The AIF Project


Regimental number2910
Place of birthArncliffe, New South Wales
SchoolFort Street School, Sydney, New South Wales
ReligionRoman Catholic
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation22
Height5' 8"
Weight127.5 lbs
Next of kinFather, Mrs. B.O. Wilkinson, 'Hazelbrigge,' Wardell Road, Marrickville, Sydney, New South Wales
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date7 February 1916
Date of enlistment from Nominal Roll20 December 1915
Place of enlistmentCasula, New South Wales
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name31st Battalion, 5th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/48/3
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A68 Anchises on 14 March 1916
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll31st Battalion
FateKilled in Action 26-27 September 1917
Age at death from cemetery records24
Place of burialNo known grave
Commemoration detailsThe Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial (Panel 23), 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: George and Lavinia Thompson DAVISON. Native of Glenfield, New South Wales
Other details

War service: Egypt, Western Front

Embarked Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 20 June 1916; disembarked Marseilles, France, 30 June 1916.

Taken on strength, 31st Bn, in the field, 23 July 1916, and reverted to Private on joining Bn.

Admitted to 15th Australian Field Ambulance, 9 August 1916 (measles contact), and transferred to Casualty Clearing Station; rejoined Bn, 22 August 1916.

Detached to 8th Field Company Engineers, 12 May 1917; rejoined Bn from detachment, 25 May 1917.

Detached to Third Army Sniping School, 9 July 1917; rejoined Bn from detachment, 22 July 1917.

On leave to United Kingdom, 21 August 1917; rejoined Bn from leave, 3 September 1917.

Reported Wounded in Action, 26 September 1917.

Now, 12 October 1917, reported Wounded and Missing in Action, 26 September 1917.

Report by Bn CO, 6 March 1918: 'On account of the slender evidence available no finding can be decided on.'

Court of Enquiry, held in the field field, 15 October 1918, pronounced fate as 'Killed in Action, Belgium, 26-27 September 1917'.

Statement, Red Cross File No 0891010J, 2328 Lance Corporal J. GOWER, 31st Bn, 22 July 1919: 'In action at Polygon Wood. I saw Davison hit by shell. I went back after to make sure and saw him being carried away by stretcher-bearers, dead. He was a mate of mine and we went about a good deal together.'

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal
SourcesNAA: B2455, DAVISON James
Red Cross File No 0891010J

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