Evan Davies from Pontycymer

A Police Officer Murdered on Duty

submitted by David Jones

The only Cardiff police officer that has ever been murdered on duty was PC Evan Davies who was born and raised in Pontycymmer.

Evan was born about 1907 and lived in Alexandra Road. He married his wife Blanche who was also a Pontycymmer girl whilst they were teenagers and they lived together happily at the family home in Alexandra Road.

 

Evan joined the police force and unusually joined the Cardiff City force and not his local force being the Glamorgan Constabulary. They moved to Dale Road in the Rhiwbina area of the city.

During December 1941 death was a daily occurrence in the city of Cardiff due to the air raids but on the 11th of that month it was just one single death that shocked the whole of Cardiff and reverberated around South Wales.

Late at night Evan was on “blackout duty” in the usually quiet area of Whitchurch Road in the Cathays area of the city when he was sent to an air raid shelter after having received a report of youths causing trouble.

Two shots from a “Tommy Gun” were fired from the darkness within the shelter and both passed through the 34 year old policeman’s heart causing instant death. The killer (or killers) fled and were never found.

The last person to see Evan alive (apart from the killer/s) was PC Cliff Simons (Senior) who I met on a few occasions. Cliff was a war reserve police officer whose beat included Whitchurch Road. Cliff had been working the 2pm to 10pm afternoon shift and walked down Whitchurch Road to it’s junction with Allensbank Road and handed over his beat the the night shift officer who was PC Evan Davies. Cliff went home and was not aware of Evan’s death until returning to work the following morning.

Cliff referred to Evan as “the Doc” due to the first aid skills that he showed on several occasions, particularly when a youth had accidentally shot himself and Evan had ran into a fishmongers shop and got some ice in which to pack the boy’s wound. Cliff referred to Evan as “a real gentleman”.

I also worked with Cliff’s son, PC Cliff Simons (Junior) who still relates the story and ensures that PC Evan Davies of Pontycymmer is never forgotten.

The site of the air raid shelter is just about visible today. Some old brickworkings indicate it’s former presence on the wall of Maindy Barracks on Crown Way, opposite Companies House.

PC Evan Davies was buried back home in the Bridgend area (quite possibly Pontycymmer) and also his widow Blanche returned home too. She never remarried.

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PC Evan Davies (left) and PC Simons

 

6 comments Add yours
  1. I have just read this sad story. I actually grew up in that area Cathays/ Maindy in the late 40’s early 50’s. I do remember playing in the Air raid shelters all the time. I only wish I still had relatives alive, who I could ask about this incident. I hope your story will bring up some memories of P.C. Evan Davies’s early days in Pontycymmer.

  2. I pointed out your original story to a friend who specialises in re-enacting WW2 . He sent me some other info on the case.
    Aparently P.C. Davies was sent to the shelter with a Sgt Herbert Lilwall?. This was after complaints had been made by local residents Of armed youths?causing a nuisance!. When they got to the Whitchurch Rd shelter. Sgt Lilwall left P.C.Davies and went on to investigate a similar complaint at a shelter in North Rd?.
    Entering the shelter Evan Davies confronted five youths?, who scrambled for the exit. Two shots rang out whether by accident or design, they hit P.C. in the chest fatally wounding him.
    One of the youths was believed to be a Lyn Evans. He was found shot in the head 5 days later?. His death is possibly accidental.
    An inventory was taken at the local Home Guard arsenal and a sub-machine gun and an automatic pistol plus 400 rounds of ammunition were missing.
    Police did bring in local suspects and they recovered a quantity of automatic pistols and revolvers, this round also up enabled them to clear up about 50 cases of housebreaking and burglary in the area.
    As there are only two exits to an Air raid shelter I am amazed that the policemen did not just cover either end, and flush out the troublemakers . Why did they split up?. Was there an enquiry afterward.

  3. It was suspected that the youths/ killer(s) were from the nearby Mynachdy estate but I have never heard any suspects named before. I am not aware of Sgt Lilwall either but it might be correct.

  4. P.C Evan Thos Davies of the Cardiff City Police was the son of Mr & Mrs Evan Davies, 40 The Avenue, Pontycymmer.
    At 6.22pm 11 Dec 1941 PC Davies was on patrol accompanied by Sgt Lilwall., The constable entered an air raid shelter on the left hand side of Whitchurch Road near to the barracks while Sgt Lilwall proceeded up North Road, the Sgt returned to the shelter thinking something was amiss and on entering the shelter the Sgt found the constable in conversation with two youths, the elder of the youths had something bulky under his overcoat and PC Davies questioned him about it. Shortly afterwards a tommy gun fell to the floor and one of the youths made a dash for the southern entrance. Two shots were fired from a pistol or revolver and PC Davies fell to the ground fatally wounded.
    PC Davies’s widow Blanche Amy Davies (nee Willis) never remarried and both are buried at Bridgend Cemetery. PC Davies is commemorated on the Police Roll Of Honour Trust.

  5. Hi, Barri,
    Thank you for adding a bit more information to this sad story. Do you know if there was ever an enquiry, or if anyone was suspected of the murder.
    regards
    Gerald Jarvis

  6. From the South Wales Echo “Free Library” 2002

    CLIFF RECALLS ‘THE DOC’S’ LAST HOURS ON THE BEAT

    CLIFF Simons met Evan ‘The Doc’ Davies moments before the 34-year-old policeman was shot.

    That meeting was more than 60 years ago, but it is still fresh in 91-year-old Cliff’s mind.

    Cliff was a war reserve policeman whose beat included Whitchurch Road.

    On December 11, 1941, he was working the 2pm until 10pm shift.

    As it drew to a close, he wandered down Whitchurch Road to the junction with Allensbank Road.

    He saw Sgt Herbert Lilwall and the Pc who was to take over his shift coming towards him.

    That Pc was Evan ‘The Doc’ Davies.

    “I handed over the shift to Evan and off I went, ” said Cliff, of Tweedsmuir Road, Tremorfa.

    “I went home and it wasn’t until the next morning I went to Cathays police station and heard what had happened.

    “The sergeant must have left ‘The Doc’ to carry on his beat, and shortly after Evan must have walked into the air raid shelter and been shot.”

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