Davis, Irvine Leslie (Leading Aircraftman, b.1924 - d.1977)


Collection relating to the Second World War and British Commonwealth Occupational Force (BCOF) service of 71625 Leading Aircraftman Irvine Leslie Davis, 7 Operational Training Unit, No. 8 Squadron, No. 100 Squadron and 5 Airfield Construction Section (BCOF), Australia, New Guinea, and Japan, 1942-1946.

Wallet 1 and 2 contains 83 letter and telegrams sent by LAC Davis to his mother, father and sister spanning the period 26 October 1942 to 2 December 1945. Wallet 1 spans the period 26 October 1942 to 11 September 1944 (42 letters, 1 telegram), and Wallet 2 spans the period 3 October 1944 to 2 December 1945 (39 letters, 1 telegram).

The letters largely discuss LAC Davis' training in Australia. The letters begin with LAC Davis' training in the ATC, then on to his intensive training and later failure in exams to join the RAAF as an air crewman. There are letters relating to mechanical failings of aircraft such as the Beaufort, the Beaufighter, the Liberator, and the Mosquito. Following his training in Australia, the letters discuss LAC Davis' movement to New Guinea with many descriptions of the wildlife and living conditions in the tropics, including several of the unit's attempts at dynamite fishing. Also discussed at great length is the food situation in New Guinea, including descriptions of trading with the locals, and hunting wild animals by members of LAC Davis' unit. A majority of the content however, relates to various comfort items being sent to LAC Davis, and general family affairs back in Australia.

Wallet 3 contains one telegram and 19 letters relating dating from 5 February 1945 to 16 April 1947 and covers the period that LAC Davis spent winding up the occupation of New Guinea, as well as time spent in Japan as part of BCOF. Also included is one leave pass from this period. Letters are written to the same family members as those in Wallets 1 and 2 and largely discuss different items that LAC Davis sends back to his family. There are brief mentions of his work in Japan, including the building of a cinema, and much discussion is made about an army mistake that makes LAC Davis spend a longer period of time in Japan than what he was meant to. Also included in a separate folder is a letter (date unknown) from LAC Davis, four empty envelopes dated from 1944, a draft letter from LAC Davis' father to him, and a letter written to LAC Davis' father from a cousin called Jack Caldwell dated 26 January 1945, discussing family affairs and the conditions of the jungle (unspecified) where he is based.