David John Davidge 1943-1950
I am sad to have to report the death of David on 5th March 2017. I well remember starting school with him in September 1943 and, as we were both in Bird’s House, this began a lifelong friendship. David participated fully in school life, particularly in the sporting activities, and also in drama – he was an outstanding Pirate King in the production of “The Pirates of Penzance”. In his final year he was Captain of the School, Captain of Bird’s House, Captain of Rugby and Captain of Swimming.
After QEH David read Physics at Bristol University as I did and I can still recall that, throughout our second year, we cut our Physics practicals every Monday afternoon in favour of an afternoon at the cinema – at lunch on Monday we always had two important decisions to agree on: what film should we see and what brand of cigarettes should we try out!
On leaving university our paths diverged, David Joined the Royal Navy as a sub-Lieutenant in the Instructor branch, shortly after transferring to the Meteorology Branch. As customary in the Navy he moved around every two or three years, mainly at shore establishments but with the occasional sea posting. It was in 1977 that the critical point occurred in David’s career. He was by now Commander, serving on HMS Ark Royal, and the senior Met. Officer. 1977 was the year of the Queen’s Silver Jubilee and the occasion was the Fleet Review by Her Majesty in the Royal Yacht Britannia in the Solent. The weather in the morning was very uncertain and the question was whether the weather would improve for the ships’ crews to wear white uniforms and whether the air fly past could take place. As senior Meteorological Officer for the fleet it was David’s decision. As the Commander-in-Chief put it to David: Well, Davidge, what is it to be? No pressure, just your career on the line!” Fortunately for David he called it correctly and the sun came out – he duly finished up as Captain! His last overseas posting was as Naval advisor in Kaduna to the Royal Nigerian Navy from 1981-1984, a posting that he and his family thoroughly enjoyed. His final appointment before retiring was Vice-President of the Admiralty Interview Board.
On retirement he became Secretary to the Charity Commissioners of St. Bartholomew’s Hospital from 1987-1998 and was highly instrumental in raising funds to secure the future of this historic and world-famous hospital.
David was married to Ruth for 42 years and was a devoted family man, very proud of his two daughters and a son, two step-daughters and a step-son, and six grandchildren. He was universally known to his family as “the Captain”.
David and Ruth were wonderful hosts and my wife and I will never forget the many parties and dinner parties that we have attended over the years, first at their house in Frenchay and later at their home outside Bath. Their annual Trafalgar Day dinners, later lunches, were a tradition and always memorable occasions.
David showed signs of dementia in the middle of 2016 and deteriorated very rapidly. He was devotedly nursed by Ruth for many months until, late in 2016, he had to go into a care home where he sadly died in March 2017. Our deepest sympathies go to Ruth and his family. I have so many memories of a great character who will always be missed.