Arthur Leonard DAVIDSON

DAVIDSON, Arthur Leonard

Service Number: 3597
Enlisted: 7 February 1917, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 43rd Infantry Battalion
Born: Norwood, South Australia, 1886
Home Town: Torrensville, South Australia
Schooling: Adelaide High School
Occupation: Schoolmaster
Died: Killed in Action, Villers Bretonneux, France, 22 April 1918
Cemetery: Bonnay Communal Cemetery Extension
A 31
Memorials: Adelaide High School Honour Board, Adelaide National War Memorial, Adelaide University of Adelaide WW1 Honour Roll, Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Burra District WW1 Honor Roll, Burra Fallen Soldiers Memorial, Goodwood Public School WW1 Roll of Honor, Parkside Epworth Uniting Church Honour Roll, Rose Park Public School WW1 Honour Board, Rose Park Public School WW1 Honour Board
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World War 1 Service

7 Feb 1917: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, 3597, 43rd Infantry Battalion, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
Date unknown: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, 3597, 43rd Infantry Battalion

Help us honour Arthur Leonard Davidson's service by contributing information, stories, and images so that they can be preserved for future generations.

Biography contributed by Faithe Jones

Pte Arthur Leonard Davidson, who was killed on the field in France on April 21, early in life evinced an interest in military matters. He was an officer in charge of cadets when the State system was superseded by the Commonwealth control. He served in the Parkside, Rose Park, Marratville and Goodwood Schools as assistant and as head teacher at Delamere and Mount Bryan. He was an acting corporal when he embarked for the front, but on reaching England stepped back into the position of private. He has left a widow— the daughter of Mr. F. Steward, of Torrensville.


Biography contributed by Evan Evans

From François Berthout

Pte Arthur Leonard Davidson
The Somme, more than a hundred years ago, these lands of France were a hell on earth, a land scarified by kilometers of trenches and barbed wire, soils devastated by shell holes and here, in the mud, millions of men fought, they were young and brave and came to the aid of our country for which they did and gave so much, they brought hope and light in the dark, for their country, for France, they gave their lives and forever we will be grateful to them. Today the poppies grow in the fields, on these soils of the Somme which saw so much pain but also the courage of a whole generation of men who will always be in our greatest care and in our hearts.Behind their graves they still stand proudly as they lived and always side by side, as they served and fought, they rest in peace, sons, brothers, fathers, they came from all over the world and will always be, here, in france, honored and remembered, we will keep their memory and their stories alive so that they continue to live, to bring them back to life, they will never be forgotten and will always be, in my heart, each of them, my heroes, my boys of the Somme.

Today, it is with the greatest gratitude in my heart that I would like to honor the memory of one of these men who fought and fell here.I would like to pay a very respectful tribute to Private number 3597 Arthur Leonard Davidson who fought in the 43rd Australian Infantry Battalion, 3rd Australian Division, and who was killed in action 103 years ago, on April 22, 1918 at the age of 32 on the Somme front.

Arthur Leonard Davidson was born in 1886 in Norwood, South Australia, and was the son of Thomas William and Mary Eleanor Davidson, of Norwood. Arthur was educated at Adelaide High School, South Australia.Early in life evinced an interest in military matters. He was an officer in charge of cadets when the State system was superseded by the Commonwealth control. He served in the Parkside, Rose Park, Marratville and Goodwood Schools as assistant and as head teacher at Delamere and Mount Bryan.While resident at Parkside his energy found an outlet in the Ramblers'Cricket Club, and when in the country, in the establishment or active support of tennis clubs.The literary society and local library had his support, and he rendered good service as a lay preacher in the Methodist Church.Before the outbreak of the war, he married Hilda Amy Davidson and lived in Hardy's Road, Torrensville, South Australia.

Enlisted on February 7, 1917 in Adelaide, South Australia, as Acting Corporal in the 43rd Australian Infantry Battalion, he embarked with his unit from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A16 Port Melbourne on July 15, 1917 and sailed for Liverpool, England,where he was disembarked on September 16, 1917 and the next day, September 17, was sent to Codford for training in the 12th Training Battalion and was reverted to the rank of Private the same day.

