Frederick ‘Fred’ Davies was born in Newport, Monmouthshire, Wales, in 1877, the son of Ivor and Mary Ann Davies of 13 Jeffrey Street, Newport. He was one of six children, but by 1911, he was the only one of the six alive.
He served an apprenticeship as a print compositor, but on 11 February 1901, he enlisted in the South Wales Border Regiment and arrived in Brecon on the 17 February to begin his basic training. On the 30 March, he was posted to South Africa, as a member of the 2nd Battalion, where the Boer War was in progress. As 7678 Private Frederick Davies, he served there until his return to Wales on the 25 June 1902. He was honourably discharged from the regiment the following day.
He used his skills as a compositor to secure a position as a printer on the transatlantic liners sailing out of Liverpool and some time at the end of 1914, when on home leave, in Newport, he discussed the possibility of leaving the sea and re-enlisting in the British Army to fight in the war.
Nevertheless, he did not do this and on 12 April 1915, at Liverpool, he re-engaged as a printer in the Stewards' Department on board the
Lusitania. He joined the vessel on the morning of 17 April, before she left the River Mersey for the last time.
Three weeks later, he was dead, killed after the ship was torpedoed and sunk. Frederick Davies was 37 years old.
His body was never recovered and identified afterwards and as a consequence, he is commemorated on the Mercantile Marine Memorial at Tower Hill, London.
The Liverpool and London War Risks Insurance Association Limited granted a yearly pension to Mary Ann Davies to compensate her for the loss of her son, on which she must have been in some way dependant, which amounted to £18-0s-3d (£18.01) which was payable at the rate of £1-10s-1d (£1.50½) per month.
1881 Census of England and Wales, 1891 Census of England and Wales, 1911 Census of England and Wales, Cunard Records, Western Mail, Commonwealth War Graves Commission, UniLiv. PR 13/24, PRO WO 97/4648/114, PRO BT 334.