Sunday, January 01, 2012

"To the Men of Muncaster"

1. Ordinary Telegraphist Gilbert Todd, R.N. 
First Muncaster casualty of WW2 (HMS Royal Oak)
[Photograph courtesy of 'The Whitehaven News']
2. Muncaster War Memorial, Ravenglass
Dedication: "To the Men of Muncaster"
3. (Detail): Names of 'The Fallen' of WW1
4. (Detail): Names of 'The Fallen' of WW2
For additional information click on 'Comments' below.


Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Additional information

(a) Muncaster War Memorial

The Muncaster War Memorial seen above is situated adjacent to the main road between Barrow-in-Furness and Gosforth (near Seascale) at the road junction leading to the coastal village of Ravenglass. There is another WW1 memorial inside the nearby Muncaster Parish Church.

Originally dedicated to commemorate 'The Fallen' of Muncaster parish of WW1 (or the 'Great War' as it usually referred to at the time) the Muncaster War Memorial lists the names of 14 men of the district from the 1914 - 1918 war. After WW2, an additional 7 names were added of those who lost their lives in the 1939 - 1945 war.

The dedication reads as follows:

To the men of Muncaster who fell in the Great War.

These are the names listed on the memorial:

(i) 1914 - 1918

William Ainsworth
Robert Anderson
Henry Birkett
Bob Cowan
William Cowan
David B. Jackson
Edgar J. Kneale
Joseph Massicks
Rev. George S. Pardoe
James Scott
William Tyson
Edward Wardle
Joseph Yeowart

(ii) 1939 - 1945

George H. Baker
Donald P.V. Gibb
John Jackson
James Palmer
John M. Parminter
Gilbert Todd
James Todd

Monday, 02 January, 2012  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

(b) The Todd family
(From Ravenglass, Cumberland)

Gilbert and James Todd, two of the WW2 service casualties from the Muncaster district listed on the War Memorial were brothers. They were the sons of James Martindale Todd and Emily Todd (nee Whinfield) of Hinning House, Ravenglass, Cumberland (now Cumbria). James Todd (Jnr.) was born in 1915 and was 27 years old at the time of his death in 1942. Gilbert Todd, whose photograph is seen above, was born in 1920 and was 19 years old when he died in October 1939.

James Martindale Todd had married Emily Whinfield in 1908. In addition to Gilbert and James (Jnr.) their other children were Myles (born 1911), Edith (born 1913), Tom (born 1917), William M. (born 1922) and Tyson (born 1924). The children had been educated initially at Muncaster Council School.

The six boys were well known before the war in sporting circles throughout the twin counties of Cumberland and Westmorland. In particular, Gilbert, James and their brothers were noted expert wrestlers (Cumberland & Westmorland style) at local sports and shepherd's meetings.

Ordinatry Telegraphist Gilbert Todd was among the first Second World War casualties from West Cumberland after HMS Royal Oak was sunk while at harbour in Scapa Flow in the early hours of the morning of Saturday 14 October 1939. From a crew which numbered more than 1200, a total of 833 men were lost and 386 were saved from the sea (a small number were ashore at the time). The vessel was sunk by German U-Boat, U-47, commanded by Günther Prien.

After completing his formal education at Ghyll Bank School, Whitehaven Gilbert Todd had joined the Royal Navy at the age of 17 in 1937. At that time he joined the training ship HMS Victory and trained as a wireless operator. He had joined the crew of HMS Royal Oak in June 1939.

Gilbert Todd has no known grave. He is commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial, Hampshire. However, a memorial service in his memory was held at Muncaster Parish Church at 3.00 p.m. on Sunday 22 October 1939. The service was conducted by the Vicar, Reverend A. Partridge who paid tribute to Gilbert and his family. Reverend Partridge also expressed the deepest sympathy to all of Gilbert's crewmates who had perished in the disaster of Scapa Flow. The local newspaper report of the service noted that among the large congregation were many ex-service personnel of the First World War and a detachment from the Border Regiment led by Corporal Burns.

