Week 16 – Out of Place

I have to wonder if my 4th cousin Grethe didn’t feel a bit out of place when she in 1947, aged 20, arrived in the small village of Sheldon, Birmingham with her brand new husband.

A view of Sheldon Village in 1936 by William Albert Green.
Name: Anna Margrethe Jensen Møller (Grethe)
Birth: 29/5/1926 Holme, Ning, Århus
Marriage: 5/4/1947 – Holme, Ning, Århus
Spouse: Glyndwr Davies (Glyn)
Death: 7/10/2015 – Pontypridd, Glamorgan, Wales, UK

Anna Margrethe, or Grethe as she preferred to be called, was daughter of a boelsmand (owner of a small farm) in Holme (mid Jutland) and Glyndwr was son of a Welsh coalminer. He was named after the national hero of Wales who was called “Owen Glendower” by Shakespeare in Henry IV, but was commonly known as Glyn. Welsh was spoken in his family home and he did not learn English until he went to school.

The end of Second World War meant that Glyn, serving in the Royal Dragoons (part of the famed “Desert Rats”), was sent to Denmark to assist in the liberation of Denmark after Germany had surrendered, and the stage was set for the young couple to meet. The Danish newspaper Jyllands Posten published a special supplement on April 23rd, 1995 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the liberation of Denmark. It included an article, “Befrieren” (The liberator), about Glyn Davies, his wartime experiences, how he met his wife Grethe, and his later career. “Glyn Davies from Wales was involved in El Alamein, the invasion of Sicily, landing in Italy, invasion of Normandy, and the battles at Arnhem and the Rhine but he found the highlights of the World War at Åbenrå, Kolding and Thorsmølle”. Unfortunately I have not read this article as online I can only access newspapers printed prior to 1919. Information for this post is from Grethe and Glyn’s son Roy Davies.

Glyn Davies in the Royal Dragoons, 1945

When discharged from the Royal Dragoons, Glyn rushed home to Cardiff to complete his economics studies as quickly as possible so that he could start work and get married. Having been away for 6 years meant that he could not finish his honours degree in a hurry. Instead he settled for a minor degree and a diploma in teaching. In the marriage register at Holme Church, Glyn is recorded as being a teacher and Grethe a secretary.

Glyn had a long and successful career retiring as Professor of Banking and Finance in 1985. He also wrote a long list of Publications for British journals, magazines and newspapers as well as the book A History of Money from Ancient Times to the Present Day.

Grethe was, I guess, the woman behind the man. “They enjoyed travelling and visited members of their far flung family in Canada, Australia, Fiji, Peru and Trinidad. In April 1995, along with other former British soldiers and their wives, they were guests of the Danish government at the celebration in Copenhagen to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the end of the Second World War and the liberation of Denmark.” (Roy Davies).

They had three sons and one daughter:

Roy Davies: Author, and until retirement, the librarian at St Luke’s Campus, University of Exeter.

John Davies: Professor of economics at Acadia University in Nova Scotia, Canada.

Kenneth Davies: After a long career in various countries for BP, is now Group Chief Geophysicist for Dana Petroleum.

Linda Davies: Former merchant banker turned novelist. Currently writing the true story of her own captivity in Iran “Hostage: Kidnapped on the High Seas”.

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