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Eric Davidson (survivor)

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John "Eric" Davidson May 10, 1915—September 9, 2009 was one of the last survivors of the Halifax Explosion He was 2 and 1/2 years old when he was blinded by the Halifax Explosion on December 6, 1917 At the time of his death in 2009, Davidson was the penultimate living survivor with permanent injuries from the Halifax Explosion, which killed more than 1,600 people

Davidson was born to parents Georgina née Williams and John William Davidson He was blinded by shattered glass in the explosion, which occurred due to the collision between the SS Mont-Blanc and the SS Imo At the time of the accident, Davidson was in his family's living room with his mother and sister He was playing with his toy train on the window sill The family was alerted to the collision by smoke rising from the harbour Davidson was facing the glass windows when the blast occurred The force of the explosion shattered the glass, completely blinding him

Davidson and his family moved to Halifax Commons, a makeshift camp set up for survivors of the Explosion He attended the Halifax School for the Blind, where he studied music However, Davidson preferred to pursue a career in auto mechanics, following his interests in cars His brothers would read him auto repair manuals and he would practise on old cars in his family's backyard, using his sense of touch and memory He later took an apprenticeship with a car dealership in Halifax and earned his auto mechanic’s licence

Davidson was interviewed numerous times about his experience as a key eyewitness and survivor Documented media coverage of Davidson spans decades, including a television interview in a CBC News piece first broadcast on December 1, 1957 Davidson also provided first person accounts of the attack to several books and publications, including The Survivors: The Children of the Halifax Explosion and Shattered City: The Halifax Explosion and the Road to Recovery

Davidson, who lived in the city's north end, was employed by the City of Halifax as a mechanic until his retirement in 1980

According to Janet Kitz, author of the book Shattered City: The Halifax Explosion and the Road to Recovery which chronicles the disaster, Davidson's death left just one living survivor still receiving a pension for long-term injuries sustained in the explosion

Later life and death

Davidson resided in Berwick for the last few years of his life He died on September 9, 2009, at Grand View Manor in Berwick, Nova Scotia, at the age of 94 He was survived by his wife, Mary, three children and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren His funeral was held at the United Memorial Church in Halifax

References

  1. ^ a b c d e "Halifax Explosion survivor dies" CBC News 2009-09-10 Retrieved 2009-10-01 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Mellor, Clare 2009-09-10 "Halifax Explosion survivor dies - Blinded in blast, Eric Davidson's 'life well-lived' included career as car mechanic" The Chronicle Herald Retrieved 2009-10-01 
  3. ^ Mr John "Eric" Davidson 1915-2009 Obituary
  4. ^ "The Halifax Explosion: Surviving the disaster" CBC Digital Archives 1957-12-01 Retrieved 2011-12-29 

Further reading

  • The Survivors: The Children of the Halifax Explosion, Janet Kitz, Nimbus Publishing, 1992

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Eric Davidson (survivor)


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    29.10.2014


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