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Edward Davis (1892-)

Bede Scholar served with the Royal Garrison Artillery

Born on 16 August 1892, Edward was the only son of Edward and Elizabeth Davis. Edward senior was an engineer, working both with steam engines and in ship repairing. Elizabeth was the daughter of a miner, originally from Wingate.

Edward grew up in South Shields, attending secondary school in Westoe. At the time of the 1911 census he was living with his parents and his grandfather William Suthern. James was working as an assistant teacher at Laygate Lane School in South Shields. Shortly after the time of the 1911 census, Edward began training to become a teacher at St Bede College in Durham. Edward was a keen sportsman and was part of the rugby, rowing and tennis clubs at college. He was also part of the college’s Smoke Hole Committee. During his time at college, Edward belonged to the 8th Durham Light Infantry Territorials. A photograph shows him taking part in a training camp at Scarborough with the Territorials in 1913.

There is limited information about Edward’s time in the army during the First World War but there is a little information from the Bede Magazine published throughout the war years. In March 1915 he was stationed in Tynemouth with the Royal Garrison Artillery (RGA). He served both with the 186th Siege Battery and 180th Heavy Battery as a second lieutenant.

An article in the April 1919 edition of the Bede Magazine written by Edward in December 1918 describes his time in Macedonia. Despite not taking part in any ‘actual fighting’, Edward talks of the great risk and effects of malaria, rife amongst the troops in Macedonia. The letter mentions Edward’s present work as part of the Horse Battery, educational classes organised by the authorities for the men and the men’s thoughts of their home coming.

The 1939 register shows Edward married to Olive Evelyn Davis, with one child, also called Olive. There is a closed record on the register suggesting the couple had at least one further child. At the time of the register Edward is working as a head teacher at an elementary school. He is volunteering as an Air Raid Precaution [ARP] warden, and also possibly with the auxiliary fire service, along with his daughter, Olive.

A cartoon drawn by Edward appears in a scrapbook belonging to Harry Gordon, a scholar at St Bede at the same time as Edward. The scrapbook contains other pictures, cartoons and poems by scholars at Bede College.

Civil Parish: Durham Elvet

Birth date: 16-Aug-1892

Armed force/civilian: Army

Residence: 124 Elgesfield Road, South Shields (1901 Census)
86 Elgesfield Road, South Shields (1911 Census)
17 Medburn Avenue, Tynemouth (1939 Register)

Education: Westoe Secondary School
St Bede College, Durham 1911-1913

Organisation membership: Bede College Smoke Hole Committee 1912/13
Bede College Rugby Team 1911/12
Bede College Boat Club 1912/13
Bede College Tennis Team 1912/13
Bede College Cricket Team 1912/13

Employment: Assistant Teacher (1911 Census)
Laygate School, South Shields
Head teacher (1939 Register)

Family: Parents: Edward Davis, Elizabeth Davis nee Suthern
Grandfather: William Suthern
Wife: Olive Evelyn Davis
Children: Olive Davis

Military service:

Royal Garrison Artillery
186th Siege Battery
180th Heavy Battery

Gender: Male

Contributed by Fiona Johnson - Durham