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Name: DAVIDSON, Stanley 'Davo' (Sergeant Major)

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Birth Date: 19 June 1905 Scotland

Death Date: 24 Nov 1996 South Africa

First Date: 1939

Profession: Sgt. Major in Kenya Regt. and KAR. As broad as he was tall and with a face like a battered brown hat. In contrast he never drank or swore. An expert with a pistol. Did sterling work in the Mau Mau Emergency.

Married: Thrice - see below

Book Reference: Golding, Morkel, mini-SITREP XIV

General Information:

Golding - An expert with a pistol; at one time he had been a bodyguard to an American gangster and at 15 paces he could hit a plate thrown in the air four times out of five ......... He was a quiet person, and in his spare time wrote poetry. I believe he did sterling work during the Mau Mau Emergency, leading loyal Africans into the forest to ambush the Mau Mau gangs. He was, in turn, ambushed and seriously wounded, but proved too tough to kill.
Morkel - Most folks who lived in EA during the 1950s would have heard of Davo Davidson and his ability to use a six-shooter, even if they had not actually seen him perform. It was uncanny what he could do with it 
mini-SITREP XIV - letter from Nigel Walsh ........ his rugger playing as hooker for Nakuru in 1948, with Bruce Mackenzie (local dairy farmer and ex-SAAF) as one prop, and myself as the other. ...[Ed: As a toto, I remember Davo demonstrating his unarmed combat and weapon skills on the Ol Kalou polo club fields. In 1956, Eldoret, for whom I was playing, travelled to Thomson's Falls for an Enterprise Cup fixture and who was hooking for the opposition but Davo. There was a fair amount of in-fighting going on in the scrums and after Davo's quiet warnings 'to cut it out' were ignored, the scrum broke up and both our props stayed down!]
Went to South Africa and started the Combat Survival School.
Hansard 15 July 1953 
Mr. Paget asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies (1) what authority he has given to Mr. Davo Davidson to kill Her Majesty's subjects in Kenya; (2) how many of Her Majesty's subjects in Kenya have been shot by Mr. Davo Davidson.
§Mr. Lyttelton Mr. Sidney Davidson is a Kenya Government officer seconded to the police force, and he has therefore the same authority as other members of the security forces. This includes authority to use force, extending to the voluntary causing of death, if this is necessary when persons fail to stop when challenged in protected and special areas. The only engagement in which Mr. Davidson is known to have shot any person was on 27th February this year, when with an inspector of police he killed three terrorists who were wanted for murder and who failed to stop when challenged.
§Mr. Paget Has the right hon. Gentleman had his attention drawn to the picture of Mr. Davidson which appeared in the "Daily Express," and to the caption underneath it: It looks as if 'Davo' Davidson, the lone-star gunman of Kenya, has got his way. He has been pleading with military leaders to meet the Mau Mau terrorists with 'Wild West' methods as described by Fenimore Cooper in his novels about the war against the redskins.. Now his plan seems to be in operation.
§Mr. Speaker Order. The right hon. Gentleman is not responsible for that.
§Mr. Paget I was just ending my question. I am asking the right hon. Gentleman whether his attention has been drawn to that, and whether the recent casualty figures do not show that an Indian war of extermination is, in fact, being carried out? 
Extract from Michael Blundell's autobiography, 'So Rough a Wind,"One night, late in October, I was driving up from Nairobi to Nakuru and had reached the junction of the district road which took me to my home twenty miles farther on. when I was flagged down by a police patrol and an officer came out of the shadows. He told me that there had been a Mau Mau meeting in the forest and that I had been put on the death list, rather grandly it had been decreed that I should be hanged. For the next three years I was accompanied by a personal bodyguard wherever I went. For a brief period I was the Number One target of the terrorists. One  of my bodyguards was S Davo Davidson, who had been Regimental Sergeant-Major in my battalion in South-East Asia. He was a remarkable man of simple and firm beliefs, who had had few advantages in education. He had been a 'G' Man in Chicago at the time of the clean-up against the gangsters and was a wonderful pistol shot. He had two .45 Colt revolvers with hair triggers which he would spin round and round, one in each hand, with his index finger on the inner side of the trigger guards. Suddenly, the pistols would be checked, aimed, the shots would ring out and the target would be neatly drilled with deadly accuracy in the centre. He would put shot after shot through a cigarette tin tossed up into the air as it fell to the ground In Ceylon he taught me to sit quietly at my desk with a pistol ready to my right hand. Suddenly at a shout I had to pick up the pistol, fire at the dummy of a Japanese entering the Orderly Room, hit it dead centre with the minimum of aim and continue with my reading or writing. His hands were like silk. and he would be continually fmgering and practising with his weapons. He never played cards, because his fmgers were so sensitive that he could detect the infmitesimal graduations of shape and colour on the card, even though he could not see it. I have seen him, time after time, feeling and running his fingers over the aces, kings and queens, with their faces turned down, while he would declare almost unerringly the exact value of the card."
