Open main menu

William Davis (Royal Navy officer)

Admiral Sir William Wellclose Davis GCB DSO (11 October 1901 – 29 October 1987) was a Royal Navy officer who went on to be Vice Chief of the Naval Staff.

Sir William Davis
Born11 October 1901
Shimla, India
Died29 October 1987 (1987-10-30) (aged 86)
Gloucester, Gloucestershire
AllegianceUnited Kingdom United Kingdom
Service/branchNaval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg Royal Navy
Years of service1917–1960
Commands heldHMS Mauritius
Home Fleet
Battles/warsWorld War I
World War II
AwardsKnight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath
Distinguished Service Order

Naval careerEdit

Educated at Summer Fields School in Oxford, the Royal Naval College, Osborne, and the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth,[1] Davis was commissioned into the Royal Navy in 1917, towards the end of the First World War.[2]

He also saw active service in the Second World War, initially as Executive Officer on the battlecruiser HMS Hood. From 1940 he was Deputy Director of Plans at the Admiralty and then, from 1943, returned to sea as Commander of the cruiser HMS Mauritius, in which capacity he was involved in the Sicily landings, the Normandy landings, and the action at Audierne Bay.[2] From November 1944 to February 1946 he was appointed Director of Torpedoes and Mining.[3]

After the War Davis was made Director of Underwater Weapons at the Admiralty and then, from 1948, Chief of Staff to the Commander-in-Chief, Home Fleet.[2] He became Naval Secretary in 1950 and Flag Officer, Second in Command of the Mediterranean Fleet in 1952.[2] He went on to be Vice Chief of the Naval Staff in 1954 and Commander-in-Chief, Home Fleet and Commander-in-Chief, Eastern Atlantic Area in 1958.[2] He was First and Principal Naval Aide-de-camp to the Queen from 1959 to 1960.[2] He retired in 1960.[2]


On 28 April 1934 he married Lady Gertrude Elizabeth Phipps, daughter of Constantine Phipps, 3rd Marquess of Normanby; they went on to have two sons and two daughters.[4]


  1. ^ "The Papers of Admiral Sir William Wellclose Davis". Janus. Retrieved 3 February 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Sir William Davis Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives
  3. ^ Mackie, Colin (January 2018). "Royal Navy Senior Appointments from 1865: Director of Torpedoes and Mining" (PDF). C. Mackie. p. 39. Retrieved 3 February 2019.
  4. ^ "Admiral Sir William Wellclose Davis". The Peerage. Retrieved 3 February 2019.
Military offices
Preceded by
Peveril William-Powlett
Naval Secretary
Succeeded by
Richard Onslow
Preceded by
Sir Guy Grantham
Vice Chief of the Naval Staff
Succeeded by
Sir Caspar John
Preceded by
Sir John Eccles
Commander in Chief, Home Fleet
Succeeded by
Sir Wilfrid Woods
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Sir Guy Grantham
First and Principal Naval Aide-de-Camp
Succeeded by
Sir Caspar John