Date of Birth: 14 August 1913
Died: 16 April 1998
World Champion: 1948, 1949, 19511
Fred Davis, OBE was an English professional player of snooker and billiards, being one of only two players ever to win the world title in both, along with his brother Joe.
He was one of the most popular personalities in the game. His professional career spanned from 1929 to 1993. He was born in Chesterfield, Derbyshire.
Davis was originally a billiards player; he called billiards ‘his first love’ and he won the British Boys Under 16 Billiards Championship in 1929. He turned professional automatically under the rules of the Billiards Association and Control Council in 1929. By the time that he was ready to play competitive billiards, the sport was in sharp decline, although he did beat Kingsley Kennerley for the United Kingdom Professional Billiards Championship in 1951. Davis remarked that once snooker had come to the fore he assumed that he would never play another billiards match.
Forced to concentrate on snooker, he first played in the World Snooker Championship in 1937 but lost 17–14 to Welshman Bill Withers in the first round, a defeat that Davis put down to ignoring his worsening eyesight. His brother, Joe, considered this defeat an affront to the family honour and hammered Withers 30–1 in the very next round. Joe’s fury with his brother’s performance persuaded Fred to consult an optician who devised a pair of spectacles with swivel lens joints. He reached the semi finals in 1938 and 1939 and lost only 37–36 to Joe Davis in the 1940 final (although the winning margin was reached at 37–35 as ‘dead’ frames were still played out. This was the only time they met in the World Championship final. A short clip of the match and a mention of Fred’s impending World War II service is caught on a Pathe news clip. Davis in fact was called up on 20 July 1940, only five days after his marriage to Sheila.
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