A sailor who became immortalised on recruitment posters as "the face of the Royal Navy" has died at the age of 90.
Cdr Anthony 'Tony' Rowland Davidson was chosen by AR Thompson of the Royal Academy to be painted from hundreds of young people serving at the Gosport shorebase HMS St Vincent in 1950.
The artist’s poster of Cdr Davidson was used in several recruitment campaigns for the Senior Service, including "Make the Royal Navy Your Career", "A Man’s Life in the Royal Navy" and "Join the Navy and Feel A Man".
The image also appeared on the cover of Kevin Brown’s study on the Royal Navy's fitness and morale, Fittest of the Fleet.
AR Thompson was a multi-talented artist who worked for the war effort, railway companies and Hollywood, and portraits.
Cdr Davidson began his decades-long naval career as a junior seaman on TS Mercury in 1949. In his proudest moment, he was awarded the Royal Victorian Medal by Queen Elizabeth after he was in the gun carriage team pulling King George VI’s coffin at Windsor.
He went to serve on the UK’s last battleship, HMS Vanguard, as well as the frigates Ulysses and Murray, and was successful in the first-ever circumnavigation of Bahrain.
Following a period on HMS Jaguar, where he trained gun crews and controlled her armaments, he finished as a commander and staff gunnery officer to the senior Royal Navy command in the Gulf.
The rugby-playing serviceman went on to work in the financial industry and as an extra in films and TV shows like Stargate and X-Files in Vancouver, Canada, in the wake of finding an adoration for theatre in Bahrain.
Cdr Davidson lived in Canada for 19 years before moving back to Cumbria, where he remained until his death.
Cdr Anthony ‘Tony’ Rowland Davidson, 10 June 1933 – 20 August 2023