Diamond War Memorial Project

Private William Maurice Davin

47th Battalion Canadian Infantry (Western Ontario Regiment) Regimental Number 629592
Born: ---- Died: ---- Aged: 24 Enlisted: ------

Name recorded on St Augustine's Church (Church of Ireland), Londonderry, First World War Memorial, and listed on Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, Belgium. Name also commemorated on the Diamond War Memorial.

Third son of George and Elizabeth Davin, 21, Aubrey Street, and Grove Place, Londonderry. Brother of Frederick Davin, Fahan; Arthur J. Davin, Northland Road, Londonderry; Mrs Hugh McLaughlin, Ottawa, Canada; and Mrs Mary Dunlop, Taunton, Somerset, England.

William Davin went to Canada some time before the outbreak of war. When the call came he joined up immediately, and from that time until his death he witnessed extensive active service. He was wounded in two places by shell splinters on November 10, 1916, and on returning to duty at the Front escaped with a slight wound through the bullet being diverted by his cigarette case.

Deceased's father received a letter from Private W. E. Wiltshire, of the Canadians, informing him of the death in action of his son ? 'It is with the deepest regret that I pen these few lines, telling you what little I am able regarding the death of your son William, who fell so nobly in action during a recent engagement by our battalion. As he was one of my greatest pals, I feel that what is your loss is also mine. Billy was not in the same company as I am, so it was not until we had returned to billets that I became known of the sad news. I then learned from a corporal who was near him at the time that William had been struck in the head by a piece of flying shrapnel, death resulting immediately, so he suffered no pain. Later he was buried by comrades on the battlefield. Billy was one of the finest boys I have ever met, a good soldier, always willing to do his share, and fearing nothing. He died the noblest death possible, fighting for his country in the name of freedom.'

Private William Maurice Davin's father, George Davin, founded the firm of Messrs. George Davin & Sons, Ltd., fancy box manufacturers, Aubrey Street, Londonderry, in 1882. A man of great business ability, the industry under his direction flourished rapidly. He was a generous subscriber to the funds of St Augustine's church, even after he retired and went to live in England, where he passed away, around October 1933, at St James Road, New Brighton, Cheshire.

William Davin's brother, Second Class Air Mechanic Fred G. Davin, Royal Flying Corps, who was wounded in both thighs during aerial operations on the Western Front in 1917, was amongst names submitted by Sir Douglas Haig in his despatch as deserving of special mention. Fred Davin had also been in Canada at the outbreak of hostilities, crossed to Londonderry and joined the North Irish Horse. He subsequently transferred to the Royal Flying Corps. Another brother, Arthur J. Davin, went out to France with the 10th Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers (Derry Volunteers) shortly after the outbreak of war. In the fighting in May 1916, he was wounded and taken prisoner. Shortly after the signing of the Armistice he was released.

Another brother of William Maurice Davin, Thomas Davin, was the husband of Georgina, sister of Mr C. D. Milligan, former editor of the Londonderry Sentinel. Thomas was from his boyhood days associated with the factory his father established, and, on his father's retirement from business, accepted the responsibility of its management, and afterwards went into partnership with his two brothers. He was a member of the Masonic Order, and took an interest in local sporting associations, particularly Derry City Football Club. He was also interested in gardening, especially in the growing of roses, in the art of which he was an authority. Thomas Davin died at his residence, 34, Limavady Road, Londonderry, on January 8, 1957, at the age of seventy-five.

The name of William Maurice Davin was read out at a memorial service, held in St Augustine's (Church of Ireland) Church at the end of December 1917, in remembrance of ten members of the congregation who had fallen in the Great War and others who had officially been reported as missing.

George Davin, 21, Aubrey Street, signed the 1912 Ulster Covenant pledging resistance to Home Rule for Ireland.