A couple of months ago I received an email from a chap called Andrew Moore.He had contacted the clerk of our community council for some advice, and the clerk, knowing of my interest in Trelawnyd History had passed my name to him.
Andrew told me that two volumes of an old personal diary had come into his possession. The diary had been originally bought in 1970 at a car boot sale in Nottingham, and told of the adventures of a mysterious chap with the initials JHD as he joined the SS Manipur at Birkenhead on a return voyage to Calcutta a hundred years ago.
Andrew through some very detailed research which could have put the sleuthing of Miss Marple to shame, eventually found that the Captain of the SS Manipur had an executor with the initials JHD, and through more obsessive digging he eventually found out that the author of the exotic and fascinating far eastern diaries he had been reading for so long was indeed a chap called John Hilton Davies.
John Davies and his life seems to have captured the imagination of Andrew Moore, who eventually found out that he lived in a village called Newmarket just before his death in 1956. Newmarket became Trelawnyd in 1954.and his email to me, was a sort of last ditched effort to put some flesh on the bones of this unknown Liverpudlian, who had spent his early days in the India of the Raj.
All I had to go on was a name (Davies is, as you can appreciate a bloody common name in Wales) and a house name of "John's" which I thought, seemed somewhat odd.
I immediately went to see Auntie Glad, who instantly recognised the house name...."Uncle John" used to live there, she said without hesitation, " It was a name of a cottage just underneath the Gop"
Seven of the older residents of the village also remembered John well. All referred to him as "Uncle John" a "kindly old guy who would give you anything if you needed it" One lady recalled him lending her a bowler hat for a play at the memorial hall when another remembered him always "with a open bottle of wine ready for visitors"....
It was lovely for me to be able to put , just a hint of flesh on the bones of this larger than life character who had become somewhat of an obsession of a guy who had found some dusty old diaries that no one had wanted.
Small world eh?
John Hilton Davies....ready to shoot elephants and Tigers!
I wonder if anyone will "find" my blog diaries as fascinating long after I am dead and gone......?