William Mahlon Davis

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
William Mahlon Davis
Born May 26, 1857
Malahide Township, Ontario
Died October 8, 1918
Ottawa, Ontario
Allegiance Canada
Years of service 1876-1918
Rank Lieutenant Colonel
Commands held 54th Battalion, Canadian Infantry (Central Ontario Regiment)
Other work engineer, surveyor

Lieutenant Colonel William Mahlon Davis was a Canadian surveyor, civil engineer, harbour engineer and officer.

Early life[edit]

Lt. Col. William Mahlon Davis was born May 26, 1857, to Joel Wallace and Catherine Adams Davis in Malahide Township. William's grandfather (and Joel's father) was Deacon William Joseph Davis (1783-1865) who, with his four brothers, were among the first settlers in 1810 in the Malahide Township area[1] William Mahlon Davis attended the Canadian Literary Institute, later known as the Woodstock College from 1872-74. He was educated as part of the first class at the Royal Military College of Canada (RMC) in Kingston, Ontario, student #4, one of the "Old Eighteen." He entered the College on June 1, 1876. Since cadets received their numbers based on their standings in the entrance examinations, he was 4 of 18. He graduated as a sergeant from RMC in 1880 fourth in his class.[2]


He was employed by the Fort Madison and North Western Railway from 1880-3. In 1883, he joined the North West Land Surveys. Mahlon articled with the City Engineer of St. Thomas in 1884 and passed his final exam as a provincial land surveyor in spring 1885. He was consulting engineer for Woodstock and Oxford County from 1885-98. He was in partnership in Woodstock, Ontario as a land surveyor with Wm Fraser Van Buskirk, another RMC graduate. He served as third president of the Royal Military College Club of Canada in 1888. He was elected a member of the Engineering Committee of the Association of Land Surveyors in 1896-7. He and his wife Catherine had two children. He served as the adjutant of the 22nd Regiment in Woodstock. In 1898, he sold his surveying business and became city engineer for Kitchener, Ontario, Guelph and Galt. In 1908, he organized a Canadian Militia cavalry regiment the 24th Regiment (Grey's Horse) with headquarters at Ingersoll, Ontario and squadrons at Princeton, Ontario, Ingersoll and Berlin with Davis as the first commanding officer. He became the City Engineer in Prince Rupert, British Columbia in 1910. In partnership, his firm was appointed Harbour Engineers for the north arms of the Fraser River and city engineers of Port Moody, British Columbia.

In 1914 Davis was a named partner in the engineering firm of Davis & Leslie of Vancouver, British Columbia. At the outbreak of World War I in 1914, he volunteered for active service. LCol William Mahlon Davis was first Commanding Officer of the 54th (Kootenay) Battalion, CEF, later 54th (Central Ontario) Battalion. He accompanied the regiment to England for training in December 1915. On January 15, 1916, he was seriously injured when he was thrown from his horse. After recovering in hospital in England for several weeks, he took change of part of the Canadian Reserve Force at Bramshott Camp.[3] He took ill and was invalided home in July 1918. He died at 61 years of age on October 8, 1918. He was buried with full military honours at the Beechwood Cemetery in Ottawa, Ontario. His son, Lieutenant Donald Davis was serving overseas at the time of his father's death. He is commemorated on Page 395 of the First World War Book of Remembrance.[4]


  1. ^ Aylmer Centennial History 1872-1972, p. 53
  2. ^ http://www.rmcclubfoundation.ca/English/PDFs/Old18Bios.pdf Old 18 Bios, Royal Military Colleges Club Foundation, Kingston
  3. ^ LCol William Mahlon Davis http://www.54thbattalioncef.ca/WARPAGES/Opsfame_and_54.htm
  4. ^ First World War Book of Remembrance http://www.vac-acc.gc.ca/remembers/sub.cfm?source=collections/virtualmem/Detail&casualty=2756468


  • 4237 Dr. Adrian Preston & Peter Dennis (Edited) "Swords and Covenants" Rowman And Littlefield, London. Croom Helm. 1976.
  • H16511 Dr. Richard Arthur Preston "To Serve Canada: A History of the Royal Military College of Canada" 1997 Toronto, University of Toronto Press, 1969.
  • H16511 Dr. Richard Arthur Preston "Canada's RMC - A History of Royal Military College" Second Edition 1982
  • H16511 Dr. Richard Preston "R.M.C. and Kingston: The effect of imperial and military influences on a Canadian community" 1968
  • H1877 R. Guy C. Smith (editor) "As You Were! Ex-Cadets Remember". In 2 Volumes. Volume I: 1876-1918. Volume II: 1919-1984. Royal Military College. [Kingston]. The R.M.C. Club of Canada. 1984