Statue of George V

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Statue of George V


The statue of King George V in St Helier's Howard Davis Park was created by Sir William Reid Dick and unveiled in 1939, three years after the death of the King

The unveiling
The crowd at the unveiling

Large crowds attended the unveiling by the Island's Lieut-Governor General James Harrison on 2 October 1939, and then took the first opportunity they had had to walk around the park which was a gift to the island of T B Davis, who had been a personal friend of the late King, as General Harrison remarked during the unveiling:

"It is difficult for me to add to what the Bailiff has said and expressed so well regarding the many benefactions and extreme generosity of Mr Davis to his native island, but I feel all the more that it is an honour to unveil this statue of His Majesty King George V when I think what a great personal friend he was of Mr Davis in their yachting days together. I think it is very suitable that his statue should stand here, at the entrance of the Howard Davis Park, given in the name of Mr Davis's son, who gave his life for his country."

The statue had been commissioned before the death of the King and during an encounter between the two friends for a few minutes its future was in doubt.

The King was visiting Dartmouth on the royal yacht to see a ship which was being built further upriver. As T B Davis's schooner Westward was between this craft and the entrance to the river, he had his crew dressed in new white uniforms, and had the decks scrubbed white. He was so proud of the effect that the harbourmaster had to remove his shoes when he wanted to come aboard. Coincidentally T B Davis had also received an invitation from the King to come to dinner that evening, although he had not yet responded.

But as the royal barge passed Westward, with its crew lined up and its decks gleaming, the King turned his back and pretended to be studying Dartmouth Naval College, which lies on the other side of the river. This left T B rather angry, and he gave vent to one of his famous tirades of abuse. It is alleged to have gone something like this: 'Stuck-up old devil! To think I've just made a bloody statue of him and put it in my park in bloody Jersey. I'll uproot him! Yes I will, I'll uproot the old devil. Sod him. Sod everybody.'

This outburst was subdued with the news that the King had only turned his back as a joke and that he thought that Westward looked wonderful. This mollification must have worked. because T B and his wife attended dinner with the King that night. And the statue is still standing in the park.

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