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DanI'm making a guess here, but I think the PPCLI CSM receiving the decoration is WD Davidson receiving his Military Medal. All of I've been able to find out about him is that he was a sergeant when the action took place for which the award was given. That, and he was from Texas.
He died on May 25, 1944, two days after the disastrous PPCLI attack during the Liri Valley campaign. He may have died of wounds received during the attack.
I have no idea of the name of the officer in plus-fours giving out the decoration. Looking at the hem of his tunic, his tailor should be shot.
The guy on the left with the walrus mustache is Chris Vokes, GOC of the 1st Infantry Division at the time of the investiture.
Sir Oliver Leese was ex-Guards (Grenadier, I think) and was later Slim's Commanding Officer for a while in India/Burma. In the most recent biography of Slim it mentions Leese wearing plus fours. Apparently he was a real martinet. He and Slim had a falling out resulting in Slim's resignation (although he was reinstated later).The "hired help" awarding the medal is Sir Oliver Leese,was to succeed Montgomery as Eighth Army commander as Montgomery was to return to the UK in January 1944 to prepare for the Allied invasion of Normandy. Leese commanded the Eighth Army at the fourth and final Battle of Monte Cassino in May 1944.
If I'mm mistaken,the type of pants he's wearing were called "plus-four" and were very popular in the early 30s....
CSM Davidson has a lake named in his honour located in Alberta, Wood Buffalo National Park
I have his service file from Archives, if you require more info
Where can I look at the photo?
I have been working on a family history for my grandchildren and have been reviewing the Davidson family. William David Davidson was a first cousin to the grandmother of my daughter-in-law. I am wondering if you happen to have a copy of this photo that I can add to the his story as I put together a narrative about the Davidson family. If not I will try to pursue it through other avenues. Although the information is correct related to his mother being in Denton, Texas, he was a Canadian and the family had lived in the New Westminster area of BC prior to his father's death in 1942.DAVIDSON, William David, Sergeant (Acting Warrant Officer Class II, Company Sergeant-Major) (P.21454 - Military Medal (Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry) - Infantry - awarded as per Canada Gazette dated 18 March 1944 and CARO/4296 dated 1 April 1944, "in recognition of gallant and distinguished services in Italy". Action for immediate award initiated by Lieutenant-Colonel C.B. Ware, Commanding Officer, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry; approved by Lieutenant-Colonel J.C. Jefferson, Temporary Commander, 2 Canadian Infantry Brigade on 10 January 1944 and passed forward on 11 January 1944; approved by Major-General Chris Vokes, General Officer Commanding, 1 Canadian Division on 12 June 1944 and passed forward on 16 June 1944; approved by Lieutenant-General C.W. Allfrey, Commander, 5 British Corps on 17 January 1944 and passed forward on 19 January 1944; approved by Lieutenant-General O.W.L. Leese, General Officer Commanding, Eighth Army on 21 January 1944 and passed forward on 25 January 1944; approved by General H.R. Alexander, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, 15 Army Group on 26 January 1944 and passed for action on 1 March 1944.
On 6 December 1943, the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry attacked and captured the town of Val Roatti (Map Reference 320097). On consolidation, "B" Company was allotted the defense of the north-east corner of the town.
10 Platoon was in a forward position on the right flank. Company Headquarters was approximately 150 yards to the rear of 10 Platoon and the only approach was by a narrow open unhedged track. At 1345 hours the enemy attacked this position with tanks. Due to this and previous fighting, 10 Platoon's supply of ammunition was almost exhausted. Knowing this, Company Sergeant-Major Davidson, carrying all available .303 bandoliers, ran down the track to 10 Platoon's position. At that time the track was under fire from three tanks and direct machine gun and rifle fire about 100 yards distant. In addition the track was under heavy mortar fire. Having delivered his ammunition and realizing that further supplies were essential, Company Sergeant-Major Davidson made his way back over the same route and to another company area for more ammunition. With another load of .303 bandoliers, he made his way back to 10 Platoon's area again by the same route and subject to the same fire. By bringing this ammunition forward Company Sergeant-Major Davidson enabled 10 Platoon to hold its position which was vital in the plan of Battalion defence. Company Sergeant-Major Davidson, in exposing himself to the very heavy enemy fire, showed an utter disregard for personal safety and displayed an infectious coolness which encouraged all who saw him.
CSM Davidson was killed in action on 25/05/44 and he is buried at the Cassino War Cemetery.Son of William Davidson, and of Emily Kate Netterville Davidson, of Denton, Texas, U.S.A.