Hero of the month… Sergeant Lee Davidson 1980-2012

2021-05-01

“It was Lee’s dream to have a little girl, and finally he got one, but devastatingly he’d never get the chance to hold her in his arms.”

Sergeant Lee Davidson had always wanted a little girl. Already a proud dad to two young boys Jayden (then aged 3) and Jamie (2), his dream of having a little girl was about to become a reality. But just two months before his daughter Amelia was born, Sergeant Davidson was struck by an IED bomb while on tour in Afghanistan and died, leaving behind his wife Sam and young family and never getting the opportunity to hold the baby girl he’d dreamed of in his arms.

Lee Davidson

Jayden, Jamie and Amelia are now 12, 10 and 8 years old. They are members of Scotty’s Little Soldiers, the charity for bereaved Forces children and young people. This month, Scotty’s is paying tribute to their dad, Sergeant Lee Davidson, who died on 9th September 2012 at the age of 32. A Sergeant in the Light Dragoons, Lee joined the army at just 19 years old, and spent the next 13 years travelling to Bosnia, Afghanistan, Iraq and Germany, until his untimely death in 2012.

Lee met his wife Sam in 2007 while on a night out in Doncaster, Sam recalls: “It was my friend’s 21st birthday. We clocked each other straight away and by the end of the night he’d asked for my number. At first, I was slightly apprehensive, but my friends convinced me that he was a nice guy, so I went out with him. I wasn’t looking for a relationship at the time, but Lee really surprised me. Being a few years older than I was, he was much more mature than the people I’d dated previously, which was definitely a welcome surprise.

“Lee texted me every morning, and after I’d finished work, we’d meet up and go out on dates. For the next five and a half years we were inseparable.”

A lover of the outdoors, Lee loved playing rugby, going for walks and enjoying bike rides with his kids. Sam explained: “Some of my favourite memories of Lee was him taking Jayden and Jamie for bike rides when they were little. We didn’t have many bikes so he had to take mine, and as you can imagine, he wasn’t impressed with having to ride a girly bike.

“Lee was such an incredible dad. From the beginning he’d be up doing the night shifts, feeding the kids, and always gave them their first bath when they came out of hospital, that was his thing. Sadly, Lee died just before Amelia was born, so he never got the chance to give her that first bath.

“It was Lee’s dream to have a little girl, and finally he got one, but devastatingly he’d never get the chance to hold her in his arms.”

Sam and Lee got married at their local church in Thorne, Doncaster in 2011, and it was just a year later that Sam received the phone call that every military wife dreads.

Sam explained: “I was on my way to take Jayden swimming when I got a phone call from the regiment asking where I was, in that moment I knew something was wrong. I was certain we could handle anything they threw our way, broken bones or the loss of a limb, but the thought of him no longer being alive, I couldn’t cope with the thought.

“When I got back home and was surrounded by family, the knock at the door came and he explained how Lee’s tank drove over an IED which killed him instantly. One of the hardest parts was knowing that Lee wasn’t even required on the mission that killed him, as he was away doing a course in Camp Bastion. Being Lee though, he arranged his own transport back to his men so he could join them for it, from which he wouldn’t return.

“Lee acted as a father figure to his men, always calling them “his boys”. It’s because of this that it was no surprise that he went back to be with them. It’s a testament to his character, he was a team player right to the end.”

Described by his comrades as a “superb soldier”, Lee was a natural leader and known for his unbreakable sense of humour. His Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Sam Plant, paid the following tribute after his death: “Sergeant Davidson will be remembered as a simply superb soldier and a wonderful man. From the outset of training for this, his second tour of duty in Afghanistan, he demonstrated the sort of professionalism and determination that had long been his trademark. He spoke often of the family that he adored; he was so proud of his wife Sam and their two boys Jayden and Jamie. He was overjoyed at the prospect of becoming a father for a third time soon after the completion of the tour; his optimism for the future was infectious.”

Sam had to break the news to her two young boys who were just three and two years old at the time, that their daddy wasn’t coming home. She said: “They knew daddy drove a tank, so I said ‘a naughty mister put a bomb in the road and daddy’s tank drove over it. He died and now he’s an angel.'"

Amelia was born two months after Lee’s death. Sam said: “I felt the joy at bringing a part of Lee into the world, but it was also so sad. I kept saying to her, ‘Your dad should be here.’

“When I held her for the first time, I could see Lee through her eyes, and I whispered to her, ‘Oh, my God, you’ve got your dad’s ears and you’ve got his nice little nose.’ When I got home after giving birth, I had a walk down with her to visit Lee at his resting place — our garden backs on to the cemetery and I can see where he is from my bedroom window. Every morning I always say hello. “I said, ‘Here’s your daughter. Amelia, meet your daddy’ and introduced them.”

Since their dad’s death, Jayden, Jamie and Amelia have been supported by Scotty’s Little Soldiers. Sam explained: “Being so young when their dad died, the children don’t have any memories of Lee, and rely on photos and stories to build themselves a picture of the man he was.

“I was told about Scotty’s through a friend, and joining the charity was one of the best things we’ve done. No matter the day or week, Scotty’s is on hand if we need them, and their grants and respite breaks have been so helpful to us as a family.

“Thanks to Scotty’s we’ve been able to spend quality time together at Center Parcs and Alton Towers, and I can’t describe how excited they get. With the Scotty’s grants Jayden has been able to take a full year of guitar lessons, paid for Jamie’s football team fees, and allowed Amelia to take swimming lessons.

“When the kids see Scotty post come through the door, their faces instantly light up. As they were so young when their dad died, they’ve been able to cope fairly well as they’ve got older, but knowing Scotty’s is there if anything changes is a huge reassurance to my family.”

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