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  • Photograph first published in the Retford Times newspaper following Horace's death.
Person Details
Retford Nottinghamshire
Horace was born in 1895 the son of Charles a railway engine driver and Annie Davison. Charles and Annie had ten children and nine survived until 1911. In 1901, they lived at 39 West Street, Retford with eight of their children. By 1911, the family Charles and Annie were living with five of their children at 52 Albert Road, Retford.
He attended Retford Grammar School
13 Aug 1915
682645 - CWGC Website
Enlisted Manchester
Royal Army Medical Corps
Horace enlisted at Manchester and served with the 2nd/1st East Lancashire Field Ambulance. He died at sea en-route to Gallipoli on 13th August 1915 when the transport 'Royal Edward' was sunk. His body was not recovered for burial and he is commemorated on the Helles Memorial, Gallipoli. On 28 July 1915, Royal Edward embarked 1,367 officers and men at Avonmouth. The majority were reinforcements for the British 29th Infantry Division, but also included were members of the Royal Army Medical Corps. All of the men were destined for Gallipoli. Royal Edward was reported off the Lizard on the evening of the 28th, and had arrived at Alexandria on 10 August, a day after sister ship Royal George which had departed from Devonport. Royal Edward departed Alexandria for the harbour of Moudros on the island of Lemnos, a staging point for the ships in the Dardanelles. On the morning of 13 August, Royal Edward passed the British hospital ship Soudan, which was headed in the opposite direction. Oberleutnant zur See Heino von Heimburg on the German submarine UB-14 was off the island of Kandeloussa and saw both ships. Von Heimburg, seeing the properly identified hospital ship, allowed Soudan to pass unmolested, but soon focused his attention on the unescorted Royal Edward some 6 nautical miles (11 km) off Kandeloussa. Von Heimburg launched one of UB-14's two torpedoes from a about a mile (2 km) away and hit Royal Edward in the stern. The ship sank by the stern within six minutes. Royal Edward's crew was able to get off an SOS before losing power. Soudan, after making a 180° turn, arrived on the scene at 10:00 and was able to rescue 440 men over the next six hours. Two French destroyers and some trawlers that responded were able to rescue another 221. According to authors James Wise and Scott Baron, Royal Edward's death toll was 935 and was as high as it was, they contend, because Royal Edward had just completed a boat drill and the majority of the men were belowdecks re-stowing their equipment. Some other sources report different numbers of casualties, ranging from 132 on the low end, to 1,386, or 1,865 on the upper end.
Pte Horace Davison Retford Times 3 September 1915 Deep sympathy is felt for Mr and Mrs Davison of Albert Road, Retford, of the 2nd/1st East Lancs, Field Ambulance, is reported by the War Office as “missing, feared drowned in consequence of the loss of the Royal Edward, 13/8/15.” A letter of sympathy has been received from some of the officers, and it is also signed by his surviving comrades. It runs:- “We have received a letter from Leiut Cockcroft, the surviving officer in charge of our men on the Royal Edward. He encloses a list of those who are saved and we are sincerely sorry to see that your son is missing. We feel that we would like to offer you our sincere and heartfelt sympathy. It has always been the boast of this ambulance that the members were united not merely by ties of association but by firmer bonds of comradeship and true friendship. We, who had the knowing and appreciating Pte Davison feel that his death would leave a gap which we could never fill. The consolation remains that such a death at the post of duty is the highest sacrifice of the true patriot.” Mr E Lidster, headmaster of the National School, where deceased was formerly a teacher has written the following letter to Mr and Mrs Davison, “ Mrs Davison, I am grieved to hear the sad news of your bereavement. I can hardly realise that poor Horace will not return amongst us for I have looked forward to his coming back to help me. Another young bright life sacrificed in this awful war! Few indeed will be the homes where sorrow will not be found. You have the sincere sympathy of myself self my staff and we will trust you find comfort in the fact that the boy was a thorough English lad, and that he nobly answered the call of duty. I little thought a few weeks ago that it was to be the last meeting.” The gallant young man enlisted last December and was only 20 years of age. He was a member of the East Retford Church choir.'
Remembered on


  • Photograph first published in the Retford Times newspaper following Horace's death.
    Horace Davison - Photograph first published in the Retford Times newspaper following Horace's death.