Alan Davies was born on March 27, 1932 in East London. His father, Frederick Davies, studied to become a London taxi driver, and his mother, Florence Coultart, worked for a cigar manufacturer. As a child, Davies was an avid soccer player and member of the Boy's Brigade, which was a recreational organization for young men. The outbreak of war in 1939 forecasted the threat of German bombers to the city of London. Like thousands of English schoolchildren, Davies was evacuated to the countryside to escape the German air raids. He was evacuated a total of three times, sheltering in Norfolk, Gloucester, and Devon, until he returned home permanently in the summer of 1944. His father returned from military service in 1946 after surviving a German U-Boat attack on his naval convoy.
After the war, Davies secured work at a newspaper where he was exposed to educated people for the first time. Through this position, Davies acquired an aptitude for reading, and sought to become a reporter, even obtaining an advanced copy of a Winston Churchill speech. During his obligatory service with the Royal Air Force, Davies worked as a shorthand typist; skills he acquired through his work in print. Following his service, he worked briefly for a book publishing company until his urge to travel led him to Canada and San Francisco.
After immigrating to the United States, Davies accepted a position with the Air Force Exchange Service in Nuremberg, Germany. While in Germany, he met and married his wife Juli. After his retirement in 1993, Davies and his wife moved to Marietta, Georgia to be close to his daughter. Davies published his memoir, "A Life in Shadow," in 2005, detailing his childhood in East London and his experiences as an evacuee during the Blitz.