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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Surprise visit connects WWII veteran with 1940s Harley



by Sylene Argent

On Saturday morning, nearly 97-year-old Frank “Tex” Davis thought he would be spending his day going to the North Wall monument in Windsor with family and friends. Instead, several people from various motorcycle and veterans’ groups pulled together to surprise the man who served in WWII and later in the 1950s, by connecting him with a 1940s Harley-Davidson Motorcycle; a model of bike that has special meaning to him.

  Davis said he was born in Nova Scotia and worked for a veterans’ magazine. In 1942, he joined the Reserve Army. He joined the active force in 1944, where he served into 1945. When the Cold War started, he joined the Signal Corps, where he served for ten-years as a motorcycle rider and training cadets.

  In 1952, a photo was taken of Davis with a Harley-Davison motorcycle, similar to the model on display at the Canadian Transportation Museum & Heritage Village.

  When he first joined the active force, Davis said he wanted to ride a motorcycle in the worst way, but he had to follow what the military assigned him to do.

  He recalled getting the nickname “Tex,” while on a convoy. There were quite a few men behind him in trucks. He said there was cattle down the road, and an officer could not move them. So, he rode his bike up and chased them out of the way. The guys, he said, got a kick out of the situation, and began calling him “Tex” as a result. The next day, the nickname was added to his helmet, an item he still has.

  Les McDonald, a Board Member of the Canadian Transportation Museum & Heritage Village, said the local museum is fortunate to have a permanent motorcycle display, which depicts the heritage of motorized transportation on two wheels.

  With the involvement of several individuals, they were able to get Davis out to the CTMHV on Saturday morning to see the motorcycle. 

As soon as Davis spotted the motorcycle on his Saturday morning surprise visit, he hopped right on, with a beaming smile pulling ear-to-ear.

  “I have never met him before, but by looking at the smile on his face, I’m sure he is right in his element,” McDonald said.

“He’d ride that bike out of here if he could start it up,” Davis’s son, Randy, said.

  He and his father are part of the Canadian Army Veterans motorcycle group. He said his father takes his role of speaking about history seriously, and is able to explain the feelings of people who had to go off to war, some of whom would not be coming home. He does so through his storytelling and through the poems he has written, and committed to memory.

  Randy said his dad’s poems keep him going, many of which he shared while standing by the motorcycle. He described his dad as a family-orientated man.

  “We love him so much, we wanted to thank him by saying ‘you are important to us,’” Randy said of the purpose of the surprise visit.   

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