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British Industrial History

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James Samuel Davidson

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Captain James Samuel Davidson (1877-1916) of Davidson and Co

son of Samuel Cleland Davidson

1916 Obituary [1]

Captain JAMES SAMUEL DAVIDSON, Royal Irish Rifles, son of Mr. S. C. Davidson, of the Sirocco Engineering Works, Belfast, was born in Belfast on 9th March 1877.

He was educated at the Royal Academical Institution, and the Campbell College, Belfast, and afterwards spent a year in Paris to acquire the French language.

On 1st January 1895 he commenced his apprenticeship in the Sirocco Engineering Works, and passed through the various departments. Five years later he became works manager, and remained in this capacity until May 1902, during which time he had under his charge the construction of machines for all the various processes in tea manufacture, and also the manufacture of centrifugal fans, propeller fans, drying machines, and other general engineering work.

In June of the same year he became general manager and a director of the firm, which, at the outbreak of the War, was employing about 750 men. While taking a deep interest in the many ramifications of the business, he was more particularly identified with the tea-machinery branch, and personally brought out several improvements, including the Sirocco enclosed type of tilting tray drier, etc.

Soon after the declaration of war the Ulster Division was formed, and Captain Davidson, who had been an active and energetic member of the 1st Batt. North Down Regiment Ulster Volunteer Force, was amongst the first to offer his services, and was given a commission as Second-Lieutenant in the 1st County Down Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles. He became Lieutenant, and shortly afterwards was promoted Captain.

His knowledge of practical engineering was not long in being discovered, and he was appointed to the machine-gun section, subsequently being advanced to the position of Brigade-Captain of the 108th Infantry Brigade, Ulster Division, in which capacity he was commanding the machine guns at the time of his death, which took place, at the age of thirty-nine, in the great attack on 1st July 1916.

He was elected a Graduate of this Institution in 1901, an Associate Member in 1903, and was transferred to Membership in 1907.

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