Robert H. Davidson was born in Massachusetts January 15, 1919. His family consisted of his father Ellis W. Davidson, his mother Mildred Davidson, his older brother Richard. The Davidson's moved to Rye where they lived at 5 Oakwood Ave. and were members of the Presbyterian Church. Robert’s father was a college educated man, who worked as an editor and his mother was a homemaker.
Robert was a proud graduate of Rye High School, Class of 1936. Throughout his high school career, he took part in many school activities and was a member of the National Honor Society.
Robert was editor-in-chief of the Stagecoach and the Hitching Post. During Freshman year Robert served as the class vice president and continued his service during Junior year when he became a part of the class council. Robert would serve as an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II. (See Discharge Record)
Robert was an officer in the United States Marine Corps who was decorated with the Silver Star for his actions as the Commanding Officer of a Battalion in the Battle of Iwo Jima. At age 24, Davidson was one of the youngest officers in Marine Corps history to be assigned command of a Combat Infantry Battalion.
Staff and command assignments in the field:
In July 1943, Davidson was detached as a Captain from Marine Corps Schools and assigned to the 4th Marine Division, commanded by General Harry Schmidt, being formed at Camp Pendleton, California. Davidson performed several staff and command roles in 2nd Battalion, 23rd Marines, and served with this unit throughout combat operations against Roi-Namur in the Battle of Kwajalein in the Marshall Islands January 31 February 3, 1944 .
Davidson was promoted to Major and assigned as Plans and Training Officer of the 2nd Battalion, 23rd Marines, and participated in the training phase prior to and during initial combat operations at the Battle of Saipan in the Marianas Islands June 15 July, 1944 . On the fifth day of Saipan operations, Davidson was appointed battalion executive officer for the remainder of the Saipan battle and served in this capacity during the Battle of Tinian July 24 August 1, 1944 .
In October 1944, at the age of 25 and as a Major, Davidson assumed permanent command of 2nd Battalion, 23rd Marines. He continued in this capacity until the end of the war. As the Battalion commander, Davidson was responsible for training, supply, discipline and welfare of a unit of approximately 1,000 men in garrison.
As a Landing Force commander, Davidson was responsible for embarking his command abroad 6 naval attack transports. On February 19, 1945, Davidson commanded one of seven Battalion Landing Teams in the initial assault at the Battle of Iwo Jima. Davidsons command was composed of an Infantry Battalion plus attachments totaling approximately 1,800 men.
FATHER AND SON MEET FIRST TIME IN TWO YEARS AT IWO IWO JIMA
Army-Marine Corps cooperation never completed a happier mission than on Iwo Jima beach this afternoon, when an Army father and a Marine son met for the first time in two years. The father, Lieut. -Col. Ellis W. Davidson, of 1825 19th Street, NW, Washington, D. C, an Army public relations officer had heard via service grapevine that his son was wounded on Iwo Jima. The son, Major Robert H. Davidson, who formerly lived at 5 Elmwood Avenue. Rye, N. Y, is one of the Marine Corps youngest combat battalion commanders. His outfit, the Second Battalion, 23rd Marines, spearheaded the Fourth Divisions assault on one of the toughest of this embattled islands tough defenses, and broke the back of the enemy's main counterattacks. In the terrific barrage, a Jap shell scored a direct hit on Major Davidsons command post. Most of his staff were knocked out and the Major himself temporarily deafened by concussion. Three days later he was back in command in time to receive the biggest surprise of the campaign. Lieut. Col. Davidson, whom his son had believed to be in the European theater, drove up in a jeep, after arriving by plane from a nearby base. The Colonel was equally surprised to see his son well and taking charge of a staff conference. The Davidson family service reunion would have been complete with the presence of another son, Richard, who is a Navy gunners mate somewhere in the Atlantic,
RYE, NEW YORK FRIDAY, MAY 4, 1945
Robert continued as Battalion Commander throughout the Iwo Jima operation and was awarded the Silver Star for his heroic actions.
For his wounds in this operation, Major Davidson was awarded the Purple Heart. He had previously won the Bronze Star Medal in the conquest of Saipan and Tinian. He has also fought in the Marshall Islands.
Silver Star Awarded for actions during the World War II
"President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Major Robert H. Davidson MCSN: 0-7430 , United States Marine Corps Reserve, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity as Commanding Officer of the Second Battalion, Twenty-third Marines, FOURTH Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese forces during the assault and capture of Iwo Jima, Volcano Islands, from 19 February to 16 March 1945. Landing with the initial elements of his unit amidst heavy hostile mortar, artillery and small-arms fire on 19 February, and confronted with an enemy strong point which threatened to place his Battalion in an extremely disadvantageous position during the night, Major Davidson cleverly maneuvered his assault units to high ground from which he was able to render the position of the Japanese untenable and, later, personally supervised the reduction of this area of resistance. Although suffering from severe wounds as a result of enemy rocket fire and having lost all the key personnel of his staff while his Battalion was leading the assault of the Regiment, Major Davidson refused to be evacuated and continued to control his unit, until ordered by the Regimental Commander to relinquish command. His keen tactical judgment and courageous devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service."
After World War II he was a successful businessman. On August 30, 1947, in New York, New York, he married Anne Breeding Davidson (July 22, 1918 - September 30, 2010), a native of Boston, Massachusetts, and daughter of Edward Charles Breeding and Flora (nee MacLean) Breeding. Robert and Anne Davidson had one daughter, Anne Stowell 'Missy' Davidson (February 24, 1949 ) of Florham Park, New Jersey.
While in the Marine Reserves Robert, was an executive of the General Foods Corporation, Administrative Vice President of the Economics Laboratory and was President of Fanny Farmer Candy Shops and Anderson-Clayton Foods Inc.
In 1976, Robert retired as President and Chief Operating Officer of PVO International of Boonton, New Jersey, and San Francisco, California; soybean processors and marketers.
Robert Davidson died suddenly on October 10, 1982, of a coronary occlusion in Charlotte Hungerford Hospital in Torrington, Connecticut. He was interred in East Cemetery in Litchfield, Connecticut.
At the time of his death he was survived by his wife Anne, his daughter Anne S. and his brother Richard.