Private Leslie Davison

{ Les }

18 Jan 1924 - 14 Jan 2013

  • Distinguished Service Order medal

Private Leslie Davison after passing out from recruit training was posted to 195 Field ambulance at Reepham in Norfolk in early 1943. This unit later moved to to Gt Yarmouth, then Bulford where they were issued their maroon berets. When Les was told he was going to be glider trained, he objected. Thinking the gliders were far too dangerous. So Les was sent off to be parachute jump trained instead. He was send to Hardwick hall for parachute jump selection training and testing. He was eventually sent to RAF Ringway where he successfully completed his parachute jump training on Course 91. This course ran between 11 and 26 November 1943. His instructor made this note about his performance "Below average, rather nervous in the air".

During Op. Market Garden Les who jumped onto DZ 'X' as the last man of his stick, was burdened down with with as well as his own kit, a kit bag full of medical supplies attached to his left leg and a metal collapsible stretcher attached to his right. His stick landed without incident and regrouped with the rest of 3rd Bn HQ on Renkum Heath before moving off to via 'Tiger' route to Oosterbeek later that day at about 1500hrs. 

Les was one of the medics attached to The 3rd Bn on the advance to the road bridge and he remembers moving early on the Monday morning and at first met minimal resistance. But as they approached the outskirts of Arnhem they came under increasing fire. As the fighting intensified the casualties mounted. Small medical out posts were created in houses with one or two medics in each house. There were 17 wounded in the basement of Les' house. It was decided that due to the fear that the 3rd Bn HQ was about to be surrounded, Les was asked to stay behind to care for these men whilst the HQ withdrew. 

On Tuesday at 1400 Les made out of the basement to see if he could find a way of getting his wounded to the hospital. At the hospital an officer said that they were too busy to assist him. So after unsuccessfully trying to use an abandoned jeep he found a trolley and pushed it back to his house. Taking the most seriously wounded he proceeded to evacuate every casualty to the St Elizabeth's hospital. These journeys were very hazardous as there was a constant battle going on around him. After getting all the wounded to the hospital, Les continued caring for patients at St Elizabeths even though the hospital was eventually captured by the Germans. 

After the battle Les was in Apeldoorn station with other medics with the wounded heading for a POW camp. After drawing lots to see who would be allowed to attempt an escape Capt. Theo Redman won the lot with Les. Both men jumped off the train and escaped. After a very arduous journey cross country on foot they made to Nijmegen. They were put on a 'plane from Brussels to Northolt Park and home on 3 months leave. 

Les was awarded an MID, he is listed in The London Gazette 20 September 1945.

For further reading about the exploits of Les and his fellow airborne medics read 'Red Berets and Red Crosses' by Niall Cherry.

The profile photo is of Leslie with his wife. 

Created with information and imagery kindly supplied by the Davison family and information researched from Niall Cherry. 

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Service History


OS Leslie Davison Profile

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