Dudley Percy Davidson,
the son of Alexander Percy and Ella Jessie Campbell (née
Andrews) Davidson was born in Beaumont House, Melcombe
Regis (Weymouth), a coastal town in West Dorset,
England, on 30 September 1898. At that time Alexander
was a lieutenant in the Royal Navy. Dudley’s mother was
the daughter of George (a solicitor) and Jessie (née
After his arrival in Australia in 1923, Dudley Percy
Davidson divided his time as a pilot between New South
Wales, Victoria and Queensland. A quite detailed report
of the ‘appalling accident’ which claimed his life may
be read in the Brisbane Courier.
He had taken off from the Maryborough aerodrome in a
three-engined Avro monoplane, Star of Cairns, at
about 5.45 p.m. on New Year’s Eve 1930. It appears that
the engines stalled soon after take-off. Accompanying
the pilot on this flight to Brisbane were Ian Henry
Higgens (aged 24) of the Townsville Bulletin, who
died shortly after admission to the Maryborough
hospital, and the mechanic William Hedland who ‘had a
miraculous escape … suffering from severe shock and
The following obituary was published in the
Pilot B. [sic] P. Davidson, who met with almost instant
death when the aeroplane crashed, was about 35 years of
age, and a son of Vice-Admiral Alexander Percy Davidson,
D.S.O., who was in command of H.M.S. Cornwallis
throughout the Gallipoli campaign, and retired in 1921,
two years before his son came to Australia. The late
pilot was a member of the Royal Naval Air Service during
the war, most of his fighting being done in the Blimps
that patrolled the English Channel. He was mentioned in
despatches for his work during one raid on German
submarines. He had evidently had but little experience
with aeroplanes then, for when he came to Australia in
1923 he underwent a full course of flying at the Point
Cook aerodrome, Victoria. He joined the R.A.A.F. in that
State shortly afterwards, and was a flying member of the
force until he came to Brisbane last March to join the
ranks of pilots in the service of the newly-formed
Queensland Air Navigation Ltd. He was one of the crew
that flew the first ’plane north for the company, and he
had been piloting its machines over the route since
then. Members of the company in Brisbane were shocked by
the news of his death last night. He was most popular
with his co-pilots, all of whom regarded him as a most
Deceased was married about 18 months ago to a daughter
of the late Sir William McMillan, who was member of the
first Federal Parliament for Wentworth, N.S.W. Word of
her husband’s death was conveyed to Mrs. Davidson by Mr.
A. C. Winning, Brisbane agent for the company, who
escorted her to Maryborough last night by the 9.15 p.m.
train from Central Station.
Two funeral notices appeared in the
of Mrs. D. P. Davidson are invited to attend the funeral
of her deceased Husband (Mr. Dudley Percy Davidson) to
move from All Saints’ Church of England,
Wickham-terrace, after service commencing This (Friday)
Afternoon, at 3 o’clock to the Cooper’s Plains Cemetery.
CANNON & CRIPPS
Air Navigation Ltd., invite the friends of the late Mr.
D. P. Davidson to attend his Funeral, to move from All
Saints’ Church of England, Wickham-terrace, after
service commencing This (Friday) Afternoon, at 3 o’clock
to the Cooper’s Plains Cemetery.
CANNON & CRIPPS.
A lengthy account of Dudley Percy Davidson’s funeral may
be read in the Brisbane Courier of the following
day. The service at the graveside at God’s Acre,
Cooper’s Plains, was conducted by the Reverend D Morgan
Jones MA of All Saint’s Church, Wickham Terrace, in the
presence of Mrs Davidson, friends of the deceased and
mourners representing various aviation bodies. The
official witnesses to the burial, which was certified by
HW McDowell, were A Thompson and T Dibble.
On the casket rested a miniature aeroplane, made of
flowers, from the pilots and staff at the aerodrome,
Eagle Farm, and, as the cemetery was approached, five
machines in the formation of a cross followed, and then,
flying over the cortege as it arrived at its
destination, they dipped twice in salute as the coffin
was lowered unto the grave..
The chief mourner, Florence Elizabeth McMillan,
the daughter of (Sir) William McMillan, an Irish
merchant, and Victorian-born Ada Charlotte Graham, was
born on 21 January 1882 in Burwood, Sydney. She married
Dudley Percy Davidson, 15 years her junior, in St
Andrew’s Anglican Cathedral, Sydney, on 8 November 1929.
They then settled in Brisbane.
‘a small, serious woman with large brown eyes and dark
hair’, served as a nursing sister on Lemnos during the
Gallipoli Peninsula campaign and later in Australian
hospitals on the Western Front. After the war, having
added an obstetrics certificate to her qualifications,
she specialised in mothercraft and became the first
director of the Australian Mothercraft Society.
Described as a person of an ‘affectionate, idealistic
and devout disposition’, she died on 9 February 1943 in
her apartment in the Sydney suburb of Woollahra and was
buried in the Waverley Cemetery.