The AIF Project

William Robert DAVIDSON

Date of birth10 January 1890
Place of birthMelbourne, Victoria
SchoolSouth Melbourne and King Street, West Melbourne, State Schools
AddressMosman, New South Wales
Marital statusMarried
Age at embarkation25
Next of kinWife, Mrs Davidson, 8 Shadforth Street, Mosman, Sydney, New South Wales
Previous military serviceFifth Victorian Rifles and subsequently 60th Battalion, Victoria, under Colonel Courtney
Enlistment date27 March 1915
Rank on enlistmentLieutenant
Unit name14th Battalion, 7th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/31/3
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board RMS Persia on 10 August 1915
Rank from Nominal RollCaptain
Unit from Nominal Roll46th Battalion
Recommendations (Medals and Awards)

Mention in Despatches

Awarded, and promulgated, 'London Gazette', second Supplement, No. 29890 (2 January 1917); 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 103 (29 June 1917).

Other details from Roll of Honour CircularHis great grandfather, David Davidson, 92nd Highlanders, fought at the Battle of Waterloo, 18 June 1815, under the Duke of Wellington.
FateKilled in Action 16 August 1917
Place of death or woundingWytschaete, Belgium (Battle of Messines)
Age at death27
Age at death from cemetery records27
Place of burialNo known grave
Commemoration detailsThe Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial (Panel 27), Belgium

The Menin Gate Memorial (so named because the road led to the town of Menin) was constructed on the site of a gateway in the eastern walls of the old Flemish town of Ypres, Belgium, where hundreds of thousands of allied troops passed on their way to the front, the Ypres salient, the site from April 1915 to the end of the war of some of the fiercest fighting of the war.

The Memorial was conceived as a monument to the 350,000 men of the British Empire who fought in the campaign. Inside the arch, on tablets of Portland stone, are inscribed the names of 56,000 men, including 6,178 Australians, who served in the Ypres campaign and who have no known grave.

The opening of the Menin Gate Memorial on 24 July 1927 so moved the Australian artist Will Longstaff that he painted 'The Menin Gate at Midnight', which portrays a ghostly army of the dead marching past the Menin Gate. The painting now hangs in the Australian War Memorial, Canberra, at the entrance of which are two medieval stone lions presented to the Memorial by the City of Ypres in 1936.

Since the 1930s, with the brief interval of the German occupation in the Second World War, the City of Ypres has conducted a ceremony at the Memorial at dusk each evening to commemorate those who died in the Ypres campaign.

Panel number, Roll of Honour,
  Australian War Memorial
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: William Robert and Edith Mary DAVIDSON, husband of Enid L. DAVIDSON, 13 York Street, Glenferrie, Victoria. Native of Melbourne

Military Cross

Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' 169
Date: 4 October 1917

Family/military connectionsCousin: Captain L A P Ward, OBE, SMS. Secretary to General Sir William Birdwood throughout the war, including Gallipoli.
Other details

War service: Egypt, Gallipoli, Western Front

Wounded at Gallipoli, 9 November 1915.

Occupation stated to be grain salesman on Roll of Honour Circular.

Medals: Military Cross, 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal

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