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Private Reginald Todd - 51374 - Middlesex Regiment


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I am trying to trace any information about Private Reginald Todd who served in the Middlesex Regiment. However, as I look into him, I find areas that seem to contradict each other and wondered if anyone can help?

Reginald Todd was a conductor on the tramways in St Helens on the 1911 census and had then moved across to Bishop Auckland to marry Lillie A M Dixon in 1913. He died on 30th November 1918 and his record shows "died" and he is buried in Bishop Auckland Cemetery so I'm wondering whether he was wounded and brought home or died from flu perhaps. The family always said that he never came home but obviously that is not true.

His medal index appears to show that he was a Driver with Regimental number 5/51374 but also that he served with the RASC again as a Driver with regimental number 015486.

He looks to have enlisted in 1915 because he was awarded the 1915 star and is shown as serving in France from 1915 - looks like maybe 25th August 1915. There is also reference to his rank being amended but everywhere else he is referred to as Private so I'm not sure what to make of this?


When I look at his details on SDGW, he is shown as having a regimental number of G/51374 and serving with 26th Battalion Duke of Cambridge's Own (Middlesex Regiment) with no reference to RASC. Having had a look at the battle honours and timeline in WW1 for the 26th Battalion, they seem to have been posted to Salonika not France so I am thinking I have managed to cross lines somewhere.

The fact he served in the Middlesex Regiment interests me too since he was living in Bishop Auckland/Morpeth in 1913 which is a way away from Middlesex and I wondered if this choice may have been connected to his job on the tramways at all? I thought at the outbreak of war, you could select a preference for your regiment but I know I may be wrong on that.

Any thoughts or information would be really appreciated.

Thank you


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As he's buried in Bishop Aukland, he'll have died at home, therefore he'll have a normal Death Certificate which will give details of the cause of Death.


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Of course, in the terminology of the War, "Died at Home" DOESN'T physically always mean "at HIS home", but "somewhere in the UK", so it may well be that he never came home ALIVE.

This seems to be his Death Registration

Name: Reginald Todd. Birth Date: abt 1891. Date of Registration: Dec 1918.
Age at Death: 27.Registration district: Lambeth, London. Volume: 1d. Page: 832.

so you can see (if that's him) he died in London and was brought "Home" for burial in Bishop Auckland.

I'm sure others will better answer your other puzzles, but often men transferred from Support units such as the Army Service Corps to a fighting unit to avenge the death of a close family member or to be seen to do his bit.

In Reg's case, he looks to have started out with the Middlesex (I assume the 26th Battalion is from SDGW) as a Private then to appointed as Corporal (and presumably a Lance Corporal first and served in France from 25 August 1915. He was therefore entitled to the 1914-15 Star which should have been engraved on the rim as Cpl 5/51374 Middlesex Reg't.

The "5" gives the clue that he served in the 5th Battalion in France as a Driver (quite unusual but given his experience with trams (as a conductor, though, I can't quite se him collecting fares on the way to the front - and not many return tickets!) that may explain his subsequent transfer to the RASC (the "Royal" didn't come in until 1918) so that gives a date context for his transfer, some time in 1918, when it became the RASC.

CWGC shows that at the time of his death he was attached to the Middlesex Regiment Base Depot, (presumably in or near Lambeth) so a hospital close to there would likely be where he died.

You could apply to the GRO for a copy of his death certificate which will probably give the cause of death - if that is him, of course!

Hope that helps until experts arrive

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I think the "5" on the MIC is actually a G

The G denotes General Service, ie for men enlisted for the Duration of War.

The 5th btn did not serve overseas and was a UK based training unit.

I would suggest that he served with another battalion of the Middlesex in France before being transferred to the 26th at a later date. Looking at the Long Long Trail website, there do not appear to be any Middlesex Battalions landing in France 25/8/15 so he may well have gone over as a replacement for a battalion already in theatre. You would need to see the Medal Roll at Kew to confirm this.

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I have had a look at other MIddlesex men with similar service numbers.

Of the nine men in the range 513xx having records in the Pension Files all served with the 26th Middx in Salonica, all entering Salonica in Feb 1917:

Eight of them transfered to the Middlesex from other units (from either Army Service Corps or Army Pay Corps)

At least one of these had served with the ASC in France prior to joining the Middlesex in Salonica.

The 51xxx service numbers seem to me very high for it to have been issued to Reginald Todd in time for him to enter France in August 1915, it may be that his time in France was with the ASC before joining the MIddlesex in Salonica in 1917. I should add that this is just supposition based on a very small sample of pension records, but i do not believe the Middlesex number 51374 was issued before late 1916/ early 1917

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The asterisk on the mic is quite important this refers the medals to the RASC and means that he qualified for the medals and went overseas while serving with them. The medals were inscribed to the unit a soldier was serving in when he went overseas but marked with the highest rank attained. It appears these medals were marked 'Driver' and returned to be amended to Corporal, in all probability this initially refers to the 14-15 Star the entries for which are in red ink.

This was probably done by his relatives as the medal was announced just a few days before his death.

Sorry to disagree with Kevin but although the mics usually list the units in chronological order top to bottom with millions of medals to be issued mistakes did occur.

I think you will find he is on the Middlesex Rolls (E prefix) which means that was his last unit and responsible for issuing the medals. The RASC Rolls have the prefix RASC and the Royal prefix dating his service to 1918 is a bit of a red herring, his medals should be inscribed 'ASC' although the correspondence and the Rolls,created after 1918, are RASC. The Middlesex Rolls are unlikely to show his ASC unit but simply ASC.

I agree the 5 is actually a ''G' (as on SDGW & CWGC) and used extensively by the Middx Regt. in their numbering. It's also possible his ASC number is incomplete as a quick look shows the 0154** series was often prefixed 2 to denote K2 or the second 100,000 of Kitchener volunteers, this accords more accurately with his date of entry into theatre.

The Salonika connection is interesting, especially as he is shown as 'died'. The Salonika campaign followed the historical pattern that more soldiers died of sickness than enemy action, although his death certificate will resolve it it may also give a clue for example malaria and dysentery were rife.

It's also likely the local papers covered his funeral, 'home' funerals were unusual and often big events fulfilling an expression of grief for the whole community.


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Re Malaria in Salonica - of the nine Pension files i looked at, a majority of the men were awarded pensions for Malaria

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I wanted to say thank you so much for all your replies - you are an amazing group with such incredible knowledge.

Thank you! I have some more avenues to go along including the local newspapers and his death certificate.

Best wishes


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