A YMCA AMBASSADOR IN MANY LANDS
A young man from West Wales turned up one night in 1906 at the Porth YMCA, which in those early days was located in Hannah Street, the shopping centre. The accommodation of this Association, similar to most YMCAs in the industrial valleys of South Wales, comprised two or three rooms over a shop. Many members of these small Associations took pride in the variety of their programmes which generally embraced cultural, religious and social activities.
This young man interested himself in the lectures held on Friday nights under the guidance of their Chairman, Dr. Chalk, Headmaster of the Pupil Teachers' School for the Rhondda Valley.
Whilst in Porth he was a young assistant in an outfitters business and later followed the trend of assistants in those days, to gravitate in due course to the towns or cities. He turned his face westward and settled in Swansea as a chief assistant. He also became a member of the YMCA in its premises at Dynevor Place, prior to the erection of the massive buildings in Kingsway.
The debating society attracted him and he joined one of the many groups of members to raise a total sum of £12,000 in twelve days, towards the cost of new premises. That proved to be the commencement of a life long Association Membership and his name, well known in the City of Swansea, was D. 1. Davies OBE., J.P.. - merited by his dedicated service as a YMCA layman.
During the First World War, much of his leisure time was devoted to rendering assistance in YMCA Forces Canteens in the Swansea District. Early in 1914 he established himself in business and opened his own outfitters shop. Between 1924 and 1945, Mr. Davies was elected to many important YMCA
offices, he became a member of the Swansea YMCA Committee later its Chairman, and represented the Swansea Committee National Council. Later he represented the Welsh National National Council of England, Ireland and Wales.
and five years on the Welsh Council on the
At that time the Welsh National Council invited him to voluntarily, all the Welsh Forces Canteens in Swansea. In
superintend, this work he was
given considerable assistance by well known businessmen, namely Messrs. Malcolm Smith, H.M. Stevens and R.W. Thomas, all of whom later became members of the Welsh National Council.
February 1945 brought him great misfortune - his business was blitzed and demolished and stock and documents destroyed, including many YMCA papers.
Between 1945 and 1946 he represented the National Council of England, Ireland and Wales on the World Committee of the Association, whose headquarters are at Geneva. He attended his first meeting in February, 1946. His many commitments as a member of the World Committee may be grouped into the two following periods:
a) 1947 to 1950: That first meeting started Mr. Davies on his various missions to many countries. He went to Denmark and Norway to enquire into the state of the YMCA during the occupation of the German Army. He visited Portugal with Dr. Laurie of New York to assess the work of the YMCA in that country. They reported vast differences between the older Evangelicals and the young Catholics but managed to smooth out some of the difficulties.