Sitrep, Ray Nightingale wrote: Most people will remember Davo by his uncanny skill with his 45 Colt revolvers and Beretta submachine gun. Endless stories are told about his proficiency with these weapons and as the beer flows, many fancy tricks are credited to him. The truth is that Davo knew his weapons and their capabilities from long hours of study and practice. When he demonstrated these it was not to display his skill but to show his audience what could be done, and so encourage them to improve their own weapon handling. Davo was, first and foremost a great patriot. He revered Scotland where he was born, and he loved Kenya to the end of his days. He was kind, gentle, generous and totally loyal and in the many years I knew him I never heard him swear, saw him smoke tobacco or drink alcohol. He was chivalrous to the ladies but a little uncomfortable in their presence. He was extraordinarily fit, tough and fearless and could be absolutely ruthless when the situation demanded it. Davo wore the uniform of the 4th (Uganda) King's African Rifles, to which he had been posted, pre-war, before moving to the Kenya Regiment.
He married an Afrikaans widow, a Mrs. van der Merwe who farmed at Ol'Kalou. Here he taught the neighbour's children to ride horseback and demonstrated his skill with his pistols for their amusement until the farm was sequestered under the Compulsory Purchase Scheme. Sadly he and his wife were divorced because she would not follow him to where he wished to live when he left Kenya to make a new life in South Africa. Davo, with ex-Kenya Police Superintendent Ken Akker, opened an anti-guerrilla and survival school in Johannesburg at which they taught unarmed combat and small arms skills to white housewives and other local residents. Davo claimed to have a Black Belt in some obscure martial art, what it was I do not know, but he certainly knew some very nasty tricks. In 1963, I came across a Johannesburg newspaper article showing his picture and stating that he had been taught to handle the revolver by Wyatt Earp. Davo married again and after his second wife died he married a German lady a year later. 
He was born to a large family in Scotland. In his later years he claimed kinship with General Bobby Erskine and so began to call himself Stanley Davidson of Marr. He was intensely proud of this link. When he was still very small the family moved to Queensland where they had a large sheep and cattle run but many years of drought bankrupted them and he had to seek other work. Davo had always wanted to join the British Army so he set to work his passage home. He obtained employment barrowing coal to the firemen on a ship, hard and exhausting work for a very young man. A particular fireman took a dislike to Davo which resulted in fist fights during which Davo collected his flat, scarred nose. On reaching San Francisco Davo took a coal shovel to his tormentor and then jumped ship. Davo started to bum his way across the United States and he told me that he slept in and escaped from more gaols than he cared to remember. Somewhere in the US he was arrested once more for vagrancy but this time the Sheriff and his wife took him into their home. Sheriff Earp taught Davo to ride, western style, and how to use the Colt revolver. Davo described Wyatt Earp as 'a fine, quiet, kindly man, a teetotaller. His shooting was deadly and unhurried.' Earp had a superb pupil. In 1924, in Idaho, Davo entered and won a six-gun shooting competition, the first prize being the pair of walnut handled 45 Colts which became his trademark and with which we are all familiar. Davo also boxed in fairs where he did well. I have seen a photo of him in the old fashioned boxing stance and long shorts of that time. Davo moved to Chicago where Blundell says he became a G-man. I do not think that this is so, for even in those days Hoover insisted that his staff held university degrees. Davo told me that he became involved with Al Capone but he did not reveal in what capacity. He did say that it became necessary for him to shoot a gentleman by the name of Dapper Dan Durea, adding that when in action I would be sensible to wear my belt buckle to the side otherwise it made an excellent aiming mark. He now had to move on quickly and eventually arrived in UK. Davo joined the Cheshire Regiment, not because of family connections, but because of their fine record in Army athletics which still holds true. Davo boxed for the Regiment and served with it in India and then volunteered for the King's African Rifles.When Davo retired from his anti-guerrilla school in Johannesburg he and his wife went to live in Cathcart in the Eastern Cape where the South African Government had earmarked railway cottages for elderly ex-Kenyans and which were known as the Kenya Cottages. Here his third wife died. Davo continued to live in the cottage. travel a little. and make friends in the community. It was in this cottage that Davo was mugged and quite badly hurt so he was moved to a large residential lodge for the elderly. It was clear that while Davo was physically very active and interested in the political affairs of the country he was not particularly happy in the lodge. The elderly ladies far outnumbered the men and he considered them to be a pest. In 1996 he moved to the Transvaal to stay on the farm of the son of old Kenya friends, the Mullers, where he happily spent his last days; all blessings to the Mullers for giving him a loving family home and devoted attention.

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