John Davis 1 was born in Gosport, Hampshire, England in August 1884 2 and his birth was registered in the last quarter of that year.
He was the son of George Davis (b. 1849 in Winton, Wiltshire) and Rebecca Streets (b. 1845 in Cork, Ireland) who had married in Hampshire in 1867. His father was a Corporal in the Royal Marines and as such the family appear to have moved around frequently, spending periods in Queenstown, Cork; Hull, Dorset and Hampshire.
John had nine known siblings: George (b. 1870), Amelia (b. 1871), Stephen (b. 1873), William (b. 1875), Kate (b. 1877), Henry (b. 1880), Frederick (b. 1882), Rebecca Agnes (b. 1883) and Albert (b. 1888).
John first appears on the 1891 census when he and his family are living at the George Inn, Melcombe Regis, Weymouth, Dorset, his father now retired from the Royal Marines and working as a licensed victualler. The family later moved to 1 Duncan Square in Landport, Hampshire around the turn of the century.
In Aldershot on 5 September 1902, aged 18, Davis joined the Army Service Corps, stating his profession as a baker and that he had previously served in the Third Hampshire Regiment Militia. Describing himself as coming from a Church of England background, physically he stood at 5' 2½" and he had brown hair, blue eyes and a fair complexion; he also sported a burn scar under his right arm. Whilst physically fit, a medical inspection revealed that all his lower molar teeth were decayed.
Whilst serving at both Aldershot and Chatham Davis worked as a driver and his regiment number was 16931. His conduct was not universally good and in November 1904 he was sentenced to 14 days in the cells for not being alert (asleep?) at his post whilst acting as sentry. Other offences included having an untidy kit, disobedience and for curling his fringe forward out under his cap! On two occasions, in December 1907 and March 1908, he failed to report for duty altogether, seemingly resulting in his expulsion.
John was married in late 1910 in Southampton to Eliza "Lily" Blanche Hunt (b. 22 December 1891 in St Helier, Jersey, Channel Islands, daughter of Samuel Hugh Hunt and Catherine Burke). They would have a son, John Samuel later in 1911 on 18 September.
On the 1911 census John and his new bride are listed at the home of his parents-in-law and their family at 19 Eastfield Road, St Denys, Hampshire and he is described as a baker on sea liners.
He was on board the Titanic for her delivery trip from Belfast to Southampton. When he signed-on again, in Southampton, on 4 April 1912, he gave his address as 19 Eastfield Road, (Southampton). His last ship had been the Olympic. As extra second baker he received monthly wages of £5. Also serving aboard was his elder brother, able-bodied Stephen James Davis.
Davis died in the sinking. His body was recovered by the Mackay-Bennett (#200) and he was buried at sea on 24 April 1912.
NO. 200. - MALE. - ESTIMATED AGE, 33. FAIR - HAIR AND MOUSTACHE.
CLOTHING - White pants and coat; blue coat and apron; white coat marked "J. D."
EFFECTS - P. O. Savings account book, John J. Davies; 3s 6d; keys; books of S. S. C. B. & B. Union 18010.
EXTRA 2nd BAKER.
NAME - JOHN J. DAVIES. 19 Eastfield Rd., Southampton.
The following death notice appears in the Hampshire Independent (unknown date):
DAVIS--April 15th 1912, at sea, on s.s. Titanic, John Davis, aged 27, the beloved husband of Eliza Davis, of 19 Eastfield road, St Denys, Southampton. Deeply mourned by his sorrowing wife and child. "God be with you till we meet again."
John's widow Eliza was remarried three times, firstly in 1915 to Harry Atkinson who passed away in 1917 aged 23. She remarried the following year to Albert E. Young who died in 1927. Her final marriage was in 1928 to Frank Ernest Colverson (1895-1976). She died in 1973 in Southampton.
John's son John Samuel was later married, in 1934, to Violet Alice Henty (1910-2004). He died in Cornwall in 1990.