The AIF Project

Robert William DAVIDSON

Regimental number1815
Place of birthWoolsthorpe, Victoria
OccupationMotor mechanic
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation23
Weight146 lbs
Next of kinMother, Mrs G. Davidson, Woolsthorpe, Victoria
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date10 June 1915
Date of enlistment from Nominal Roll12 July 1915
Place of enlistmentMelbourne, Victoria
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name21st Battalion, 2nd Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/38/2
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A64 Demosthenes on 16 July 1915
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll24th Battalion
Recommendations (Medals and Awards)

Military Medal

'For conspicuous gallantry in the assault on part of the Hindenburg Line in responding to an urgent call for a reinforcement for the Tramway cutting with 20 men and eventually covering the retirement from that point.'
Recommendation date: 14 May 1917

FateKilled in Action 3 May 1917
Place of burialNo known grave
Commemoration detailsAustralian National Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux, France

Villers-Bretonneux is a village about 15 km east of Amiens. The Memorial stands on the high ground ('Hill 104') behind the Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery, Fouilloy, which is about 2 km north of Villers-Bretonneux on the east side of the road to Fouilloy.

The Australian National Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux is approached through the Military Cemetery, at the end of which is an open grass lawn which leads into a three-sided court. The two pavilions on the left and right are linked by the north and south walls to the back (east) wall, from which rises the focal point of the Memorial, a 105 foot tall tower, of fine ashlar. A staircase leads to an observation platform, 64 feet above the ground, from which further staircases lead to an observation room. This room contains a circular stone tablet with bronze pointers indicating the Somme villages whose names have become synonymous with battles of the Great War; other battle fields in France and Belgium in which Australians fought; and far beyond, Gallipoli and Canberra.

On the three walls, which are faced with Portland stone, are the names of 10,885 Australians who were killed in France and who have no known grave. The 'blocking course' above them bears the names of the Australian Battle Honours.

After the war an appeal in Australia raised £22,700, of which £12,500 came from Victorian school children, with the request that the majority of the funds be used to build a new school in Villers-Bretonneux. The boys' school opened in May 1927, and contains an inscription stating that the school was the gift of Victorian schoolchildren, twelve hundred of whose fathers are buried in the Villers-Bretonneux cemetery, with the names of many more recorded on the Memorial. Villers-Bretonneux is now twinned with Robinvale, Victoria, which has in its main square a memorial to the links between the two towns.

Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Town. Woolsthorpe, Victoria

Military Medal

'For conspicuous gallantry in the assault on part of the HINDENBURG Line on 3rd May. He responded to an urgent call for a reinforcement for the Tramway cutting with 20 men and eventualy covered the retirement from that point. Later whilst Sergeant Irving was leading a party to repel a bomb attack he was wounded and Corporal DAVIDSON then completed the dispersal of the enemy.'
Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 189
Date: 8 November 1917

Other details

War service: Egypt, Gallipoli, Western Front

Embarked Alexandria to join the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force (Gallipoli Campaign), 30 August 1915.

Evacuated to hospital, Anzac, 4 December 1915; rejoined unit, Tel el Kebir, Egypt, 11 January 1916.

Embarked Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 20 March 1916; disembarked Marseilles, France, 26 March 1916.

Wounded in action, 27/31 July 1916; admitted to No 2 Field Ambulance, 29 July 1916 (shrapnel wounds, head and arm); transferred to No 44 Casualty Clearing Station, 29 July 1916; to No 1 Canadian General Hospital, Camiers, 29 July 1916; discharged, 1 August 1916, and marched into 2nd Australian Divisional Base Depot, Etaples, 1 August 1916.

Rejoined 24th Bn, 5 August 1916.

Promoted Lance Corporal, 15 July 1916.

Wounded in action, (2nd occasion), 26 August 1916; admitted to No 49 Casualty Clearing Station, 26 August 1916 (bomb wound, left buttock); transferred to Ambulance Train, 27 August 1916; to No 5 General Hospital, Rouen, 28 August 1916; to England, 3 September 1916; to No 2 Birmingham War Hospital, Northfield, 4 September 1916; to No 2 Command Depot, Weymouth, 30 September 1916.

Proceeded overseas to France, 11 December 1916; marched into 2nd Australian Divisional Base Depot, Etaples, 12 December 1916.

Rejoined 24th Bn, 25 December 1916.

Promoted Corporal, 15 February 1917.

Posted as missing in action, 3 May 1917.

Court of Enquiry, held in the field, 14 December 1917, pronounces fate as 'Killed in Action, 3 May 1917'.

Medals: Military Medal, 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal.
SourcesNAA: B2455, DAVIDSON Robert William

Print format    

© The AIF Project 2024, UNSW Canberra. Not to be reproduced without permission.