Willie Davison was born 1 September 1899 in the United Kingdom. He saw service in the Royal Navy in the First World War. He then came to New Zealand in 1920 as part of the ships company of HMS Chatham and elected to transfer to the New Zealand Division of the Royal Navy in 1923. As Yeoman of Signals in 1928, with his service term up, he joined the Naval Volunteer Reserve. He was later awarded the Royal Naval Volunteer Decoration in recognition of his long service and good conduct. He re-joined the Navy ‘until the end of the present emergency’ in 1941, initially being posted to the shore installation Philomel. He subsequently served on the cruisers HMNZS’ Achilles and Gambia and then in HMNZS Cook before he was discharged in 1946.
- British War Medal - Recognises the successful conclusion of the First World War. Its coverage was later extended to recognise service until 1920, recognising mine clearing operations at sea, and participation in operations in North and South Russia, the eastern Baltic, Siberia, the Black Sea and the Caspian.
- Victory Medal - Was issued to all those who had already qualified for the 1914 Star or the 1914-15 Star, and to most persons who had already qualified for the British War Medal. It was awarded to all New Zealand troops serving overseas, except for those who arrived in Samoa after 30 August 1914 and those serving in Great Britain only. It is also sometimes referred to as the "Allied War Medal", because the same basic design and double rainbow ribbon were adopted by 13 other allied nations.
- 1939-1945 Star - Recognises service in the Second World War. It was usually awarded for six months service in special operational areas. Those whose service was shortened by death, injury or capture or who were awarded a decoration or mentioned in despatches also qualified for the medal. Those who served a day or more in specified battles or invasions also qualified for this award. The ribbon has three equal vertical stripes of dark blue (symbolising Navy and Merchant Navy), red (symbolising Army) and light blue (representing Air Force).
- Atlantic Star - Awarded to personnel who served an additional 6 months in Home (United Kingdom), Atlantic or North Russian waters after first qualifying for the 1939-45 Star. The ribbon is water silk coloured blue, white and green. These colours symbolise service in the Atlantic Ocean, and in UK and North Russian waters.
- Pacific Star (Burma Clasp) - The Pacific Star was awarded for operational service in the Pacific between 8 December 1941 and 2 September 1945.It was also awarded for certain specified service in China and Malaya (8 December 1941 - 15 February 1942), Hong Kong (8 December 1941 - 25 December 1941) and Sumatra (8 December 1941- 23 March 1942). Service in the areas after these end dates was recognised by the award of the Burma Star. Those who qualified for both were awarded both of these awards were given thefirst star they qualified for, with a clasp in respect of the second star. The Green stripes on the ribbon symbolise the jungle while the central yellow stripe symbolises the beach. The outer red stripes symbolise the Army while the dark blue stripe symbolises the Navy and Merchant Navy and the light blue stripe symbolises the Air Force.
- War Medal - Awarded across the British Commonwealth to all fulltime members of the Armed Force for 28 days service between 3 September 1939 and 2 September 1945 irrespective of where they were serving. On one side is an effigy of King George VI. On the reverse is a lion trampling on a dragon symbolising the Axis powers. The ribbon is the red, white and blue of the (British) Union Flag.
- New Zealand War Service Medal - Awarded for 28 days' full time service or six months' part time service in any of the New Zealand Armed Forces, the New Zealand National Military Reserve or the Home Guard between 3 September 1939 and 2 September 1945. Eligible part time Home Guard Personnel must have completed their six months' part time service between 16 August 1940 and 1 January 1944 (the Home Guard was disbanded in December 1943). It was the first distinctively 'New Zealand' war service medal, which was emphasised by the use of the fern leaf motif on the suspender and the reverse of the medallion, and the national colours of black and white on the ribbon.
- Royal Fleet Reserve Long Sevice and Good Conduct Medal - Similar to the Royal Naval Reserve Long Service and Good Conduct Medal but with ring suspension, rather than bar suspension. Awarded for 15 years in the Royal Fleet Reserve.