Hon. Arthur Jex Davey
Image: Godalming Town Council


Hon. Arthur Jex Davey CBE (1869-1918) was the younger son of Lord Davey of Fernhurst and was born in 1869. His home was Blackdown House, and later at Verdley Place, Fernhurst, his parent’s home. He was educated at Rugby, and after studying languages aboard was articled as an accountant in the City. He was Chairman of the Weaving Company; a member of the Clothworkers' Company; for 17 years; governor of the Central Foundation Schools in London; held the chairmanship of the Gordon Hospital in Vauxhall Bridge-road; and filled several other important positions.

In 1894 he married Iona, the eldest daughter the late Mr W F Robinson, QC, Vice-Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.

He become Director of a French sugar business in Egypt, and in 1906 founded the Mills Equipment Company.

In 1907 he took up residence at Ockford House, Godalming.

In November 1910 he was adopted Liberal Candidate for the Guildford Division, and was president of the Godalming and District Liberal Association. He put up a plucky fight against Mr W E Horne but was defeated in December 1910. In October 1911 he was added to the Commission of Peace for Surrey, and was initiated as an honorary member of the St Mary’s Lodge of Oddfellows in Guildford.

He turned his attention to Municipal affairs and was chosen in November 1912 to sit on the Godalming Town Council. He was chairman of the Godalming Tribunal, and became Mayor of Godalming in 1914-5 and 1915-6. In 1916 he resigned as Liberal candidate as a result of the impact of war.

In 1917 he retired from his firm to become Deputy Director of Army Contracts. He paid an official visit in connection with work for the Army contract Department of the War Office, of which he was honorary chief, to Ireland in 1918. He was returning to England, along with Mr A W Crawshaw, on the 10th October in the Leinster, an Irish mail steamer, when it was torpedoed by a German submarine in the Irish Sea. Mrs Davey received information that her husband was standing with his clerk on the forepart of the vessel when he saw the torpedo coming. He turned and ran amid ships and was not seen again. His body was not recovered, and Mr Crawshaw was among the survivors. The Leinster had 650 passengers aboard and 500 people lost their lives.

A memorial service held in St Margaret’s, Westminster on the 22nd October 1918, reported in The Times and the Surrey Advertiser, carried news of his fate.


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