Private 30896 Arthur Joseph Davidson

Davidson Arthur 96 375x600Davidson Arthur 96 400x600

Killed in Action on Friday, 19th April 1918, age 18.
Buried in Grave E. 6. at Englebelmer Communal Cemetery Extension, Somme, France.

6th Bn., Dorsetshire Regiment. 50th Brigade of 17th Division.

Son of Mrs M. E. Davidson, of 149, Upper High St., Dudley, Worcs.
Born: Tipton, Enlisted: Dudley, Resident: Dudley.

First landed France & Flanders, post 31st December 1915.
Medal entitlement: British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Not commemorated on any Tipton memorial.
Commemorated here because identified as Tipton on 'Soldiers Died in the Great War'.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/277878/

Genealogical Data

Marriage of George Davidson and Mary Elizabeth Tawdry registered December quarter 1891 in Dudley.
Birth of Joseph Arthur Davidson registered September quarter 1899 in Dudley.

1901 Census
42 King Street (Coach and Horses Public House), Dudley, Worcs.
Elizabeth Davidson (30, Widow, Publican, born Bloxwich), and her 6 children: Clara (10, born Tipton), George (9, born Tipton), Percy (8, born Tipton), Beatrice (6, born Tipton), Violet (5, born Tipton), and Arthur (2, born Tipton).

1911 Census
7 Victoria Terrace, Dudley, Worcs.
Living with her parents Bruce and Susan Fawdry was:
Elizabeth Davidson (40, Widow, No Occupation, born Bloxwich), and her 6 children: Clara (19, Milliner, born Tipton), George (17, Apprentice Coachbuilder, born Tipton), Percy (16, Apprentice Fitter, born Tipton), Bella (15, Apprentice Dressmaker, born Tipton), Violet (14, No Occupation, born Tipton), and Arthur (11, School, born Tipton).

Personal Data

After Arthur's death, his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £8/12/6d (8 pounds, 12 shillings and 6 pence); this was paid to his mother, Mary E., in July 1918. His War Gratuity was £5/0/0d (5 pounds exactly), this was also paid to his mother in December 1919. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that Arthur had enlisted in approximately January 1917.

Action resulting in his death

As the Germans launched their Spring Offensive on 21st March 1918, the 6th Battalion, Dorsetshire Regiment (6/Dorsets) were near Hermies, about 10 miles south-west of Cambrai.

The strength of the German assault forced the 6/Dorsets and their comrades in 17th Division back across the old 1916 Somme battlefield towards Albert. This had seen a withdrawal of approximately 20 miles, and by the end of March over 50 men of the 6/Dorsets had been killed.

The first 2 weeks of April saw the 6/Dorsets withdrawn from the fighting zone back towards Amiens before returning towards the Somme area. They then took over the front-line near Mesnil in the Ancre Valley from the 15th - 17th April before being withdrawn to Brigade Reserve near Englebelmer on 18th April.

The War Diary of the 6/Dorsets for 18th - 20th April simply says “In Reserve”. Arthur Davidson was killed in action on the 19th April along with one other man of the 6/Dorsets, but there is no reference to this in the War Diary. It is possible that Arthur Davidson was killed by long-range shelling, or whilst involved in working parties – we shall never know.

Both Arthur and his comrade in the 6/Dorsets, Walter Boswell, are buried in Row ‘E’ of Englebelmer Communal Cemetery Extension.

Newspaper Cuttings

Dudley Herald 18th May 1918
Private A. Davidson, of the Dorset Regiment, youngest son of the late George Davidson, has been killed in action. His father was the well-known Derbyshire cricketer, who died whilst living at Tividale. Mrs Davidson resides in High Street, Dudley.
Pte. Davidson joined the colours at the age of 17½, and had been in France on active service seven weeks when he met his death by a bursting shell on April 19th.