Remembering Fife’s war heroes

William S Davidson
William S Davidson

As Remembrance Day parades take place the length and breadth of Fife this Sunday, the one in Kinghorn will be extra special for one family.

For the descendants of Bombadier William S Davidson are travelling from around the globe to converge on the Royal Burgh for a memorial service of particular poignance.

Ginny Reid with the book revealing the lives of the war memorial soldiers

Ginny Reid with the book revealing the lives of the war memorial soldiers

Mr Davidson’s granddaughter, Ann Harris Davidson is coming from the USA, and will recount some of her grandfather’s life story at the service.

For the past two years the ceremony at the Kinghorn War Memorial has included a reading of one of the biographies of two men from the book ‘Kinghorn Remembers 1914-1919’ researched and compiled 
by Ginny Reid, secretary 
of the town’s Historic Society.

‘Kinghorn Remembers 1914-1919’ was published in May 2014 by the society to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of WW1.

It details the lives of the men on the town’s main war memorial and that at the parish church, whose stories were painstakingly traced through visits to the Scotland’s People Centre in Edinburgh, online accounts, national archives and family accounts.

Last year's parade

Last year's parade

Alan McIlravie, provost of Kinghorn Community Council, said: “Personalising those who are named on the town’s memorial has proved very popular with local residents, and it has resulted in the number of people attending the short service growing significantly.

“We are looking forward to welcoming the family of Bombadier Davidson to Kinghorn and hearing his story.”

Around a dozen of Bombadier Davidson’s family are expected to make the trip to the Remembrance service to hear him honoured.

Ann is travelling from Albuquerque, New Mexico especially for the occasion, and she will be joined by five of his great grandchildren and three great great grandchildren who are coming from Cupar, St Andrews, London, Prague and Germany.

The service at the War Memorial

The service at the War Memorial

Born in 1882 William S. Davidson was a native of Dundee. He trained as a blacksmith and spent some time working aboard the whaling boats based in Dundee.

In 1908 he married 
Jessie Laing from St. Andrews where the couple settled and he worked as a blacksmith at Forgan’s the cleekmaker in St Andrews.

By 1914 he was working at Gibsons cleek works in Kinghorn and it was 
while he was living in Kinghorn that he enlisted in the Royal Garrison Artillery.

He served for two years in France before becoming the victim of a gas attack in 1917. After a long illness he died in St Andrews two years later.

Poppy wreaths at the memorial

Poppy wreaths at the memorial

Kinghorn will hold its annual Service of Remembrance on Sunday with at the Parish Church at 10.45am followed by a procession up Harbour Road to the War Memorial where a short memorial service will take place.

That short service is expect to begin at about 11.50am.

All four of Kirkcaldy’s secondary schools will take part in this year’s Remembrance Day Parade, laying a wreath at the town’s war memorial alongside members of the armed forces and local organisations and dignitaries.

Choirs from the schools will also entertain guests as they meet for refreshments in the Adam Smith Theatre after the service organised by the Kirkcaldy branch of the Royal British Legion Scotland.

Everyone taking part is asked to muster at the Town Square at 10.30am on Sunday to march to the War Memorial Gardens.

The service will be conducted by Major Heather Cole from the Salvation Army who has taken over from Captain Phillip James following his promotion.

The service will be recorded by Kirkcaldy community radio station K107fm, and the organisers hope it will be broadcast to the public on Sunday evening.

Among those laying 
wreaths on the day will be 104-year-old Army veteran Jimmy Sinclair who will represent Chestnut Troop, 1 Royal Horse Artillery.

Colonel Kinloch, Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Fife will represent the Queen and there will also be representatives from Fife Council, the Police and NHS Fife.

Anyone wishing to lay a wreath yet to put their 
name forward should contact Jim Paterson, secretary 
of the Kirkcaldy branch of 
the Royal British Legion Scotland by calling (01592) 568601.

Burntisland’s commemorations will start with a 
service at Erskine Church at 10.45am followed by the Remembrance Service at the War Memorial at noon. The parade to the church 
will leave from Burntisland Fire Station at 10.30am, led by Burntisland Pipe Band.
Auchtertool’s service 
will take place in the church 
at 9.30am; Aberdour will 
have a wreath laying ceremony in St Fillan’s Church Hall at 11am; Cardenden’s procession will march from the Bowhill Club around 10.40 am to the war memorial for the wreath laying ceremony at 11am, and Dysart will have a service at the memorial at the Dysart Kirk.