Osmond Elim D’Avigdor Goldsmid: Jewish Activist

Osmond D’Avigdor and his parents emigrated from Vienna in 1877 (although originally of Dutch-Jewish ancestry), and settled in Bushy, Hertfordshire. They later moved to Somerhill, Tonbridge in Kent which was their primary address.  He was educated at Trinity College in Cambridge and had a pre-war career in finance.

Osmond Elim D’Avigdor, Ancestry.co.uk

He inherited the Baronetcy and estates from his cousin Sir Julian Goldsmid in 1896 as Sir Julian had eight daughters and no sons.  He also inherited estates in Berkshire, Surrey and Sussex which included houses in Palmeira Square. At this point, Osmond added ‘Goldsmid’ to his surname. The streets of Hove include Osmond Road, Davigdor Road and Goldsmid Road.

Nevill Hospital in Hove. mage taken from Judy Middleton, Hove and Portslade in the Great War (Barnsley: Pen & Sword Books, 2014)

Osmond married Rose Alice Ann Landau in 1907 in Paris, France and they lived in Kent.  They had three children; Henry Joseph (1909 – 1976), Cynthia Odette (1910 – 1915), James Arthur (1912 – 1987). 

He lent one of his houses to another wealthy Jewish woman, Fanny Barnato during the First World War to use as a military hospital during WW1. He resided in Brighton during WW1 too. He also lent one of his houses (24
Palmeira Square) to Lady Nevill to use as the ‘neurological section of the Second Eastern General hospital’ for ‘nerve afflicted soldiers’ during the war to give soldiers a better chance of recovery.

The Lady Nevill Hospital opened on 17 March 1917 as the ‘neurological section of the Second Eastern General hospital’. (Lord and Lady Nevill lived nearby at 22 Palmeira Square, Lord Nevill was honorary treasurer of the hospital’s fund-raising effort, and their daughter-in-law, Mrs Guy Nevill, was its superintendent). 1 ‘The loan of the house was, however, one of the many war-liberalities of Mr D’Avigdor Goldsmid.’ 2

That seems to be his only connection to Sussex as his main residence was in Kent, where he was active in local affairs. During this time, his daughter died aged five years whilst they lived in Brighton.

He joined the Royal Army Service Corp in 1914 and rose to be Lt -Col and was mentioned in dispatches. He was very active in Jewish affairs and was a member of several associations and travelled to Israel and Palestine.

Joined the Royal Army Service Corp in 1914 and served in France and was mentioned in dispatches twice and rose to be Lt – Col. Royal Army Service Corp, served in France from 13.12.1914

1914-15 = Lieutenant + Awarded STAR, Captain

1914-20 = Lieutenant Col + Awarded British War Medal and Victory Medal

After WWI he remained in business as Director of Constructive Finance and Investment Company from 1924 to 1938 and was very active in both local and general affairs.  He devoted his life to public service in Kent as Justice of the Peace and member of the Masons.  He became a Baronet in 1934.

He was also very active in Jewish affairs and was President of the Anglo-Jewish Association, President of the British Board of Deputies, Chairman of the Jewish Colonization Association and Treasurer of the Jewish Memorial Council.

For a prominent man there is little mention of him or his family in local newspapers.  Also whilst his army record is good it has been difficult to find his service number and full military record. We were unable to find where he is buried.

Osmond was survived by his wife and two sons when he died in 1940.  Osmond’s wife died aged 87 in London on 8th January 1968.

1 Judy Middleton, Hove and Portslade in the Great War (Barnsley: Pen & Sword Books, 2014), available in the Local History section of Jubilee library 2  H.M. Walbrook, Hove and the Great War: a Record and A review together with the Roll of Honour and List of Distinctions (Hove: The Cliftonville Press, 1920), p.20. The book is held in The Keep’s Reference section.