No. 139, 18th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles
Died of disease on Monday 18 October 1915 (aged 30)
Donaghadee Parish Church of Ireland Graveyard (Plot 1055)
Donaghadee and District War Memorial
Family grave headstone in Donaghadee Parish Church of Ireland Graveyard
In some records his surname is spelt Davison.
Thomas Davidson was born on 9 October 1885 in Donaghadee and he was a son of John and Jane Davidson (nee Bunting) who were married on 20 January 1885 in St Anne’s Church of Ireland Church Belfast. John Davidson (aged 22), a sailor from 156 Corporation Street, Belfast was a son of David Davidson, a fisherman. Jane Bunting (aged 21) was a daughter of Thomas Bunting, a horse dealer.
The Davidson family lived in Donaghadee at 19 Back Street, then 3 Meetinghouse Street and then 8 Saltwork Street.
John Davidson was a seaman and fish dealer and he and Jane had at least eleven children including:
Thomas (born 9 October 1885 in Shore Street, Donaghadee)
Jane (born 9 August 1888 in Meetinghouse Street, Donaghadee)
David (born 21 September 1890 in Union Street, Donaghadee)
Ellen (born 9 November 1892 in Union Street, Donaghadee; died 22 February
John (born 27 December 1894 in Union Street, Donaghadee; died of marasmus 22 July 1896)
Agnes (born 18 January 1897 in Union Street, Donaghadee; died 4 September 1922 aged 25)
John (born 23 December 1898 in Union Street, Donaghadee)
Adelaide (born 19 May 1901 in Back Street, Donaghadee)
Martha (born 20 August 1904 in Harmony Place, Donaghadee; died 5 September 1970)
Matilda (born 13 July 1906 in Saltwork Street, Donaghadee; died 23 July 1922 aged 16)
Thomas Davidson was baptised in Donaghadee Methodist Church.
Their mother Jane died on 21 December 1926 (aged 64) and their father John died on 3 November 1933 (aged 69).
Prior to the outbreak of the Great War Thomas Davidson worked as a tramway conductor in Belfast and he and Agnes Rubina Martin, who was born in County Monaghan, were married on 29 April 1908 in St Mark’s Parish Church of Ireland Church Dundela. Agnes Rubina Martin (aged 21), a servant, was a daughter of William Martin.
Thomas and Agnes Davidson (nee Martin) lived in Ribble Street, Belfast and they had at least three children:
Ellen (born 5 May 1909 in Castleview Road, Belfast)
Unnamed male child (born 20 July 1911 at 38 Ribble Street, Belfast)
Agnes Robina (born 8 August 1912 at 38 Ribble Street, Belfast)
Thomas Davidson enlisted and during the First World War he served with the 18th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles. After a prolonged illness Rifleman Thomas Davidson was discharged from the Army on ill health grounds.
Thomas Davidson was 30 when he died of acute laryngeal tuberculosis on 18 October 1915 in the Workhouse Infirmary, Newtownards. His brothers, David and John, were also on active service. John served with the Royal Engineers and David served with the Canadian Infantry. While his Regiment was undergoing training in England David was granted a short period of home leave. He arrived home in Donaghadee on 18 October 1915, the day that Thomas died. Later in the war David was very severely wounded and returned to Canada.
It was reported in the Newtownards Chronicle that Thomas Davidson had left ‘a widow and several young children’. His funeral took place on 20 October 1915 and it was conducted by the Rev M.H.G. Willis MA, Rector of Donaghadee Parish Church of Ireland Church.
Thomas’s surname is spelt Davidson in newspaper reports, in his own 1911 census return and on the family grave headstone. In the 1901 and 1911 census returns for John, Jane and their children the surname is spelt Davison.
Rifleman Thomas Davidson is commemorated on Donaghadee and District War Memorial and on the family grave headstone in Donaghadee Parish Church of Ireland Graveyard.