While Glbert Todd was the first man of Muncaster parish to lose his life in WW2 he was not to be the last, and one of them would be another member of the Todd family. Just under two years later, in October 1942, James Todd was also to lose his life while serving with the Royal Marines (HMS Curacoa). As with his brother, James Todd has no known grave. James Todd is commemorated on the Chatham Naval Memorial as well as the Muncaster Parish War Memorial.

Monday, 02 January, 2012  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

(c) Gilbert Todd and James Todd
CWGC citations

Below are the CWGC citations for Gilbert and James Todd:

(i) Gilbert Todd

Casualty Details
Initials: G
Nationality: United Kingdom
Rank: Ordinary Telegraphist
Regiment/Service: Royal Navy
Unit Text: H.M.S. Royal Oak
Age: 19
Date of Death: 14/10/1939
Service No: P/SSX 25723
Additional information: Son of James Martindale Todd and Emily Todd, of Ravenglass, Cumberland.
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
Grave/Memorial Reference: Panel 34, Column 3.

(ii) James Todd

Casualty Details
Initials: J
Nationality: United Kingdom
Rank: Marine
Regiment/Service: Royal Marines
Unit Text: H.M.S. Curacoa.
Age: 27
Date of Death: 02/10/1942
Service No: CH/X 2161
Additional information: Son James Martindale Todd and Emily Todd, of Ravenglass, Cumberland.
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
Grave/Memorial Reference: 65, 3.

(d) Other WW2 casualties from Muncaster

One WW2 casualty linked to Muncaster parish who is not listed on the War memorial is Sergeant James Roy Cowsill, RAFVR (56 Squadron). This is his CWGC citation:

(iii) James Roy Cowsill

Casualty Details
Initials: J R
Nationality: United Kingdom
Rank: Sergeant
Regiment/Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Unit Text: 56 Sqdn.
Age: 20
Date of Death: 13/07/1940
Service No: 741936
Additional information: Son of Charles Frederick Reginald and Nellie Cowsill, of Muncaster, Cumberland.
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
Grave/Memorial Reference: Panel 13.
Memorial: RUNNYMEDE MEMORIAL, Surrey (U.K.)

Below are the CWGC citations for some of the other WW2 casualties connected to Muncaaster parish:

(iv) John Moore Parminter

Casualty Details
Initials: J M
Nationality: United Kingdom
Rank: Gunner
Regiment/Service: Royal Artillery
Unit Text: 5 Field Regt.
Age: 32
Date of Death: 01/09/1943
Service No: 1461834
Additional information: Son of Percy William and Annie Moore Parminter;
Husband of Dorothy Parminter, of West Didsbury, Manchester.
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
Grave/Memorial Reference: 2. E. 5.

(v) George Henry Baker

Casualty Details
Initials: G H
Nationality: United Kingdom
Rank: Third Engineer Officer
Regiment/Service: Merchant Navy
Unit Text: S.S. Gretavale (Glasgow)
Age: 41
Date of Death: 02/11/1941
Additional information: Son of Ernest and Lizzie Baker, of Muncaster, Cumberland.
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
Grave/Memorial Reference: Panel 54.
Memorial: TOWER HILL MEMORIAL, London (U.K.)

(vi) Donald Percy Vincent Gibb

Casualty Details
Initials: D P V
Nationality: United Kingdom
Rank: Aircraftman 1st Class
Regiment/Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Date of Death: 13/11/1941
Service No: 1055732
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
Cemetery: GOSFORTH (ST. MARY) CHURCHYARD, Cumbria (U.K.)

Monday, 02 January, 2012  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

[NB John Jackson and James Palmer, listed on the Muncaster War Memorial, have still to be identified].

Acknowledgements & further reading

Cumbria County Archives & Library Service
(Whitehaven Records Office)

'The Whitehaven News'

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

To read the BBC "People's War" 'Fact File' about the sinking of the HMS Royal Oak, click on the following link:
Fact File : HMS 'Royal Oak' Torpedoed

Monday, 02 January, 2012  
Blogger Unknown said...

