Menu Close

Eulogy for Desmond Davidson

Desmond was the most likeable person you would ever wish to meet.

With his good looks, tall stature and military bearing, he was the epitome of the perfect gentleman: well-bred, well-spoken and well-mannered.

Behind his affable nature and fine sense of humour, lurked a practical joker with a mischievous streak! But more of that later.

He was also a proud man: proud of his Anglo-Indian heritage, of his upbringing, his parents, but most of all, proud of Patsy, his dearest wife of 56 years, and strapping sons, Christopher and Kevin.

Desmond was born in Calcutta (now Kolkata) on 16 Sep 1940, the only child of Oswald and Hilda Davidson, devout Anglo-Indian Catholics.

They instilled in the young Desmond a strict code of conduct: honesty, loyalty, good discipline and respect for parents and fellowmen. These tenets were to stand him in good stead throughout his life.

In 52, he accompanied his dad & mum when they sailed to Dar-es-Salaam, Tanganyika (now Tanzania), to take up respective positions of Steam Locomotive Train Driver with the E. A. Railways, and Primary School Teacher.

He was enrolled at St Joseph’s Convent, the city’s only Catholic school, which was run by austere Capuchin nuns and priests who hailed from Switzerland.  They dished out yet more discipline, and more clips round the ears!

By all accounts, he was a model student, taking an active part in sports and joining the school’s Boy Scout troop, known as The Archbishop’s Own.

After graduating in 56, he enrolled at the local Technical College, to study Electrical & Mechanical engineering, and was then apprenticed, as a Motor Mechanic, to Cooper Motors – a large British-owned car & scooter firm.

Life in colonial East Africa was idyllic: Sun, sea and IPA; and picnics, dancing and socializing. In his spare time, Desmond loved to fix and modify electronic and mechanical appliances, rebuild his Vespa, go to Rock ‘n’ Roll dances and chase the girls!!

Incidentally, Desmond and Patsy were neighbours, and that’s how they came to meet and forge a lifelong relationship.

One time, while on safari upcountry, he encountered a flat tyre at dusk. With laughing hyenas circling, he cooly fixed the puncture, as Patsy cowered in the back, praying the Rosary!

That Vespa: he fixed it to go like greased lightning. When he sold it, the buyer was back in 20 minutes, claiming that, having fallen off this devil bike 3 times, he couldn’t handle it anymore!

Desmond and Patsy emigrated to the UK in Jun 67. They married soon thereafter, on 5 Aug, at Croydon, s. London, and lived there for 2 years.

On 2 May 68, they were blessed with the arrival of their firstborn, son Christopher, followed by Kevin, 15 months later, on 9 Aug 69. 

In Croydon, Desmond worked for Mowlem Construction as a fleet car maintenance engineer, while Patsy worked for British Gas and later, Philips Electronics.

In 69, on joining Vauxhall Motors, he and the family moved to Wellingborough, Northants, where they stayed before moving to Bedford in Dec 71.

He retired from Vauxhall in 2000, after 31 years of exemplary service.

In retirement, Desmond joined Men in Sheds. You may be familiar with their amazing work. It’s where venerable gentlemen come together, not only to pool their invaluable skills & expertise for the benefit of the community, but also for comradeship and to connect, converse and create.

Desmond and Patsy simply loved travelling abroad in their spare time.

They went to exotic places and set foot on all 5 continents.

I haven’t forgotten: the lurking impish practical joker! Desmond had a string of pranks up his sleeve, but his favourite one was to pass round fiery hot chillies to his unsuspecting victims, and tell them that, because they came from Turkey, they were rather innocuous!

In early 22, Desmond had a severely bad fall, recovery from which was a long and arduous process. By year’s end he was almost fit again.

Subsequently, however, medics at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, where he’d been treated, said that he had cardiac issues which needed to be addressed promptly.

Whilst treatment was still ongoing, he took a turn for the worse and slipped away, quite unexpectedly, on Thu 16 Mar.

Desmond was a wonderful husband and father, loving and protective.

His sudden departure leaves his family and us with a large void.

He had a life well lived.

We – family, friends, colleagues and peers – will remember him with a great deal of love and affection; he will be hugely missed.

Desmond Alexander Charles DAVIDSON, we say Adieu today, and bid you a fond farewell. May The Almighty look kindly on you and grant you eternal rest in peace.