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Owners of the V Bar V Ranch, Norman Davies

John Norman Davies owned the V Bar V ranch from 1932 to 1943. Norman, from a Welsh landed-gentry family, was the son of Joseph Davies, a solicitor in Aberystwyth, Cardiganshire, Wales and Mary Jane Jones. Norman was born in Aberystwyth on 4 August 1894 and grew up in that coastal town. He enlisted in the Royal Army Medical Corps in 1914, was wounded and honourably discharged on 23 December 1915. Jean Harrison was assigned to him as his nurse at Guy’s Hospital in London to, among other things, help him learn how to swallow again. It was embarrassing for him, but she made it as much fun as possible. They became devoted to each other. He returned to Aberystwyth after the war, where Jean began working as a nurse. Norman and Jean married in Dartford, Kent in the summer of 1930.


The newly wed Davies travelled to Canada, departing Belfast and disembarking in Quebec on 18 April 1932, then take occupancy of the V Bar V in Oyama. Davies converted the ranch to a sheep-ranching operation, leasing upland acres for summer pasture. In March 1934 he acquired further water rights so he was likely putting up hay for winter-feed. On 28 February 1935 he returned to Wales for six months at the time of his brother’s death and his father’s ill health. Later that year, on 17 October 1935, following the death of his father, Davies sold his sheep, gave up his leased land and returned to Wales. He returned to Oyama two years later, in August 1937, with a carload of Percherons, mares and a stallion and a few cattle purchased in Calgary to begin cattle ranching. The Davies travelled to Wales again in 1939 to settle his father’s estate but returned to Oyama. During World War II, Capt. and Mrs. Norman Davies were posted to England, where his expertise in barbed wire fencing was invaluable in making it possible to raise sheep and cattle on the South Downs during the wartime food crisis. In October 1943 Davies sold the V Bar V to Vernon Ellison, who ran Kalwood Farms, a Hereford operation on the V Bar V ranch and adjacent acreage.


The Davies ended up living on the South Downs, near the cliffs of Dover in Eastbourne, East Sussex, England. Jean died on 28 July 1977 and Norman in April 1979.

Jean and Norman Davies in retirement

1 Comment

  • I happened to check your website today (August 8/23) and discovered this write-up. I was very glad to see it, and the photo, of which I have a copy.

    Jean Davies was my wife Rosemary’s aunt, that is, Rosemary’s mum’s sister. Rosemary passed on, March 23, 2023, at 98. Her brother David (“Dave”), a year and a half younger than her, died December 5, 2022. Dave and Rose lived with their parents in Oyama, from, I think, mid-1935 to the early years of the Second World War, when they relocated with their mother Margaret to join their Dad, Sidney (“Sid”) Darvill in Victoria, where he was Bandmaster in the Garrison band. Rosemary really appreciated the years in Oyama, the experiences and the friendships. Long after, Rosemary reverted to the earlier spelling of her surname: Darville. (Her obituary, for Rosemary Margaret Darville, is at—Harry Berbrayer

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