The General Botha Old Boys Association remembers and salutes…..
Thomas Benjamin Frederick DAVIS
Saddened by the death of his son Howard during World War I, T.B. Davis conceived and executed on his own initiative, a living memorial to his late son in the form of the first Training Ship in the Southern hemisphere. He bought the former British Royal Naval Second Class Cruiser, HMS Thames from the Royal Navy and had the ship delivered to Cape Town, where he donated it to a trust consisting of the then Prime Minister General J. C. Smuts, Sir Frederick de Waal and J.W. Jagger. Named after South Africa’s first Prime Minister, General Botha, it was to be run by a Board of Control headed by Owen Clough. T.B. Davis stipulated that the ship be used for the full time training of boys of British South Africa thus giving these youths the opportunity to receive character building and nautical training of the highest standard, to serve in ships sailing under flags of Great Britian and the British Empire
Truly a man who knew where he was going
Born in Jersey in the Channel Islands, he went to sea as a ship’s boy at the age of 14 in the barquentine ‘Sattelite’. After an adventurous career at sea he obtained his master’s ticket. Towards the end of the 19th century he took up a stevedoring post in East London, and subsequently resettled in Durban, eventually taking over Brock and Company Stevedores.
TB Davis was a keen yachtsman in the grand style, making his own sails for his yacht the ‘Westward’ which was a familiar entry for Cowes Week for many years. A philantropist, also in the grand style, he donated substantial sums of money in his native Jersey and in South Africa, including the purchase, donation and delivery of HMS Thames in 1921, later to be renamed the S.A.T.S General Botha, and founding Howard College in Durban which later became the University of Natal.
Howard L Davis
Cadet on HMS Worcester 1911. Wounded at the Battle of the Somme in 1916 while serving with the Highland Light Infantry. Died of wounds August 12th. 1916. Buried at Etaples cemetry, France. He gave his life for his King and Country.