Carl Raymond Davis was born in South Africa of American parents and was sent to Sherborne College in Britain at the age of 13. He later studied at Trinity College, Cambridge and McGill University, Montreal where he qualified as a mining engineer.
He lived in London during the 1930's and joined 601 Squadron, Auxiliary Air Force at Hendon, being commissioned in August 1936 (Officer Number 90131). He was called to full-time service on 27 August 1939 and later that year flew one of the six 601 Squadron Blenheims in tandem with Blenheims of 25 Squadron that attacked the German seaplane base at Borkum on 27 November.
In February 1940 601 Squadron received Hurricane I's replacing their Blenheims and from Tangmere, but they soon had detachments flying from Merville and St Valery in Northern France. July 1, saw a withdrawal to Middle Wallop and within a few weeks they were back at Tangmere and often switching to Debden. Once the Battle of Britain began, Davis claimed a Me110 destroyed on 11 July 1940 plus a Me109 damaged on 26 July, two Me110's probably destroyed and one damaged on the 11 August. Then on the 13 August three Me110's destroyed, one probably destroyed, one Ju88 shared damaged and one Me110 damaged.
This was followed by Ju88's destroyed on 15 and 16 August, a Me109 and a Ju87 Stuka destroyed on the 18th, a Me110 probably destroyed on the 31st and then a Me110 destroyed on 4 September. A grand total of 9 enemy aircraft destroyed, 1 shared destroyed, 4 probables, 1 shared probable and 4 damaged.
He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross on 30 August. Davis was shot down and killed on 6 September when his Hurricane P3363 UF-W was shot down by a Bf109 into the garden of Canterbury Cottage, Matfield near Tunbridge Wells. He was 29.
He is buried near the family home in Storrington, West Sussex at St.Mary's Church.
His wife was Anne, sister of Sir Archibald Hope of 601 Squadron.
We have been fortunate in making contact with the children of Carl Davis's only son Michael (died 2001) - they of course never knew Carl but they and their own children (Carl's great-grandchildren) are greatly interested in Carl and were able to send us some photos previously unseen outside the family and were able to tell us that Carl was always known by his second name Raymond.
They also sent a very sombre letter written by a witness to the crash. This touching letter is worth reading and is produced below.
One of his great-grandchildren, Jack, is pictured in Carl's flying boots his parents had great trouble explaining that he would not take off and fly around the garden!
"I regard it as a privilege to fight for all those things that make life worth living - freedom, honour and fair play"
Pilot Officer William "Bill" Millington Australian 79 & 249 Squadrons Fighter Command