Emmanuel Davidson (c.1895-1916)

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This page is part of a project by David Verguson to research the lives of those who appear on war memorials and rolls of honour in the Lindley area.

Biography

Emmanuel Davidson, who is remembered at the Salendine Nook Baptist Church, was the adopted son of John Davidson, a woolsorter, and his wife Eliza, who in 1911 lived at Holywell Green. At first glance it seems that Emmanuel was not a native of Huddersfield and it is therefore not surprising that he does not feature in Margaret Stansfield's Huddersfield's Roll of Honour 1914-1922.

While Joe was born in Stainland and his wife in Harrogate, Emmanuel's birthplace is given as Swansea. It is not clear if "Davidson" is Emmanuel's birth name or if he acquired it on adoption; Davidson is, however, a Welsh surname which might suggest that Joe was in some way related to Emmanuel before adoption.

However, Emmanuel emigrated to Canada in May 1914, sailing from Liverpool to Montreal on the White Star ship, The Dominion. On the passenger list he was described as a farmer; in the 1911 census the fifteen-year-old Emmanuel was said to be a "worsted frame doffer".

Emmanuel enlisted in the Canadian army on 29 August 1914, very soon after the outbreak of war. He gives his birthday as 6 January 1895. His medical, completed at the army base at Valcartier, some 25 kms from Quebec City, shows to have been 5' 6½" tall with a 38½" chest. He was "golden" haired, with blue eyes and a "fair" complexion. (Almost exactly one month later, Reginald Walker, of Lindley, enlisted at the same army base.)

For his next-of-kin, Emmanuel names "Lillis Davidson, Lamsden St, Huddersfield". Allowing for misspelling or poor transcription this presumably means Ramsden Street. Equally "Lillis" could refer to Eliza Davidson. John Davidson died in the summer of 1913 so it seems possible that his widow then moved to Huddersfield.

After initial training, Emmanuel served with the 13th Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force, the Quebec Regiment. This battalion was formed from the Royal Highlanders (The Black Watch) and other militia units.[1]

The battalion was part of the First Contingent which arrived in England in September 1914 but it seems likely that Emmanuel, whose medical forms were not completed until late September arrived with a later draft of men. As part of the 1st Canadian Division, the battalion first arrived at the Front in April 1915.[2]

The regiment was serving in the Ypres area when Emmanuel was killed, barely eleven months after arriving in Belgium. He was twenty-one years old. As well as being remembered at Salendine Nook, Emmanuel is named on the Jagger Green Baptist Sunday School War Memorial, which also features three other men remembered at Salendine Nook, including Horace Wheater who lived a few doors from Emmanuel at Holywell Green and who was the same age and who was himself, fostered. It seems likely that the two boys were friends.

Notes and References

  1. Emmanuel's induction form says he had served with the militia but fails to give details; it may have been a device to direct him to the 13th Battalion; it also says he answered "yes" to having served in the military. At age only 22, he seems too young for this to have been the case.
  2. At about the same time that many Lindley men, serving with the Duke of Wellington's, landed in France.