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Lance Corporal William Worth Davis was born in Mitchell County, Ontario, on May 11, 1891, to parents Edwin Fishleigh and Mary (née Davidson) Davis. He had two younger sisters, Grace Miriam (“Mir”) and Ruth Nerta (“Nert”). He was living in Tillsonburg prior to his enlistment, where he worked as an optometrist. Davis had previously served in the 13th Royal Regiment in Hamilton, Ontario.
Davis enlisted on May 16, 1916, in London, Ontario, with 10th Stationary Hospital, Canadian Army Medical Corps. He shipped for England on board the S.S. Olympic in August of 1916, where he spent the next six months attached to Moore Barracks Hospital at Shorncliffe, working as a general medical orderly. Transferred back to the 10th Stat. Hosp. at Eastbourne in January of 1917, Davis was dispatched to France with them in early December of that same year. Davis’ duties often included both general medical orderly work and providing administrative supply support. Following the Armistice agreement that brought an end to armed conflict, Davis continued to work in both France and England until his repatriation to Canada in July of 1919, where he was demobilized on July 12th, 1919.
The majority of the letters in the collection were written by Davis to his parents and sisters. Once initially received, many of the letters had additional messages added to them as they circulated within the family. Davis was prolific letter writer and his letters are rich in detail, both about his work with the C.A.M.C., and in all aspects relating to his and his father’s professions as optometrists and jewellers. Also an avid photographer, Davis received official military permission to keep and use a camera while in England, allowing him to assemble an unusually large and varied collection of photos during his time in service. His diary covers the time period of May 1916 to November of 1918; it is currently untranscribed and available as images only.
L/Cpl. Davis' service record (Reg/Ser# 534709) is available online through Library and Archives Canada.
[Editor’s note, February 2023: In Davis’ service record (Library and Archives Canada) the record card “Transferred to C.E.F. (Siberia),” found on pages 15-16, is a filing error and is a record of the service history of Captain William Wallace Davis.]