Francis Davies (1885-1952) was a sailor who had a remarkable career participating in many expeditions to the Antarctic regions during what can only be described as ‘The Heroic Age of Polar Exploration. Francis Davies began his apprenticeship in the Royal Navy in 1900 at the Royal Naval Barracks, Devonport and no doubt took with him his silver cigarette case engraved with his initials ‘FD’(MA19/9)
Francis Davies silver cigarette case and vesta case taken on the Terra Nova and Discovery II Expeditions
Francis Davies travelled to China and Japan during the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1906, joined Captain Scott aboard RYS Terra Nova during The British Antarctic Expedition 1910-1913 and saw service with the Grand Fleet and Operations in the White Sea, Archangel and Baltic 1914-1918. During 1927-1934 he was part of the Discovery II Expeditions aboard RRS Discovery II and RRS William Scoresby undertaking scientific research of the whaling industry in the Antarctic and the Circumnavigation of the Antarctic during the winter of 1933. The RRS Discovery II and RRS William Scorseby also undertook planktonic and hydrographical surveys off the coast of Argentina, Chile, Peru and South Africa for the Colonial Office on behalf of the Falkland Islands. Francis Davies also served during World War II in many theatres including the evacuation of Norway in 1940 and in the post –war period took passage as ship’s mate on a trawler to Cape Town in 1947. Throughout that time Francis Davies carried his silver cigarette case made in Birmingham in 1900. A small piece of the Francis Davies Polar Archive it is possibly the most travelled Antarctic cigarette case there is.