James Davenport was born November 10, 1897 at Congleton, Cheshire, England. He was the son of Charles Henry Davenport, born in Cheshire in about 1863 and Caroline Davenport, born in Rainhill, England, in the same year. The Davenports had 13 children, not all of whom survived into adulthood. According to the 1911 census data James arrived in Canada in 1911 and was boarding with his brother-in-law and sister, Joseph and Ellen Hammond, along with his brother Charles. In 1912, James’ parents came to Canada along with his brother Henry and sisters Annie, Lucy and Elsie. The family lived on Downie Street.
James Davenport enlisted November 1, 1914 at Victoria, B.C. for the Second Contingent of Canadian Volunteers. He gave his date of birth as November 10, 1892, which would make him 22 years old, but according to the 1911 census, he was born in 1897, which would make him 9 days short of 17 years old at the time of enlistment. His enlistment number was 77511. He was working as a fireman with the Canadian Pacific Railway. He was single, 5’ 7” tall, with brown hair and brown eyes. His religious affiliation was Anglican. He was one of 30 volunteers from Revelstoke for this contingent. In February 1915 the Revelstoke boys of the 30th Battalion, James Davenport among them, passed through the city on their way to England and then to the front lines. In March of 1915 James’s brother Henry Davenport signed up for the Third Contingent.
In May of 1916 Henry Davenport became one of the first soldiers to return home to Revelstoke from the front. He had been wounded and gassed and contracted rheumatism while serving in the trenches. He stated that his brother James was still in the trenches, being a stretcher-bearer in the 15th Battalion.
James Davenport died on June 3, 1916 during the battle for Mount Sorrel. At least six Revelstoke men lost their lives on that day. James was 18 years old, although according to his enlistment papers, he would have been 23 years old. At the time of his death he was a Private with the 15th Battalion, Canadian Infantry (Central Ontario) Regiment. He is buried at the Railway Dugouts Burial Ground, Belgium. The Review of June 29, 1916 noted that he was well known in the city and lived with his parents prior to the war.
The name of James Davenport is inscribed on St. Peter’s Anglican Memorial Chancel Screen, the YMCA Honor Roll and the Cricket Club Honor Roll, as well as on the Courthouse and Cenotaph plaques. Miss Helen Hammond, who taught at least three generations of elementary school children in her long teaching career here, was a niece of James Davenport.