The Spy

Lieutenant Colonel Rhys Davies, D.S.O.
44th (New Brunswick) BattalionDavies

Women are good as spies because men will talk to women. Men under tremendous strain and responsibility want an outlet and the finest and strongest willed of them like to boast to some woman.

(Davies, “Spies in War and Peace,” Milwaukee Sentinel, 12 Dec 1938)

Perhaps fittingly for a self-described British secret agent, much of Reginald Danbury Rhys Davies’ early life is ambiguous. He was born in England on 9 July 1882. According to one account, he was a veteran of the Boer War and member of the Special Intelligence Branch in Egypt and Sudan. Another claimed he had served in India during the Chitral Expedition and gathered intelligence while stationed on the German-Dutch at the outbreak of the Great War.

In October 1915, Davies joined the 54th Battalion, commanded by Indian Army veteran Lieutenant Colonel A. H. G. Kemball. When the 54th arrived in France in August 1916, Davies served as second-in-command. In January 1917, he relieved Major John Hamilton Sills of the 44th Battalion.

Davies quickly established his reputation for bravery and daring by leading a trench raid shortly after reporting for duty. In summer 1918, he personally led a tank in capturing an enemy-held village. By the end of the war, Davies held the distinction of being one of the few men to have been awarded the Distinguished Service Order and two Bars. In addition, he was six times mentioned in dispatches.

During later life, Davies frequently lectured throughout the United States on British history, politics, military tactics and spying. During the Second World War, Davies claimed to have undertaken intelligence work in Czechoslovakia, Italy, Greece, France, Germany and the Middle East.

Resuming his lecture tours after the war; one of his favourite topics in the late 1940s was to ridicule Labour Government policies in his home country. As Davies stated, “Communism is just socialism in a hurry.” He told audiences in the United States:

There is not the slightest need for Socialism in America today or in the future. Capitalism has shown itself to be the driving force behind American greatness.

Davies warned social security and socialized medicine would only lead to corruption and government overreach.

In addition to his foreign policy talks and conservative political commentary, Davies wrote a 1938 radio play series called Blair of the Mounties. He voiced the titular character Inspector Blair, who solved crimes throughout the world. All 31, twelve minute episodes can be listened to at archive.org.

Digitized Service File (LAC):
http://central.bac-lac.gc.ca/.item/?op=pdf&app=CEF&id=B2354-S004

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