After a three month period in England and intensive training, Arthur embarked with his unit from Southampton and proceeded overseas for France on December 18, 1917 and was disembarked at the port of Le Havre the following day, on December 19 then sent to the front. He was taken on strength in the 43rd Australian Infantry Battalion on December 24, 1916 and fought for a brief period of time in Belgium during the Third Battle of Ypres and a few days later, on January 27, 1918, fell ill and was sent to a hospital.

After recovering quickly, Arthur left the hospital and on January 31, 1918, he joined the 43rd Australian Infantry Battalion on the Somme front and fought courageously at Villers Bretonneux to definitively stop the German spring offensive of 1918.

Unfortunately, three months later, on April 22, 1918, two days before the final offensive of the Australian and British army to take the town of Villers Bretonneux from the hands of the German army, Arthur met his fate and was killed in action, he was 32 years old.

Today, Arthur Leonard Davidson rests in peace with his friends, comrades and brothers in arms at the Bonnay Communal Cemetery Extension, Somme, and his grave bears the following inscription "In memory of my husband I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills ".
Arthur, Sir, you who, for your country and for France have done your duty so bravely alongside your brothers in arms of all nationalities and who, in the poppy fields of the Somme, fought and fell, in the shroud of Remembrance through which your memory remains alive and strong,I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart and express to you my gratitude, my respect for who you were and for all that you have done, not only for my country but for all of us who are fortunate today to live in a world at peace, a peace for which you and so many men fought with the greatest bravery in the trenches, on the battlefields of the great war and which, in the mud, in barbed wire and in shells holes, shed their tears and their blood under the fire of the cannons and machine guns which broke brave assaults and mowed down a whole generation of men. With courage, with determination, under the shrill howls of the artillery, deep in the mud, in the cold, living with the rats, the lice, they held their position, they held the line with the deep fear of never seeing the sun rise again and never to see their families and loved ones again, they lived to survive one more day praying every day that this war would end and fought with conviction, the conviction strong and deep in their hearts that their fight was noble because they fought so that this war put an end to all wars.With the greatest bravery, from 1914, united, they disembarked in France, on lands they did not know to fight a battle they made their own and for four years, four years of suffering and pain under the darkness of a world at war, they served gallantly to make peace and freedom triumph, to make their values triumph. Together they shared their commitment, they forged sincere friendships with their French brothers in arms,because from the very worst can be born the very best,this mateship,this fraternity forged an enduring bond between our nations.Together, united in comradeship, side by side, they stood strong and kept their heads high and their hearts strong, their hopes, their dreams of peace and unity were never overwhelmed, were never shattered by the horrors through which they went,and never backed down, never gave up.Together, they showed themselves worthy and made their country proud, they showed, in the face of dangers, in the face of adversity, the union and bravery of a whole generation which moved forward together under rains of bullets and storms of fire which swept the battlefields, the no-man's-land of the Somme. Together, with pride, with the greatest courage, they went towards their destinies alongside their friends, encouraged by unfailing bonds, they followed their brothers, their comrades , their officers, bayonets forward, they gave their all and did more than one man can do for another and together, in the poppies, they fell, they lay down in peace and silence under the rows of their thousands of white graves on which are inscribed more than the names of these men, on their graves we can read and see their stories, the last words of their loved ones that will resonate through days of peace and through eternity.Today, more than ever, the memory of these men who fought and gave their lives will be kept alive and like the poppies that grow between the rows of their graves, their Remembrance will never fade because in our hearts, in us, as in the stone of their graves, they will live forever,and it is with the highest respect, with devotion, with gratitude and love that I would watch over them as a vigilant sentinel so that their memory and their stories, the history of these men, of my boys of the Somme, would never be forgotten.Thank you Arthur,with all my heart.At the going down of the sun and in the morning,we will remember him,we will remember them.