Lieutenant Ivan Beauclerk Hart—Davies R.F.C.
21 April 1878 — 27 July 1917
Ivan Hart—Davies (known as Harty) son of the Reverend John Hart-Davies and Mrs Hart-Davies of Southam Rectory, Warwickshire, was a charismatic adventurer who touched many peoples lives.
Educated at Maidenhead and Kings School, Canterbury, he became a schoolmaster at New Beacon, Sevenoaks, and was excellent in many sporting activities. In 1905, he decided to open an insurance office in Rugby. Because of the railway and the presence of many gentry due to the hunting and polo being of paramount importance to the area, Rugby was prosperous.
He met Jennie Ward, a lady who shared his passion for motorcycles, and was also a stockbroker and owning a domestic staff agency. He decided she was the person to manage his new enterprise and she became a very important person in his life.
In 1907 Harty formed his own boy scouts troop, organising the first boy scouts camps, B.S. Fire brigade and displays at polo matches in front of royalty from various countries. This troop was organised for boys who had no educational prospects. He was criticised for not including the sons of gentlemen.
June 12 & 13 1911 he broke the end to end record, from John O’Groats to Lands End, on a Triumph motorcycle in 29 hours 12 minutes. A.C.U. Banned further attempts too dangerous. The record still stands.
June 23 & 24 1913 with a passenger, he broke the light car end to end record, 886 miles in 34 hours 39 minutes, on a 10 HP Singer cyclecar.
1914 – Whilst on holiday in Europe with three friends broke the bob-sleigh record, winning the Murren Cup, although none of them had seen a bob-sleigh previously.
1911 – Until his death, he worked with the military, testing various guns in a range near Clifton. He had obtained his aircraft licence, tested aircraft, long distance flying and endurance trained pilots and established 1″ R.F.C. Aerodrome at Clifton. Also the ability of motorcycles to climb mountains and speed, nearly being killed on more than one occasion.
With Jennie’s help, organised the Battle of Rugby for military observers. The Coventry Motorcycle & Car Club had to penetrate the defences of the boy scouts and reach the Clock Tower, using fields and canals as well as the normal roads, and many vehicles and occupants were captured. Some military observers decided that motorcycles were useless in a war because they made too much noise. National and International newspapers reported this event.
The eve before he was due to fly to France for active service, he flew his Bristol aircraft F2B No 7103 with his batman for a last look at England. Coming in to land the plane crashed killing Harty, his batman survived.
He is buried in the family grave at Southam, which is still visited by many from the U.K. and abroad.
Copyright: 1981 J.D. -Cooke
RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM