Air Mechanic Second Class Frederick George Davin

 

Frederick George Davin was born on 4 September 1888 at 45 Foyle Road, Londonderry, the third of six children of master box-maker George Davin and his wife Elizabeth (formerly Stewart).

Davin served in the North of Ireland Imperial Yeomanry or North Irish Horse in the years prior to the war before emigrating to Canada with at least one of his four brothers. There he worked as a rancher in the vicinity of Vancouver.

On the outbreak of war Davin returned to Ireland and on 13 November 1914 enlisted in the North Irish Horse (No.1350). He embarked for France on 9 February 1915 with a reinforcement draft for A and C Squadrons.

On 5 February 1917 he transferred to the Royal Flying Corps (No.61912) with the rank of Air Mechanic 2nd Class. After a period of training he was posted to No.22 Squadron in France, flying two-seater FE2b fighters.

On 4 March Davin was flying a line patrol on the Somme front with 2nd Lieutenant Leslie Wallis Beal when they were attacked by an enemy aircraft. Their plane caught fire but they were able to bring it under control and land behind the lines near Trones Wood. The men were uninjured but the aircraft was destroyed.

Just seven days later Davin and Beal were flying a line patrol when they engaged in combat with another enemy aircraft (possibly German ace Werner Voss). With their controls shot away they were forced to land near Combles, Beal again without injuries, but Davin with severe wounds to both his thighs. Davin was evacuated to England, where he was treated in the Fulham Military Hospital, Hammersmith. Two months later he was mentioned in Field Marshal Haig's despatches for the gallantry he displayed during this action.

After he recovered Davin was posted to a series of training squadrons – No.85, No 93, then No.28 Training Depot Squadron. He was appointed unpaid corporal on 30 September 1918.

Davin was transferred to the Royal Air Force reserve on 8 March 1919 and discharged on 30 April 1920.

 

One of his brothers, William Maurice Davin, served in the 47th Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force, and was killed in action on 26 October 1917. Another brother, Arthur Davin, of the 10th Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, was wounded and made a prisoner of war in May 1916. He returned home in January 1919.