27 July 1917 : Lieutenant Ivan Beauclerk Hart-Davies

Ivan Hart Davies was born at Huntingdon Vicarage 21 April 1878

Southam in Warwickshire CC OpenStreeMap

The Rectory, Southam. 1920s Reproduced from the “Our Warwickshire” website © Warwickshire County Record Office

Ivan was the 4th son of Rev. John Hart-Davies and Emily (née Beauclerk, daughter of Lord Charles Beauclerk) of Southam Rectory, Warwickshire. 

Clifton College from Pavilion c.1898 - an etching by Edward J Brown.

He was educated at Clifton College, Britstol (Haig's school) and King’s College, Canterbury.

Bank Street, Rugby captured by Google Street View 2012 (c) Google Street View 2021

He started his career as a school teacher at New Beacon, Sevenoaks but turned to running a life and motor insurance business setting up an office on Bank Street, Rugby in 1907.

 Lands End to John O'Groats based on Google Street Maps

Ivan Hart-Davies holds, to this day, what is known as the 'end-to-end record' between Lands End and John O’Groats (886 miles or 1,426km) for motor cycles and light cars. His record of 29 hours 12 minutes set on a Triumph motorbike still stands as such record attempts were subsequently banned by the A.C.U. At the time for exceeding the 20mph speed limit).Two years earlier he had done it in 33 hours 22 minutes.

In 1913, with three other motorcyclist friends who were travelling in Europe, he won the Murren Cup, though none of the four had done any bobsleighing before. He took to flying before the war as an amateur. His hope had been to set the record for flying from Lands End to John O'Groats, just as he had set the time for covering the distance by motorbike. This was not to come to pass. 

Lieutenant Ivan Beauclerk Hart-Davies, RFC. 48th Squadron, Royal Flying Corps (Courtesy of Rugby Remembers).

He enlisted in the Royal Flying Corps in 1916 and obtained a commission the same year. 

Bristol F.2B D-8096 (The Shuttleworth Trust)

On the eve of going to the front he took his Bristol aircraft F2B No 7103 up ‘for a last look at England’ over Northolt; unfortunately he crashed on landing and was killed. 

He was buried in the family plot at St. James Church, Southam. 

Lieutenant Ivan Beauclerk Hart-Davies, RFC. 48th Squadron, Royal Flying Corps 

27 July 1917


Sources, De Ruvigny’s Vol3., The Times, 7 August 1917, Great War Forum, 1912 Keely’s Directory for Rugby, Grace’s Guide, Our Warwickshire Website, England Census 1881, 1911.

Photograph courtesy South Wales Section of the Vintage Motor Cycle Club, Google Street View, Rugby 2012; Rugby Remembers entry by J.D.Cooke (1981), Clifton College (Wikipedia) OpenStreetMap