World War 2 (1939 - 1945)


Image reproduced by permission of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission

William D B Symington Davie

Service: Royal Air Force
Unit: Volunteer Reserve
Rank: Squadron Leader
Service Number: 72481
Award: Air Force Cross

William Douglas Bow Symington Davie was born on 22 January 1918 in Whitecraigs, Renfrewshire, son of William Symington Davie and Mary Stuart Bow Davie of Woodbrook, Whitecraigs, Renfrewshire. He was educated at Glasgow Academy and in September 1931, at the start of the Michaelmas term, he enrolled at Glenalmond College and left at Easter 1936. While at Glenalmond, he was a House prefect and shot in the Rifle VIII. On 1 October 1936 he was admitted as a Pensioner at Trinity College Cambridge where in 1939 he gained a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Certificate in Proficiency Engineering.

On 4 January 1944, William Davie was piloting a Gloster F9/40 (DG204/G) a precursor of the Meteor Mark I, making a series of high speed runs at height of 20,000 feet over Farnborough. During one of these runs the Meteor's port Metropolitan-Vickers F2 engine exploded. William attempted to abandon the aircraft but suffered a severe injury in exiting the cockpit and was killed when he struck the tailplane. William was 25 years of age. He is buried in the family grave in Old Monkland Cemetery - Grave/Memorial Reference: Sec. B. Grave 6 and commemorated on Mearns Parish Kirk, Glasgow Academy, Glenalmond College and Trinity College War Memorials.

The Metropolitan-Vickers F2 was an early turbojet engine and the first British design to be based on an axial-flow compressor. In August 1940, Gloster’s proposals for a twin-engined jet fighter led to an initial order of twelve prototypes (later reduced to eight) in February 1941. DG204/G was one of these eight prototypes. The image below is a DG202/G on display at the RAF Museum London. The ‘/G’ appended to the aircraft serial denoted that the aircraft was always to have an armed guard when it was on the ground.

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