Davidson, James

Personal Information

Rank Sgt
Forname(s) James
Surname Davidson
Gender M
Age 24
Date of Death 30-06-1944
Next of Kin Son of John and Cathrine Davidson. Husband of Margaret Davidson, of Dalmellington, Ayrshire.

Aircraft Information

Aircraft Avro Lancaster III
Serial Number LM514
Markings PH-Q

Memorial Information

Burial/Memorial Country France
Burial/Memorial Place Choloy War Cemetery
Grave Reference 1A. C. 13.

IBCC Memorial Information

Phase 1
Panel Number 27

Enlistment Information

Service Number 1003978
Service Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Group 1
Squadron 12
Trade Air Gunner
Country of Origin United Kingdom

Miscellaneous Information

From MI9 report by F/S Albert Ernest John Townsend from the same crew as Sgt Davidson: "We were engaged on sabotage works and the collection of arms from supplies dropped by British aircraft. After 7th June 1944 we began local action against German troops. About this time Sgt Davison [sic] RAF was fatally wounded in an accident when a Frenchman was cleaning his rifle. He was taken to hospital in Troyes and died the next day".
Bill Viollet's account: "We were sitting round a fire late afternoon when a French lad whose name I do not remember came up behind Davison [sic] and put his rifle up against his back and to scare him, pulled the trigger. The bullet came out through his groin and I sat by him holding my first aid pad over the wound and pressing to stop the bleeding. Somebody ran to the village to get a doctor who came out to the edge of the forest. Sgt Davison was taken to hospital where he died. An accident, but a very silly one. The youngsters had had no training with guns, they seemed to think they were playthings!"

Fellow Servicemen

Last Operation Information

Start Date 1944-05-03 00:00:00
End Date 1944-05-04 00:00:00
Takeoff Station Wickenby
Day/Night Raid Night
Operation Mailly-le-Camp
Reason for Loss Shot down by a night-fighter moments after leaving the target area, crashing at la Belle Idee on the main road leading to Troyes. All of the crew survived the crash- one being captured immediately and the remainder evaded capture with the assistance of locals, Sgt Davidson having bailed out. He was accidentally shot on 26th May by a French resistance fighter while hiding at the Hotel Dieu de Troyes. The bullet exited his groin, having fractured his pelvis. His wounds were initially tended by Bill Viollet before being transferred to hospital, where he later died.

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Casualty Pack

IBCC is delighted to introduce a unique facility to link the Losses Database to the relevant RAF Casualty Pack on the National Archives website. This project is the result of on-going collaboration between IBCC, the MOD Records Office and National Archives, Kew. This document describes what Casualty Packs are, when they were created, the process of making them available to the public and then goes on to describe the process by which you can view the contents of the packs. Casualty Packs (CPs) were created by the RAF whenever there was serious injury or loss of life associated with operational activity within the RAF. This includes operational flying losses, enemy action due to air raids, road accidents either on station or even off-station if they involved RAF vehicles. Deaths due to natural causes in service or accidents that did not involve RAF vehicles did not generally give rise to a CP.

CPs were originally given a unique reference number by the RAF. Each begins with the letter ‘P’ and is followed by six digits, then an oblique (forward slash) and the finally the year in which the incident took place- for example P396154/42.

The CPs are in the process of being made available to the general public as they are passed from the MOD Records Office, Portsmouth to National Archives, Kew. This process requires some rework to the files which is very time consuming, so the process of making them all available to National Archives will take several years. They are being made available in increasing date order.

Once CPs arrive at National Archives they are assigned a unique AIR81 number, so each CP has both a P-number and an AIR81 number. Both are searchable on the National Archives website under ‘Search the catalogue’ and both are included on the IBCC website.

The AIR81 reference on the IBCC website is a link to the file on the National Archives website. When you click on it, the relevant page will open in a new tab on your browser.

There is currently no plan to digitise AIR81 files, partly because they are fragile and partly because the information they contain can at times be sensitive, even harrowing, since they may contain exhumation reports and even photographs of corpses. Family members wishing to read the AIR81 files relating to their ancestors are advised to exercise caution and be guided by National Archives warnings where appropriate.

There are two means for accessing AIR81 files- to attend in person or to order a copy by post.

To attend in person, the attendee should first create a Reader’s Ticket. This can be done online by following this link: https://secure.nationalarchives.gov.uk/login/yourdetails. Then click on the AIR81 reference on the IBCC website and click Order in Advance. Enter your Reader’s Ticket number and state the date on which you intend to visit. National Archives will have the file ready for you when you arrive, saving you time. When you visit Kew, you must quote the Reader’s Ticket number and take along two forms of ID- one bearing your signature and one bearing your address. When you view the files, you are permitted to take photographs of each page, should you wish.

Alternatively, if you wish to order a copy by post, please be aware that there is a charge for this service based on the number of pages in the file. Click on the AIR81 reference on the IBCC website and then click Request a Copy. There is an £8.40 charge for National Archives staff to access the file and give you a quotation for the copying service. The process takes around 24 days to complete and can be expensive.

IBCC wishes to thank the staff at the MOD Records Office and National Archives for their engagement and assistance in making this facility available to our website users.