James Alfred Davidson (March 22, 1922 - May 6, 2004) was an English OBE, naval commander, and diplomat. He was born on March 22, 1922; he died on May 6, 2004.

Davidson served for the Royal Navy for more than 20 years (1939-1960)[1], and during the Second World War he served in every theatre of the war at sea.

When peace came, he joined the Commonwealth Relations Office, and after working in Cambodia as the Khmer Rouge took over, he held high posts in Brunei (British high commissioner, 1975-78) and the British Virgin Islands (Royal governor, 1978-81). He also accomplished diplomatic duties in Trinidad & Tobago, Cambodia, and Bangladesh[2].

Turning to the law after his retirement from the Diplomatic Service, he had a third career with the Pensions appeal tribunal.

Earl lifeEdit

Born in 1922, Davidson studied at the Portsmouth Grammar School, the Christ's Hospital, and at the Royal Navy College of Dartmouth[1]. Davidson belonged to the Royal Numismatic Society[1].

Naval careerEdit

Initially as a midshipman, Davidson was assigned to the HMS-Hawkins cruiser. In 1942, he was aboard the HMS-Inconstant, for the first British disembarkment which was successful, at Madagascar. In 1943, he was First lieutenant of the HMS-Calder frigate, both escorting and in anti-submarine duties quite successfully, eastwards from the British Islands and at the Mediterranean; particularly by February 1944, he was the acting captain of this ship. By June, he embarked the HMS-Rocket to the eastern front, participating in the Battle of Penang.

After the war, Davidson trained as a pilot. He then embarked the HMS-Childers both as its Executive officer and First lieutenant; round Palestine, it surveilled the general immigration of the Jews.

Diplomatic CareerEdit

James Davidson's diplomatic duties began still for the Royal Navy in 1951, as a naval liaison with the Chinese Nationalist Government, while Communist China was a regional threat of the far east. Back at England, he was assigned commanding officer of the HMS-Welfare, helping sweeping mines and protecting fishing, but Davidson eventually decided seeking a new activity.

Davidson joined the Bar, and in 1960 he became a member of the Commonwealth Relations Office. He was firstly appointed for Trinidad, which had just attained its independence; then in 1969 he was assigned for Cambodia, becoming a personal acquaintance of its head of state, Prince Sihanouk, whose dethronement ensued in the bloody Year Zero, by which Davidson was affected. After such experiences, Davidson indeed would become an expert on the issues of the region.

In 1971 Davidson was appointed OBE.

In 1972, Davidson was sent as the High Commissioner to Bangladesh, which had just been created (1971) as an independent state from Pakistan. He was a close figure to its first Prime Minister, the Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. The Bhola cyclone of 1970 was attracting some economic enterprises of Occident for profiting the situation, and Davidson condemned this in behalf of an actual relief for the local victims. Then from 1974 to 1978, Davidson was High Commissioner at Brunei, as a close to the royal family; particularly he participated in negotiations between the colony and United Kingdom, for the independence treaty which was eventually attained in 1979[1].

From 1978 to 1981, Davidson was the Royal Governor of the British Virgin Islands, he found much popular support, although his office wasn't quite liked by the locals[3]; additionally, he confronted some crime syndicates which were conspiring against the local banking.

In 1981, Davidson left the diplomatic career.


  • Indo-China: Signposts in the Storm, in 1979.
  • Davidson wrote articles about the sultanate of Brunei: "Postal Services in Brunei's Water Town" (Brunei Museum Journal 1976) and "Brunei Coinage" (BMJ 1977)[1]


External linksEdit

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