Cyril William DAVEY
Written by Harry Wrankmore
My Uncle Cyril was born on September 9 th 1910 at Fremantle, whilst his father was working there. Due to Cyril’s poor health his parents were advised to return to the country at Beverley. At one stage Cyril became quite ill with Scarlet Fever but overcame it and grew very strong in the country environment.
Cyril’s schooling was at the Beverley State School and he captained the school in 1923 and 1924, as well as being dux in 1924. He was also a member of the local Boy Scouts troop and at one time he carried a Metters wood stove on his back to the campsite which was 2 ½ miles from town, then built it in. He also won the troops under 15 years 100 yards championship at Easter 1925. His two sisters (one being my mother) said he was a regular boy, not adverse to a few practical jokes, but was a good brother to them both. As a young man he regularly accompanied his mother to early morning Sunday worship.
After completing schooling Cyril was initially apprenticed to his stonemason/builder father then later, with the assistance of his mother, opened a sports shop with a friend, but the venture did not succeed.
The Davey family sporting record has always been good and Cyril was no exception, with his main interests being tennis, cricket and golf. Cyril even constructed a hard surface tennis court at the rear section of their house block and the locals used the court for many years. My younger brother (named Cyril after his uncle) and I often used this almost concrete surface as a play area when we were young, and not just for tennis.
Both Cyril and his father, Fred, enjoyed cricket and Fred was the captain of the Beverley Team. During one Country Week Cricket final Beverley drew with Kalgoorlie after being in a winning position. Kalgoorlie had appealed against the atrocious weather conditions and a draw was declared. But the sport that Cyril really excelled in was golf. He was Beverley Club Champion on at least three occasions. At the same time living in Beverley was Joe Wansborough who for many years was WA Country Champion. Both became regular club finalists at Beverley with Cyril seeming to have a slight edge over Joe. Cyril went on to win many trophies for golf throughout the district. Whilst at Northam Army Camp in 1941 he heard that the Avon Valley Championships were being held at Beverley. He was granted leave to play. Cyril found himself competing against his regular rival, Joe Wansborough. The report in the next issue of the Beverley Times told of how Cyril defeated Joe, being 10 up with 9 holes to play. This would have been Cyril’s last golf competition before he left for war and mother treasured the newspaper cutting for many years.
Cyril courted Beatrice (Trixie) Draper, a local farmer’s daughter, and they were married at St Mary’s Anglican Church Beverley on March 9 th 1937. Both my brother and I well remember the wedding, which we attended, and the couple set up home in South Perth. Cyril obtained a Rawleighs round in the Victoria Park district and he used a motorcycle with sidecar for his work. He was very popular with his clients and the local children. Whenever visiting Perth my brother and I loved to ride in the sidecar.
The couple had a son, Barry, in 1940 but due to a nursing accident he died 16 days later. Unfortunately Trixie could not have any more children so they adopted a girl, Maureen, in 1941. She was an exceptional daughter, which was very evident to all the family, especially during Trixie’s later years where Maureen and her husband took her into their own home until she passed away in 2002.
Although Cyril was our uncle he was almost like an elder brother to both us boys, especially during our early years and into our first years at school. There was a special delight in going into his sports shop and when it closed down one item of stock was given to us. It was a Spalding tennis racket which we both shared as we played against one another, or against our grandfather on the home court. Whilst Uncle Cyril was at the Northam camp he sent a parcel to each of us. He advised us that if we removed the black coating the gift would shine. Thus we became proud owners of a ‘rising sun’ badge, which is copper, unlike the later bronze ones. My brother and I were not issued with a ‘rising sun’ badge on joining the 3 rd Field Regiment (CMF) as the gunners badge was worn on head gear during those years.
Uncle Cyril died as a POW at Sandakan Number One Camp on March 4 th 1945. The Japanese nominated the cause of death was malaria. His remains are unidentified and he is commemorated on Panel 6 at the Labuan Island War Cemetery. R.I.P Uncle Cyril.
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