Davidson, Charles Alexander

I found Charles Alexander Davidson when I added “Saltney” to the search field on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website, and the additional information – Son of Charles and Hannah Davidson, of Saltney, Flintshire, came up.   The citation also gave the personal inscription from his family – ALWAYS LOVING, THOUGHTFUL AND KIND, A BEAUTIFUL MEMORY LEFT BEHIND.   I do not think he is on any memorial and he must be remembered.

Charles Alexander Davidson was born in the March quarter of 1919, and I believe, the second son of Charles & Annie DAVIDSON (nee Griffiths) who had married on the 9th June 1909 at St. Oswald Parish Church, Chester:-

Page 106 No. 212 9th June 1909 Charles DAVIDSON, 27, Bachelor, Painter, 2, Victoria Road, Saltney, Alexander DAVIDSON, (deceased), Cooper & Annie GRIFFITHS, 23, Spinster,4, Gorse Stacks, Alfred GRIFFITHS, County Court Bailiff. (After Banns). – Witnesses:- William DAVIDSON & Beatrice SANDERS.

The 1911 census sees Charles & Annie Davison living at 35, Curzon Street, Saltney, Flintshire, the head of the household was Charles Davidson, 29, a Painter (Sheet Room G.W. Railway) and born in Saltney, Flintshire.   Annie Davidson, 25 had been born in Chester.   They tell us that they had been married 1 and ½ years, 1 child had been born to them, and was still living.   The child was Bessie, age 9 months and had been born in Saltney.   Also on this census was Annies’ parents and siblings.  Annie’s father, Alfred Griffiths, 50, a General Labourer, her mother, Elizabeth Griffiths, 48, also tells us that they had been married 28 years and 16 children had been born to them, but very sadly 11 of those children had died by 1911.

Annie’s siblings were, Alfred Griffiths, 18, single and a House Painter, Amy Griffiths, 17, single and a Factory Hand, Albert Griffiths, 9 and Charles Griffiths, 3 and they had all been born in Chester.

I have no information about Charles Alexander’s early and teenage years, except what was written in the Cheshire Observer, Saturday 15th March 1941 and the Chester Chronicle, Saturday, 15th March 1941.   These sources gives us an insight into a little of his life, in that he was educated at Wood Street Memorial School and he was a member of the Christ Church Sunday School (Curzon Street) and Young People’s Club.   Then on leaving school he was employed by Messrs Williams & Gamon#, then later by Messrs P.L. Brookbank, Wine Merchants.*

* shows a photograph of where Charles Alexander worked when he left school, when he was employed with P.L. Brookbank Wine Merchants.


Williams, Gamon & Co., (Kaleyards) Ltd., Casement makers, electrical engineers,

leaded light manufacturers – Kaleyard works.  Showrooms – 26 Upper Northgate St.

The company certainly continued up to the time of WW2 but little is known of its later

history although it is possible that it may have ceased trading in 1947 when Geoffrey

Gamon died, aged 70.

On the 29th September 1939, the National Register was taken and Charles Alexander is seen on this and this source also gives his date of birth and his occupation, along with the details of others in the family household.

They were still living at 35 Curzon Street, Chester, and Charles Davidson had been born on the 27th April 1882 and was Engaged On Fertiliser Manufacture & Dispatch, Annie Davidson (now using her proper name of Hannah) had been born on the 7th November 1885 and as most married women on this Register are described, if they do not have a job, was doing “Unpaid Domestic Duties.”   Winifred M. Davidson had been born on the 11th May 1914 and was described as “Incapacitated.”  Arthur Davidson had been born on the 2nd October 1916, was single and a Tractor Driver Iron & Steel Worker.   Charles A. Davidson had been born on the 17th February 1919, was single and a Wine Merchant Storeman,* while Annie Davidson had been born on the 10th September 1921,was single and a Packer of Shoe Accessories.    There was a Closed or redacted record, but I don not know who that was.   Annie was to eventually marry a George A. Charmley in the June quarter of 1941.

* shows a photograph of where Charles Alexander worked when he left school, when he was employed with P.L. Brookbank Wine Merchants.

Again the newspaper cuttings add to Charles Alexander’s story,they tell us that he enlisted in October 1939, just after the National Register was taken.

He was to find himself in the 2nd Bn. Gloucestershire Regiment, but I don’t know when exactly, but by early 1940, he was in France.

Excerpt from the website –

The 2nd and 5th Battalions both fought in the Battle of France and, after being lost almost in its entirety during the Battle of Dunkirk, the re-formed 2nd Battalion landed at Gold Beach on D-Day and fought in the Allied campaign in North-West Europe.

See also –

The Battle of France (French: bataille de France) [10 May – 25 June 1940] also known as the Western Campaign (Westfeldzug) the French Campaign, (German: Frankreichfeldzug, campagne de France) and the Fall of France, was the German invasion of France, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands during the Second World War. On 3 September 1939, France had declared war on Germany, following the German invasion of Poland. In early September 1939, France began the limited Saar Offensive and by mid-October had withdrawn to their start lines. German armies invaded Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands on 10 May 1940.  Italy entered the war on 10 June and attempted an invasion of France. France and the Low Countries were conquered, ending land operations on the Western Front until the Normandy landings on 6 June 1944.