My 2great uncles Bob and William Cowan are commemorated here and in Muncaster church andWiillliam again at Barrow Central station. Their mother Elizabeth Hodgson Cowan was presented to the Prince of Wales-later Edward Vlll in 1921. I have a photo if you would like me to post it

Friday, 03 August, 2012  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Remembering those lost on HMS Royal Oak:

Around Remembrance time each year a team of Royal Navy divers based at Faslane travels to Scapa Flow to inspect the wreck of HMS Royal Oak. Additionally, as a mark of respect for e 883 seamen who lost their lives when the Royal Oak went down, the R.N. divers fix the a new standard to the hulk.

Following the visit of the divers in 2013 the group's leader, William Miller said:

“It is a rare and great privilege to have the opportunity to dive on such a symbol of naval heritage. It is extremely moving to be able to take part in a small act of remembrance to honour the great sacrifice that those before us made.”

To read an article about the annual Royal Oak ceremony and Ordinary Telgraphist Gilbert Todd of Muncaster, which appeared in the 'News & Star' a local newspaper from Gilbert Todd's home county of Cumbria, click on the following link:
Cumbrian Sailor Honoured Deep Beneath the Sea

Saturday, 09 November, 2013  
Anonymous Gilbert Todd said...

Gilbert and James were my uncles and I must point out that you have omitted two of their older brothers from your discription of the Todd family John (Jack ) and Edmond .
These were the two oldest sons of the family .

Sunday, 09 March, 2014  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Thank you for the additional information about your family, Gilbert. I presume you were given the first name of Gilbert in remembrance of your uncle?

Sorry about missing two of the siblings. The memorial service and the details of your family were mainly from local newspaper reports from the time and the elder two you mention were not known to the reporter. You are welcome to add anything else to the story I may have missed if you wish.

Saturday, 15 March, 2014  
Anonymous Gilbert Todd said...

You are quite correct in assuming I was named after my uncle Gilbert .My grandma asked my mother to name me so believing there might never be another Gilbert Todd and the rest is history .Unfortunately I never knew my grandparents or James and Gilbert never the less I am proud of their sacrifice
On another note Tom also served in the Navy and was wounded with shrapnel in his lungs somewhere in the far east I believe by a kamakaze attack on his vessel.Your post has aroused my interest and I intend to try and find out more

Tuesday, 18 March, 2014  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Thank you for the update, Gilbert. I can give you a little more information if it is of interest and you wish to follow up for the benefit of your own family.

The newspaper article about the memorial service at Muncaster for your Uncle Gilbert was in 'The Whitehaven News', dated Thursday 26 October 1939. It was the previous week's edition of 'The Whitehaven News' (19 October 1939) that mentioned he had been lost. The 19 October edition mentioned other among the crew of the 'Royal Oak' who had either been lost or had survived.

Also in the 19 October 1939 edition of 'The Whitehaven News' was the family notice (in the 'deaths' column) placed by your grandparents:

TODD - On October 14th, Gilbert, aged 19 years, the beloved son of James M. and Emily Todd, Hinninghouse, Ravenglass, Ordinary Telegraphist on H.M.S. Royal Oak. Deeply mourned.
Memorial service in Muncaster Church on Sunday the 22nd, at 3 p.m."

Copies are available to view at the Cumbria County Archives & Local Studies Centre at Whitehaven (which is where I looked at them). The fact your Uncle Gilbert was one of the first from the district to be killed in the war meant it was probably more prominent in the newspapers than later casualties. The original photograph I was able to copy at the Archives was probably loaned to the newspaper by your grandparents so you or another member of your family may still have the original?

The news about the death of your uncle James Todd seems to have come through in November 1942. It was reported in the local newspaper, 'The Whitehaven News' on 12 November and 19 November.

To read and article about Marine James Todd, R.M., which includes his photograph, click on the following link:
Marine James Todd, R.M., HMS Curacoa

I hope this may help you a little, Gilbert.

Sunday, 13 April, 2014  
Blogger tfvan said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Thursday, 03 December, 2015  
Blogger tfvan said...

Any relatives of Gilbert or James & the James Martindale Todd family or anyone who may know of the family, please contact me so we may correspond.... Tks, Bob Todd

Sunday, 20 December, 2015  

Post a Comment

<< Home