BERTIE FRANCIS TODD 1891–1915
Lance Sergeant Bertie Todd
Nottingham Evening Post 9th June 1915
Born September 1891, Radcliffe on Trent
Baptised 29th November 1891 St Mary’s Church, Radcliffe on Trent
Killed in action May 9th 1915, France. Age 23
Commemorated on Ploegsteert Memorial panel 1, Belgium, Radcliffe on Trent War Memorial and his sister’s grave in Radcliffe on Trent cemetery.
Radcliffe on Trent School Register
Admitted to school on 29.4.1895
Bertie was at school and lived at Fern Leigh, The Harlequin, Radcliffe on Trent with his father William, mother Harriet and nine brothers and sisters: Sabina, age 22, Walter 19, George 17, Percy 15, Albert 13, Dorothy 7, Emma 5, Annie 3 and Arthur 2. His father was a railway signalman. The house had six rooms.
Regular soldier in the 2nd Battalion Sherwood Foresters, stationed at Crownhill Fort, Plympton St Mary and Egg Buckland, Devon. His parents were still living at the Harlequin, Radcliffe on Trent with seven of their children Sabina, age 32, George 27, married and a law clerk, Albert 23, a plumber’s labourer, Dorothy Mary 17, Emma Ada 15, Florence Annie 13 (all three were dressmakers apprentices) and Arthur Edward 11.
Rank: Private, later Lance Sergeant
Service Number: 11259
Military Unit: 1st Battalion, The Sherwood Foresters, 24th Brigade, 8th Division
Theatre of War: France and Flanders, date of entry 4.11.14. Total war service abroad 6 months
War service prior to 1914
Joined army reserves, 21.9.1909, Private 4025, and posted to 4th Battalion, The Sherwood Foresters.
Joined Regular forces January 1910, Derby (1st Battalion, The Sherwood Foresters)
Age: 18 years, 4 months. Height: 5ft 4ins.
Weight 121 lbs. Chest 35½ ins. Eyes blue. Hair light brown.
Occupation: farm labourer. Religion: Church of England
Examined and found fit for service in India in 1911
27.9.1911: Embarked at Southampton for India
1st Battalion was in Bombay, India August 1914, returning to England, landing Plymouth 2 October 1914 and moved to Hursley Park coming under orders of 24th Brigade, 8th Division. Landed at Le Havre 5 November 1914. “Brigade attached for purposes of giving instruction to 23rd Division, 18 October 1915 to 15 January 1916”.
Military Service from August 1914
4.11.14: Posted, served with ‘B’ Company, 1st Bn The Sherwood Foresters
27.1.15: Appointed Acting Corporal
18.3.15: Appointed acting Lance Sergeant
18.4.15: Appointed paid Lance Sergeant
March 15: fought in and survived the Battle of Neuve Chapelle
9.5.15: Killed in action in the attack on Rouge Bancs, France during the Second Battle of Artois
The following summary, written by John Morse and available on the Nottinghamshire Great War Roll of Honour, entry for Charles Dean, records what happened on that day to the men of the 1st Battalion, The Sherwood Foresters:
From the War diaries of the 1st Battalion Sherwood Foresters, 8th to 10th May 1915
“On 9 May 1915 the battalion attacked Rouge Blancs, going over the top at 6.10 am. The British artillery barrage had been totally inadequate and the enemy positions had hardly been touched. Eight machine guns faced the men as they went forward. ‘B’ Company managed to get within 40 yards of the enemy wire but found it uncut, except for one four yard gap. An order came to ‘stop advance’ and Major Morley ordered ‘B’ and ‘D’ companies to fall back behind the breastwork and reorganize. At 7.35 am, ‘A’ and ‘C’ companies advanced in support of the East Lancashire’s, with ‘B’ and ‘D’ companies following, but once again machine gun fire checked the move and the men lay in the open at whatever point they had reached. At 1.15pm the enemy brought enfilade fire to bear and the men were ordered back to the breastwork again. At 7.30,pm, the enemy opened up with High Explosive artillery and caused many casualties. At 10 pm, the battalion was relieved and moved back to Rouge de Bout.” (note: Rouge de Bout is a misspelling of Rue de Bois)
Letter written by Bertie Todd from the Western Front
Copy of a letter written by Bertie Todd eight days before his death. An extract from the letter was published in the Nottingham Evening Post and the full letter is courtesy of the Radcliffe on Trent Local History Society.
Total Military Service: 5 years 115 days
Medals Awarded: 1914 Star, British War and Victory Medals (signed for by father 13.11.21 who also signed for his effects)
Effects sent home included photos, letter, Gospel of St John, army book. Bertie Todd’s death is recorded on his sister Maisie’s grave in Radcliffe on Trent cemetery.
The Ploegsteert Memorial commemorates over 11,000 servicemen who have no known grave. Most were killed in day to day trench warfare or in small scale attacks.
Reasons for inclusion on Radcliffe on Trent Roll of Honour
Lived in Radcliffe on Trent with parents and siblings.