James Leo Davenport, Corporal 200704, 2nd/5th Bn. North Staffordshire Regiment
Killed in action 21st March 1918 in France, aged 25
James Leo Davenport was born on 29th June and baptised at St George’s Church, Sutton, Macclesfield on 27th July 1892 at the same time as his older brother Frederick, sons of Mary Elizabeth and Samuel Davenport, a silk weaver of 40 Byrons Street, Macclesfield. He was usually known as Leo. In 1901, eight year old James Leo was living at that address with his parents and siblings Annie Louise (18), Harry (12), Fred (9), Samuel (7), William (6), Caroline (5), Mary Elizabeth (3) and Ada (2).
Leo, a Wesleyan Methodist, was educated at Brunswick Wesleyan Centenary School. After leaving school, Leo found employment as a silk piecer and on 19 September 1905 enrolled at Macclesfield Technical School with his older brothers Fred and Harry to further his education. Leo re-enrolled at the Technical School every year until 1908-9, by which time he was employed as a junior clerk and the family had moved to 28 Peel St.
In 1911 the family was still living at 28 Peel Street and Leo was employed as a junior clerk at a surveyor’s office.
Leo attended the Technical School for a further year in 1913-14 to learn intermediate bookkeeping and elementary French; by this time he was employed as a clerk and lived with his family at 38 High St, Macclesfield.
Leo enlisted at Shelton, Staffordshire (near Stoke on Trent) in the early months of the war. He served in Ireland during 1916, as reported in the Macclesfield Advertiser on 3 August 1917:
…Corpl Leo Davenport, of the North Staffordshires, had some lively experiences in Ireland during the Sinn Fein outbreak in… 1916. The corporal is well known in Macclesfield, and was formerly employed as a clerk by Mr Jabez Wright, architect and surveyor.
The death of Cpl James Davenport was reported in the Macclesfield Courier on 29 June 1918:
CORPORAL J L DAVENPORT – Mr and Mrs Davenport, 38 High St, have been informed that their son, Corporal James Leo Davenport, was killed on the 21st March. He is 25 years of age and received his education at the Centenary School and attended the Centenary School and Chapel. In civil life he was in the employ of Mr Jabez Wright, King Edward Street. A brother [William] died in hospital in France a few weeks ago.
Cpl James Davenport has no known grave and is commemorated on Bay 7 and 8 of the Arras Memorial. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission holds casualty details for Cpl James Davenport, and he is listed on the Imperial War Museum’s Lives of the First World War website.
In Macclesfield, Cpl James Davenport is commemorated on the Park Green, Town Hall, St Michael’s Church, Brunswick Wesleyan Methodist Church and St George’s Church war memorials. The floral tributes laid when the Macclesfield Park Green War Memorial was unveiled on 21 September 1921 included one with the words “In loving memory of Corporal J. L. Davenport, 2/9th North Staffs; also Private W. Davenport, 1/6th Cheshires.”
Brother of William Davenport, who served as Private 34984 with the 6th Cheshire Regt and died on 27 April 1918; Pte Fred Davenport, who served as Private 291116 with the 7th Cheshire Regt; and Pte Sam Davenport, who served as Drummer 40838 with the 8th North Staffordshire Regt.
GRO (England & Wales) Index: Births
Cheshire Parish Baptism Registers (Find My Past): St George’s Church, Macclesfield
Census (England & Wales): 1901, 1911
National School Admission Registers and Log-books (Find My Past)
WWI Britain Absent Voters’ Lists (Find My Past)
Soldiers Died in the Great War (Find My Past)
Lives of the First World War website
Commonwealth War Graves Commission website
Macclesfield Advertiser: 3 August 1917
Macclesfield Courier: 29 June 1918, 24 September 1921