Killed in action.[10]. His name is also included in the Ballarat Avenue of Honour.

In June 1922 Alfred Davis, the father of Francis Davis, planted a tree in the grounds of the Ballarat Junior Technical School in honour of his son. It was the first tree of six planted in the grounds of the Ballarat School of Mines on Arbor Day 1922.

... Speaking of the planting of the tree by Mr Davis the Chief Secretary (Mr M. Baird M.L.A.), said he trusted the memory would ever remain green at the school. Had he and others not given their lives nothing that we could have done to-day could have retrieved the time. Australians had indeed done splendidly, but they should take a wider outlook than Australia, and reading the history of the Genoa Conference he had been struck by what had been done ... We should honor such men as he in whose memory that tree was planted, and the schools that sent them out to fight for us. He hoped the empire would always be able to produce such men, so that the Empire would always be able to lead the World's struggle for the benefit of humanity. The last post was then sounded by Mr. H. Green. ... (Ballarat Courier, 19 June 1922)

See also

Ballarat School of Mines

Ballarat Junior Technical School Honour Board

Edward H. F. Davis, brother

Herbert A. Davis, brother

World War One


Junior Technical School.—Leaving Certificate — Pass, Credit : Roy Lukeis, Albert Williams, John Dulfer, Norman Gibbs. Pass: John Martin, Howard Bennett, Richard Dale, Eric Jellett, William Richards, Francis Davis, William Westwood, Arthur Burge, Sydney Townsend, Percy Frank, John James, Ernest Pinney, Norman Carmichael, Albert Ginyas, Gordon Fletcher, Harold Wakeling.[11]


  1. Evening Echo, 10 April 1918.
  2., accessed 24 January 2014.
  3. Federation Index Victoria 1888-1901, Index to Births, Deaths, and Marriages in Victoria, 1899 Births, Ref. No. 15486, Macbeth Genealogical Services, 1997
  4. Evening Echo, 10 April 1918.
  5. Ballarat Courier, June 1918.
  6., accessed 24 January 2014.
  7. National Archives of Australia, World War I records, NAA: B2455, DAVIS E H F, SERN 3309, accessed 26 January 2014
  8., accessed 24 January 2014.
  9., accessed 24 January 2014.
  10. Ballarat School of Mines Honor Roll, Federation University Historical Collection Cat. No 536.
  11. Ballarat Courier, 18 January 1915.

Further Reading

External links

Tree planted for Francis Davis -

--Damian Thomas Brown 15:10, 3 February 2017 (AEDT); --Clare K.Gervasoni 22:31, 19 January 2019 (AEDT)

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