Davison GW

GEORGE WILLIAM DAVISON 1878 – 1915

3080 Private George William Davison, 2nd Battalion, the Coldstream Guards was killed in action 13 February 1915.  He was 36 years old and is commemorated on the Le Touret Memorial, France,[1] the St. Helen’s Colliery Memorial Cottages, Maude Terrace, St. Helen’s Auckland and the Roll of Honour, West Auckland Memorial Hall, Darlington Road, Bishop Auckland, Co. Durham.

Family Details

George was born 1878[2] at Bishop Auckland the son of Thomas and Margaret Davison.  There were at least 6 children:

  • Elizabeth born c.1869
  • John born c.1872
  • Lavinia born c.1875
  • James born c.1877
  • George William born c.1879
  • Beatrice born c.1883

All children were born at Bishop Auckland except Beatrice who was born at Toronto.  In 1881 the family lived at Newton Cap, in 1891 at 53 Long Row, Toronto.[3]  To date, George and his parents have not been traced on the 1901 census.[4]  At some time after, Mrs. Davison lived at Granville Terrace, Binchester.

George married Mary Oliphant from St. Helens 17 July 1905.[5]  In 1911 they lived at 3 Darlington Road with their 3 children:

  1. Harry born 12 August 1906
  2. Doris born 6 February 1908
  3. Thomas born 2 April 1909

All were born at West Auckland.  George worked as a coal miner (hewer). [6]

Service Record

17 November 1899: George Davison enlisted into the Regular Army when aged 19 years 9 months.  His medical examination records that he stood 5’8” tall and weighed 133lbs.  His religion was Church of England.  He was posted to 2/Coldstream Guards and served in South Africa between 16 January and 6 October 1902.  3080 Private G.W. Davison served 12 years and was discharged 15 November 1911.  He re-enlisted into the Army Reserve, 23 November 1911, for a further 4 years.  He was mobilized 5 August 1914 and posted to the 2/Coldstream Guards and entered France on the same day, 11 September 1914.[7]

In August 1914, the battalion was at Windsor under the orders of the 4th (Guards) Brigade, 2nd Division which was part of the British Expeditionary Force sent to France, landing at Le Havre 13 August 1914.[8]  Other battalions in the 4th (Guards) Brigade were:

  • 2nd, the Grenadier Guards
  • 3rd, the Coldstream Guards
  • 1st, the Irish Guards
  • 1/1st, the Hertfordshire Regiment joined November 1914

The 2nd Division took part in most of the actions on the western front throughout the war.

1914

  • 23 – 24 August: the Battle of Mons and the subsequent retreat including the Affair at Landrecies (25 August), the Rearguard Affair of Le Grand Fayt (26 August) and the Rearguard Actions of Villers-Cotterets 1 September).
  • 7 -10 September: the Battle of the Marne
  • 12 – 15 September: the Battle of the Aisne including participation in the Actions on the Aisne Heights (20 September)
  • The First Battle of Ypres, particularly the Battle of Langemarck, 21 – 24 October) and the Battle of Nonne Bosschen (11 November)

1915

  • 1 and 6 February: the Affairs at Guinchy. [9]

Private G.W. Davison was killed in action 13 February 1915 and it is highly likely that he saw action at the Battle of the Aisne, the First Battle of Ypres and Guinchy.  It is recorded that he was killed near Guinchy in trenches on the canal and that he was buried on the “bank north of railway and west of bridge.”  The battlefield grave must have been lost during subsequent engagements since he is now commemorated on the Le Touret Memorial, having no known grave.

He served 156 days with the BEF and was awarded the 1914 Star and clasp, the British War and Victory medals.[10]

Commemorations

Private G.W. Davison is commemorated on the Le Touret Memorial, France:  The Le Touret Memorial commemorates over 13,400 British soldiers who were killed in this sector of the Western Front from the beginning of October 1914 to the eve of the Battle of Loos in late September 1915 and who have no known grave. The Memorial takes the form of a loggia surrounding an open rectangular court. The names of those commemorated are listed on panels set into the walls of the court and the gallery, arranged by regiment, rank and alphabetically by surname within the rank. It was unveiled 22 March 1930.

Almost all of the men commemorated on the Memorial served with regular or territorial regiments from across the United Kingdom and were killed in actions that took place along a section of the front line that stretched from Estaires in the north to Grenay in the south. [11]

The St. Helen’s Colliery Memorial Cottages – 4 cottages built near the Colliery Institute, St. Helen’s Auckland constitute the local war memorial.  2 were erected (at a cost of £4,200) by Messrs. Pease & Partners, owners of the colliery and 2 by subscriptions of the men employed there.  The formal opening took place Saturday 12 November 1921.  Mr. F. Chapman presided and mentioned that the men employed at the colliery had subscribed no less than £2,600 for the benefit of the wives of soldiers during the war and since and were continuing the fund for the benefit of the widows and children.  Mrs. R.A. Pease, Richmond and Mr. M.H. Kellett, Chilton, formerly manager of the colliery declared the respective pairs of houses open.  Memorial tablets on the front of each pair of houses bear the names of the fallen and these tablets were unveiled by Mr. J.E. Brown-Humes.  Mr. James Robson President of the Durham Miners’ Association made a few remarks.[12]

West Auckland Memorial Hall – the hall was formally opened 7 February 1925 by Mrs. Malcolm Smith.  The cost was £2,750 raised by the Miners’ Welfare Committee and the site was given by Messrs. Bolckow Vaughan.  The hall was commissioned by the War Memorial Committee.  The hall contains a Roll of Honour with 53 names of the fallen, originally located in the Methodist Church and transferred in the 1980’s. [13]

REFERENCES

[1] Commonwealth War Graves Commission

[2] England & Wales BMD 1837 – 1915 Birth Index Auckland Q4 1878

[3] 1881 & 1891 census

[4] Thomas Davison may have died 1895. England & Wales BMD 1837 – 1915 Death Index

[5] Army Form D459 Section D of Army Reserve Attestation Description

[6] 1911 census

[7] Army Form Statement of the Services & Medal Roll card index

[8] http://www.1914-1918.net/coldguards.htm

[9] www.1914-1918.net/2div.htm and www.warpath.orbat.com/battles_ff/1914.htm and http://www.warpath.orbat.com/battles_ff/1915.htm

[10] Medal Roll card index

[11] Commonwealth War Graves Commission

[12] Darlington & Stockton Times (North) 19 November 1921 and http://www.newmp.org.uk

[13] http://www.newmp.org.uk

 

PHOTOGRAPHS:

DAVISON G.W. Le Touret Memorial

DAVISON G.W.
Le Touret Memorial

DAVISON G.W. Le Touret Memorial Inscription

DAVISON G.W.
Le Touret Memorial
Inscription

DAVISON G.W. medal roll

DAVISON G.W.
medal roll

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