Corporal Victor William Todman

Regiment:  26th Battalion Royal Fusiliers (City of London)
Service No:  B/19529
Date and place of birth: 2nd qtr 1895 in Midhurst, Sussex
Date and place of death: 16 September 1916 in France

Family background

Victor William Todman was baptised in Midhurst Parish Church on 30 June 1895 and was the second son of Arthur and Kate Todman. Arthur, born in Midhurst in 1861, had married Kate Goldring in 1892 at Midhurst. She was born in Westbourne, Sussex in 1870. Their first son Lawrence died in 1899 aged 5.

In 1911 Arthur (49) was a Jobmaster on his own account advertising ‘Horses and Carriages for hire at moderate charges’, operating from his home in Rumbolds Hill at the corner with Duck Lane. (His mother operated a similar business in West Street, Midhurst in the 1880s.) Living with him were his wife Kate (41) a dressmaker on her own account and Victor (15) at school.

Midhurst Grammar School Pupil Admissions 1903 – 1916 records Victor Todman being admitted on 22 September 1903. Prior to this he had attended Miss Fish’s private school. During his time at the grammar school he passed the Oxford junior local exam. He left on 4 April 1912 to become a bank clerk.

Military service

The 26th (Bankers) Battalion was formed in London on 17 July 1915 by The Lord Mayor and City of London. It was mainly composed of former bank clerks and accountants. In November 1915 it came under the command of the 124th Brigade of the 41st Division. It landed in France on 4 May 1916 and was based in Hazebrouck and Bailleul.

The Battalion was involved in the Battle of Flers-Courcelte (15 to 22 September 1916).  This was the first battle in which tanks (49 in total) were used by the British Army. The 41st Division suffered over 3,000 casualties.

Victor William Todman was awarded Victory and British medals.

Death and commemoration

The grave of Corporal Victor William Todman at  Grove Town Cemetery, Meaulte
The grave of Corporal Victor William Todman at Grove Town Cemetery, Meaulte

He died of wounds on 16 September 1916 in France and is buried in Grove Town Cemetery Meaulte, grave I.C.18.

He is commemorated on Midhurst War Memorial, Memorial Panels in Midhurst Parish Church and on the Board at Midhurst Rother College. There is also a stone cross in Midhurst Cemetery to his memory.

Memorial to Victor William Todman in Midhurst Cemetery
Memorial to Victor William Todman in Midhurst Cemetery

The Battalion has its own memorial in Flers commemorating the liberation of that village. The memorial is topped by a soldier in full battle dress.  The same figure was used for the Royal (London) Fusiliers Memorial in High Holborn, London dedicated to the 22,000 soldiers from the Regiment who lost their lives in the First World War.

Subsequent family history

Arthur Todman died in 1932, aged 70 and Kate Todman in 1956, aged 85, both in Midhurst.

Midhurst U3A WW1 War Memorial Project