Gilbert Todhunter 1890-1915

Topics about the Regiment's earliest years from 1881.

Gilbert Todhunter 1890-1915

Postby igalex » Thu Jun 20, 2013 11:05 am

Hello. I'm trying to find out when (or even if) my Great Uncle Gilbert Todhunter of Keswick served in the Border Regiment, and if so in what capacity. He did serve in WW1, when he was killed by shellfire at Festubert in 1915, but by then he was a 2nd Lieutenant in the Canadian Army, having emigrated to Winnipeg in 1911, at the age of 21. His body is buried in the Commonwealth Military Cemetery at Pont-du-Hem, northern France.
I have a number of his belongings, mostly pertaining to his service as a signalling officer in the 10th Battalion, 106th Winnipeg Light Infantry, but included with them is a metal Border Regiment badge.
I also have a letter from Canon Rawnsley in his then capacity of Dean of Carlisle Cathedral, although Gilbert would have known him previously as the vicar of Crosthwaite Church, Keswick (he might well have helped training him in woodcarving & carpentry too, at his Keswick School of Industrial Arts). It's a standard letter to all Cumbrians off to war, and assumes (wrongly) that Gilbert was a Captain in the Border Regiment.
My third clue is that he is listed in the online Keswick War Memorial Roll of Honour (http://www.keswick-at-war.yolasite.com/), as having served in the Border Regiment for 6 years (ie from age 15) before emigrating.
Finally, although he was only a carpenter by trade, Gilbert was enlisted into the Canadian Army as a lieutenant, which suggests some prior service elsewhere to have reached an equivalent level.
These clues are individually pretty tenuous but together provide reasonable evidence that Gilbert did serve in the Border Regiment.
I'd be grateful for any suggestions as to how I might get this confirmed, since I have no Regimental service number to quote to enable the Regimental Museum to do a proper search.
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Re: Gilbert Todhunter 1890-1915

Postby spike » Thu Jun 20, 2013 12:29 pm

Hi,
Some suggestions for your further research....
Have you tried contacting the Border Regiment museum? Officers did not have service numbers, but they were more likely to feature in other ways which the museum could check for ie on orders, diaries etc
Have you tried contacting Steve at (http://www.keswick-at-war.yolasite.com/), to ask where he got his information from?
He was in the Border Regiment pre war-so there would be less battalions to search from, so I would try the
Border Regiment Museum, especially for pre war service.

He may , of course have not been an officer in the Border Regiment, a service that included the rank of NCO may
have been enough to obtain him a commission when he enlisted when war broke out.

I hope this has given you some thoughts to pursue....
SPIKE

LINK - Border Regiment in the Great War Websites
(right click and open in new tab)

In memory of -19455 Private John Farrer,
A Company 11th Border Regiment k.i.a. 1st July 1916
.
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Re: Gilbert Todhunter 1890-1915

Postby plbramham » Thu Jun 20, 2013 5:36 pm

Maybe he was six years in the Border Regiment Territorials !
Is the cap badge the standard one or does it have a number "4" or a "5" in the centre denoting that it s for the 4th or 5th territorial battalions?
Of course the cap badge may have ended up amongst his belongings because it belonged to a family member or friend? Maybe even a souvenir given to him by a Border Regiment soldier he bumped into in France and mentioned that he originated from the same county - stranger things happened!
I reckon the territorial idea may be worth following up though, Cheers Paul.
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Re: Gilbert Todhunter 1890-1915

Postby igalex » Tue Jun 25, 2013 4:00 pm

Gentlemen, many thanks for your prompt replies.

I have now been able to piece together Gilbert's military record thanks to my enquiries with the Border Regiment Museum, Steve at Keswick-at-War Memorial and yourselves.

His Border Regiment badge is pressed metal not cast so I did wonder if it was just a replica. I'm not a military man so I'm not sure what sort of badge I've got. It doesn't have a number in the middle, but it has two loops on the back, which would be fastened with a horizontal clip, just like one of his "Canada" badges. I have a larger "Canada" badge which has a vertical clip on the back; I'd assumed this larger one was a cap badge; if so I don't know where the other would be worn.

Anyway I have been sent a web link to a copy of his Attestation Paper for joining the regular Canadian army, upon which he states that he had spent 6 years in the Border Regiment and 3 years with the Canadian Militia. I have also examined in more detail a fragile and difficult-to-read cutting of his obituary from a local paper, which states the he was a signalling officer in the Territorials, and a printed letter from Canon Rawnsley (then Dean of Carlisle Cathedral) to all Cumbrians off to war in 1914, which is addressed to him as a captain.

So in summary it emerges that Gilbert did serve with the Border Regiment, as a signalling officer in the Territorials, apparently attaining the rank of Captain, before emigrating to Canada where he joined the local Militia (Territorials) in Winnipeg. At the outbreak of war he then enlisted in the Canadian Regular Army as a 2nd Lieutenant, and was still performing as a signalling officer when he died under shellfire at Festubert, Northern France.


Again, many thanks for your help

Ian
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Re: Gilbert Todhunter 1890-1915

Postby plbramham » Tue Jun 25, 2013 5:34 pm

igalex wrote: I don't know where the other would be worn.


My guess is that it's a collar badge - is it quite small, two rear lugs (loops) rather than a "slider" bar fixing, and no crown on top?
Being worn on the collar, the central dragon motif faces left or right depending on which side of the throat the badge is worn.(See photo)
Paul
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