Charles Davidson

Information about birth

Date of birth:
Place of birth:
Strathmiglo, Fife, Scotland, United Kingdom

General information

Last known residence:
Haddington, East Lothian, Scotland, United Kingdom

Army information

Scotland, United Kingdom
British Expeditionary Force
Lance Corporal
Service number:
Enlistment date:
Enlistment place:
Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland, United Kingdom
 —  Royal Scots (Lothian Regiment), 13th Bn.  (Last known unit)

Information about death

Date of death:
Place of death:
Beck House, Zonnebeke, Belgium
Cause of death:
Missing in action


Distinctions and medals 2

Points of interest 4

#1 Place of birth
#2 Last known residence
#3 Enlistment place
#4 Place of death (approximate)

My story

Charles Davidson was born on 19 May 1886 in the small town of Strathmiglo, Fife, Scotland. His father was a vicar and he had another brother and two sisters. On 2 June 1905, he married Christine Mckenzie Rhind with whom he had five children. He earned his living as a gardener and the family lived in Haddington, East Lothian in Scotland.

He enlisted in Edinburgh on 18 August 1915, but it would be until August 1916 before he went to the French mainland. There he was assigned to the 13th Battalion Royal Scots (Lothian Regiment), part of the 45th Brigade of the 15th (Scottish) Division. On 1 July 1917, he was promoted to Lance Corporal.

On 31 July 1917, the Third Battle of Ypres began, which would die at Passchendaele with the Battle of Pilckem Ridge. The 15th Division was directly north of the Ypres-Roulers railway line where the slope sloped slightly up to the ridge at 't Hooge where the German positions had a good view of Ypres. The Division's task was to capture the ridge at Frezenberg and further north-east to take the slope known as Hill 35. The attack was launched with the 44th and 46th Brigades after which, on reaching the ridge, the 45th would advance to Hill 35. The 13th Royal Scots were in reserve and would not take part in the fight as long as everything went according to plan.

The attack proceeded with little resistance and by noon the Camerons (the leading battalion of the 45th Brigade) had captured Hill 37 and the Royal Scots had already passed Beck House. But consolidation of the captured area had only just begun when the Germans launched a fierce counterattack. As the British troops threatened to lose the conquered territory, the 13th Royal Scots were sent to Beck House, between the Frezenberg and Hill 35.

The fighting took place under cloudy skies and sometimes in heavy rain. The intention was to relieve the 13th Battalion by the 10th Scottish Rifles on the dark and wet night of 31 July to 1 August, which proved impossible due to the heavy shelling. The relief was postponed. Most casualties occurred at Beck House, where the battalion was almost completely surrounded by German troops on the evening of 1 August 1917.

It was after this fighting that Corporal Charles Davidson, 31, was reported missing. He has no known grave and is commemorated at the Menin Gate in Ypres on panel 11.

Files 1

Sources 7

13 Royal Scots (Lothian Regiment (The National Archives, Kew (TNA) WO 95/1946/4).
Sources used
British Army World War I Medal Rolls Index Cards, 1914-1920 (The National Archives, Kew (TNA), WO 372).
Sources used
Ewing J., The Royal Scots 1914-1919 (Edinburg, Oliver and Boyd, Tweeddale Court, 1925) 447-453.
Sources used
McCarthy Chris, Passchendaele. The Day-by-Day Account (London, Unicorn Publishing Group, 2018), 28.
Sources used
Soldier' Effects Records (Nationa Army Museum, Chelsea (NAM) 1901-60; NAM Accession Number: 1991-02-333).
Sources used
UK, World War I Service Medal and Awards Rolls, 1914-1920(The National Archives, Kew (TNA), WO 329).
Sources used
War Office: Soldiers’ Documents, First World War (The National Archives, Kew (TNA), WO 363).
Sources used

More information 3