Cymdeithas Hanes Resolfen History Society

A web log for the Resolven History Society which publishes articles and stories related to Resolven and the immediate surroundings.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Strange Case of the Missing Watch

The strange case of the missing watch

One of the best features that the History Society has enjoyed since starting our website is the large number of enquiries received regarding issues concerning lost relatives, even from the esteemed office of Debretts on one occasion. Our own Central Record Office – Mr Phylip Jones is usually able to answer the enquiry but an e-mail from Ann Smith has sent everyone guessing. The enquiry featured that of a long service watch from Cam Gears (TRW today) given to a Mr R L Davidson in 1985.

Ann Smith takes up the story:

Dear Trefor, I am seeking help in tracing a person by the name of R.L.Davidson and wonder if you or the Society have any ideas that might help. I shall briefly explain: My son has found a watch with an inscription R.L.DAVIDSON TRW/CAM GEARS LTD 20 YEARS SERVICE 1985 Now we live in Luton, and this is where the watch was found, but our research so far has led us to believe that this company had branches in this area some years ago. I believe until about 2000 it was still in existence in Resolven? What I am trying to do is reunite this lovely watch with its owner. There is only one R.L.Davidson in the local phone directory and that is not him. I wonder if you know if there is any way in which one could access a list of past employee's for the company and gain a lead as to how to find this person. My next move is to place a small ad in the local newspaper perhaps. I suspect the watch is of little monetary value but I know if it were mine I would very much like it back. If you have any ideas I would be most grateful.

Yours sincerely, Ann Smith

Our Secretary replied by e-mail:

Date: Tue, 6 Jan 2009 09:44:38 +0000Thank you for your recent enquiry. Cam Gears is still in existence in Resolfen, it changed its name to TRW Steering Systems around a decade ago- it is currently hanging on by its fingertips in the current recession. Since the factory employed over a thousand workers in the 80s I'm sure there will be someone who remembers the owner. I will make some enquiries however perhaps the company would be able to help you directly since many workers worked there for a far longer period than twenty years.

Best wishes,

Trefor Jones

Then followed some detective work and some longstanding workers at the Cam Gears factory were asked if they knew if Mr Davidson was still living in the area. This drew a blank, though one suggestion was that he may have worked in one of the English plants and had spent some time in Resolfen. However Ann Smith was already on the case

10 January 2009 11:32:18
Trefor Jones (
Thank youTrefor. From your info I have managed to get the number for TRW Systems and have made contact regarding the watch. They in turn are looking into it. So far they have got back to me to say that there were actually 3 Mr Davidsons at the Luton branch at that time and they are going to see if these folk are still contactable. I guess I can do no more but hope to hear from THE Mr Davidson one day so that I can reunite him with his watch. Once again many thanks for your help. Ann Smith

The trail seemed to be wending its way over the Severn Bridge however a chance remark to our President in our recent monthly meeting led to another strand. Apparently, Phylip worked with a Mr Davidson in Cam Gears at the time and he was a resident of Skewen. Ann Smith was subsequently informed by e-mail. A brief perusal of the telephone directory showed that no R L Davidson lived in Skewen today, though there was still a Davidson who might well be a relative. Of course, Mr Davidson if he is still alive might well be ex-directory.

I’m sure this will not be the end of the case and we await developments. Anyone with any ideas should contact us. Watch this space.


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