DAVIES, THOMAS D. (3 Nov.1914-21 Jan. 1991), set a long distance aviation record in 1946 by flying nonstop from Perth, Australia to Columbus, Ohio, and invented the sky compass for navigation near the Earth's magnetic poles.
Born in Cleveland to Katherine (Smith) and David Austin Davies, Thomas graduated from East High School and attended Case School of Applied Science before entering the U.S. Naval Academy. He was graduated and commissioned an Ensign in 1937. He also graduated from the National War College and earned an M.A. from George Washington University.
Davies served on the USS Portland (1937-1939), and the USS Wichita (1939-1942). He completed flight training at Pensacola, Florida, becoming a Naval Aviator on 24 July 1942.
Davies commanded a four-man Navy crew that flew "The Truculent Turtle", a PV2 Neptune bomber, 11,237 miles non-stop in 55 hours, 15 minutes from Perth to Columbus on l Oct. 1946, setting a world's distance record unbroken for almost 16 years. Davies also held the transcontinental East to West speed record.
Davies developed a new system for sight reduction for celestial navigation and held a patent for the invention of nose wheel catapulting for aircraft carriers.
Davies advanced in rank to Rear Admiral on l July 1965. Retiring from the Navy in 1973, Davies became assistant director of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency. He later served on the Committee for National Security and as president of the Navigation Foundation.
Davies married Eloise English on 27 Apr. 1945. They had four children, Thomas Jr., Douglas, Ronald and Meredith. Davies lived in Maryland and died in the Netherlands. He was buried at the Naval Academy Cemetery in Annapolis, Maryland.