Harry Davenport

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Service no: Lieutenant [1]

Place of birth: Toronto, Canada, 31 March 1874 [sic]

Address: 493 Dowling Street, Moore Park, Sydney

Occupation: Billiard table proprietor

Next of kin: Samuel Davenport (brother), c/- Dr JP Kaster, Chief Surgeon, Santa Fe Railway, Topeka, Kansas, USA

Date of enlistment: 24 October 1915

Place of enlistment: Orange

Age at enlistment: 42

Fate: Joined 13th Battalion C Company, Liverpool camp, 1 July 1916. Appointed 2nd Lieutenant 25 July 1916. Transferred to Cootamundra 9 August 1916. Returned to Liverpool camp 21 August 1916. Embarked SS Port Nicholson, Sydney, 8 November 1916. Disembarked Devonport, England, 10 January 1917. Joined 1st Training Battalion, Durrington, 14 May 1917. Proceeded overseas to France 18 June 1917. Taken on strength of 4th Battalion 15 July 1917. Promoted Lieutenant 16 July 1917. Wounded in action, Belgium, 4 October 1917. Died of wounds, Belgium, 4 October 1917.

Date of death: 4 October 1917

Buried: No known grave

Harry Davenport enlisted at Orange on 24 October 1915, having joined the Coo-ee March at Wongarbon. He gave his place of birth as Canada, stated he was a widower aged 42 years and his occupation as Billiard Table Proprietor.

In reality he was Harry Augustus Swendson born in Kansas, USA, on 31 March 1880 to Severt Swendson and his wife Sarah. His father was from Norway and his mother was born in Ohio. Harry was the youngest of the ten children born into the family. According to letters in his military record, he had never been married and did not have the daughter who was also mentioned therein.

Harry joined the 13th Battalion C Company at Liverpool on 1 July 1916 and was appointed 2nd Lieutenant on 25 July 1916. His unit embarked at Sydney on board SS Port Nicholson on 8 November 1916, arriving in England in January 1917. Harry proceeded overseas to France on 18 June 1917. On 15 July 1917 he was taken on strength with the 4th Battalion where he was promoted to Lieutenant on 16 July 1917.

On 4 October 1917 Lieutenant Davenport was in the front line at Broodseinde Ridge when he was shot in the chest by a sniper. On his way to the dressing station he asked if “the boys were digging in all right” but died before he could receive medical treatment. He was buried near the dressing station but later no grave could be identified.

Harry Davenport is commemorated on the Soldiers Memorial at Wongarbon Primary School, on panel number 42 on the Roll of Honour at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, on the Atchinson County WWI Memorial Honor Roll in Kansas, the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial in Belgium.

Full particulars of Lieutenant Davenport’s service are available at:

1915 Coo-ee March - Harry Davenport [2]

Shawnee County Casualties in WWI - Harry Swendson [3]

  • Sharon Jameson and Margaret Nugent, January 2019
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