In Fall Gelb (“Case Yellow”), German armoured units made a surprise push through the Ardennes and then along the Somme valley, cutting off and surrounding the Allied units that had advanced into Belgium to meet the German armies there. British, Belgian and French forces were pushed back to the sea by the Germans and the British and French navies evacuated the encircled elements of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) and the French and Belgian armies from Dunkirk in Operation Dynamo.

German forces began Fall Rot (“Case Red”) on 5 June 1940. The sixty remaining French divisions and the two British divisions in France made a determined stand on the Somme and Aisne but were defeated by the German combination of air superiority and armoured mobility. German armies outflanked the intact Maginot Line and pushed deep into France, occupying Paris unopposed on 14 June. After the flight of the French government and the collapse of the French Army, German commanders met with French officials on 18 June to negotiate an end to hostilities.

The posting below of the War Diary by Drew5233, tells the awful battle on the 27th May, 1940 when Charles was Killed.

The Glorious Glosters , Cassell 1940

Posted by one of the Forum members – Drew5233         

     The 2nd Battalion was withdrawn from Escault 23rd May and reached Cassel on May 25th. They were to hold the western half of the town with the 1st Buckinghamshires holding the eastern half. Some platoons were sent to hold important positions, the most notable being a partly built blobkhouse on the Dunkirk road held by No.8 platoon under 2nd Lieut. R.W. Cresswell. 27th May ‘A’ Company commanded by Major W.H. Percy-Hardman, went to Zuytpene village, which covered the approaches to Cassel from the west. Their orders were simple. They were to hold the line at all costs to allow the B.E.F. to be evacuated from Dunkirk.

    25th May – fairly quiet day. Battalion worked on improving defences.

    26th May – German patrols probe towards Cassel and driven off.

    27th May – Cassel was attacked in strength from three directions. ‘D’ Company (Captain A.P. Cholmondley) in the South West corner of the town, was heavily attacked. ‘C’ Company (Captain E.H. Lynn Allen) fought off a strong infantry assault.

    At 0800 Zuytpene was assaulted from the air and then tanks and infantry. The position was soon surrounded. ‘A’ Company fought from house to house, withdrawing to the centre of the village. By 1800 the position was desperate. The survivors had gathered in one building. When the Germans got into the garden and were able to throw grenades into the house Percy-Hardman ordered his men to surrender.

    At 1800 the attack began on the blockhouse held by No.8 platoon. They were immediately cut off. Without rations and the blockhouse on fire they held out for 4 days. Finally on 30th May, with the Germans on the roof Cresswell ordered his men to break out and try to reach Dunkirk. But escape was hopeless and the survivors were captured. Both Percy-Hardman and Cresswell received the Military Cross.

    Quartermaster Captain R.E.D. Brasington got through to Cassel with the last supplies. He was then ordered to take the transports to Dunkirk. He was later awarded the M.C.

    28th May – Shelling and mortaring of Cassel. ‘B’ Company (Captain H.C. Wilson) attacked from the rear, but attack was repulsed.

    29th May – more attacks, mostly on ‘B’ Company. All were driven off. That afternoon a message came through that the defenders were to begin withdrawing to Dunkirk. But Cassel was totally surrounded and very few men escaped to Dunkirk.

    Around 100 men of the 2nd Glosters made it home. 5 officers and 132 men were dead. 472 taken prisoner.

    The Battalion won a CBE (Brigadier Somerset), DSO (Colonel Gilmore), and Military Crosses to Captain Lynn Allen and Major C. campbell, a DCM and 11 MM’s.   

 Drew5233, Jan 2, 2009Many thanks to Drew5233 and

Casualty List (Page 17) gives the list of men missing on the 14th June 1940, including Charles Alexander.

Casualty List 484 (Copy No. 74) “Died” previously shown on Casualty List No. 236 as Missing.

Casualty List (Page. 16) tells us that on List 484 Charles Alexander was listed as “Died,” – Date not reported, which should read Charles Alexander had been Killed in Action between the 10th May and the 23rd June 1940.

Casualty List (Page 18) tells us that “Casualties to the following Soldiers whose names appeared on previous lists with date of casualty incorrectly reported occurred on dates now shown.”   Charles Alexander was among those named, telling us that he was Killed in Action on the 27th May 1940.  Among those listed were man who died between 13th May 1944 and the 11th September 1945, so the Army were still searching to make sure that these men were correctly identified as a casualty up to and past 1945, although they had died many years previously, such was the Army’s devotion.

The Cheshire Observer, dated the 15th March 1941 noted that Charles Alexander had been posted missing on the 13th June 1940, so his parents and family had to suffer 9 months of uncertainty before they were told the awful news.

Hannah Davidson died in the June quarter of 1971(Chester Vol. 10a Page 549), so would have been alive to suffer the loss of her son and her husband, Charles, who preceded her in the September quarter of 1963 (Chester Vol.  10a Page 142).

Charles Alexander Davidson must be remembered for his sacrifice for our freedom.

Back to top