Davenport family

 

Two men on St Saviour’s Roll of Honour have the surname Davenport.  They were brothers, Frederick Howard Davenport and James Edmund Davenport.  Their father was Jacob Davenport (b. 1869 in Prestwich), a railway signalman.  Their mother was Mary Jane Robinson (b. 1866 in Preston).  In 1891, Jacob was living as a boarder in Moss Street, Lostock Hall and was working at the railway sheds in the village.  Mary Jane was living at Holly House, next door to the Hospital Inn on Brindle Road.  The couple were married at All Saints Parish Church, Higher Walton, in 1892 and they had three children: Frederick Howard was born later that year, then they had twins James Edmund and Eleanor Emily in 1895.  Jacob then disappears from the Census records.  In 1901 and 1911, Mary Jane is shown as ‘married’ not ‘widowed’ so Jacob is still alive but he is not living with the family.  By 1911, Mary Jane and her three children had moved to Bamber Bridge, where they lived at 7 Withy Place.  Frederick was working as a cotton weaver; James was a bobbin carrier in a spinning shed.

 

244251 PTE. F. H. DAVENPORT.  R.F.A.

 

Fred served in the Territorials before the War.  His attestation papers have survived and they show that he enlisted in January 1909 in the 2nd West Lancs Brigade of the Royal Field Artillery, and was assigned service number 567.  He served his four years and at the end signed up again in 1913 for a further four years in the Reserve.  Other men from the area with his pre-war experience were posted to 276 Brigade and landed in France in September 1915 with 55th Division.  But Fred’s later service number, 244251, and his medal card, show he did not follow this pattern.  In fact, it seems he was called up from the reserve in September 1917 and posted to 223 Brigade.  There is a hospital record showing that he was admitted to, and discharged from hospital in July 1918, suffering from influenza and at that time he was with 223Bde.  223Bde formed part of the artillery attached to 63rd (Royal Navy) Division.  If Fred joined them in September 1917, he was thrown in the deep end, as within a few weeks his division was engaged in the Second Battle of Passchendaele, and having endured that, they were engaged again at Cambrai at the end of December.  In 1918, they were engaged from 21-25 March in the opening phase of the German Spring Offensive and then they fought throughout the 100 Days right up to the final days of the advance in Picardy on 5-7 November.  The Division was demobilised in France by April 1919.

 

Fred had married in 1916 to Elizabeth Whittle (b. 1889 in Bamber Bridge), and after the War they had five children but I only know the names of two: Edward (b. 1920) and John (b. 1923).  Elizabeth died in 1933 and the following year, Fred married Augusta Collette De Witte (b. 1894 in Antwerp, Belgium).  Augusta was previously married to Thomas Snape (1897-1929).  So in 1939, Fred and Augusta were living at 76 Todd Lane and Fred was a railway guard with the LMS Railway.  He died in 1977.

 

2nd LT. J. E. DAVENPORT. L.N.LAN.R.

 

James Edmond Davenport also served in the Territorials before the War, but he was in the infantry.  He joined the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment and was assigned service number 200305 and was posted to 1st/4th Battalion.  1/4Bn came under orders of 164th Brigade in 55th Division.  James landed in France on 4 May 1915.  He was obviously a very capable soldier as he was quickly promoted to Sergeant, even though he was only 20.  In the spring of 1916 he was allowed a brief period of home leave when he married Bertha Titterington (b. 1895 in Preston).  An account of 55th Division during the War can be found here.  Towards the end of 1917 (possibly after the Division’s engagement in the Battle of the Menin Road Ridge in September, but before the catastrophe of Cambrai in December), James was sent for officer training and he was commissioned on 30 April 1918 and returned to 1/4Bn.  James would have returned to his Division just after they had taken a further pounding during the German Spring Offensive at the Battle of the Lys but he would have contributed to the Division’s stout defence of Givenchy in August and then the advance in Artois where they were fighting right up to the last day of the War.

 

After the War, James worked for the railways and he was a loco shed foreman.  In 1939, he and Bertha and their two children were living in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, but they later retired to Blackpool, where Bertha died in 1974 and James in 1977.  Bertha was a sister of 680655 Cpl. James Titterington, R.F.A., who was killed during the German Spring Offensive on 16 April 1918.

 

Eleanor Davenport was married to Ernest Sherlock who was in the Navy during the War.  For information about the Sherlock family see here.

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