Private William Donaldson Todd


William Donaldson Todd was born on 7 January 1897 at 42 Distillery Street, Belfast, the only child of pavoir James Todd and his wife Sarah Lizzie (née Donaldson). By the time of the 1911 Census he was living with his parents at 61 Grosvenor Road, Belfast, and working as a message boy.

Todd enlisted in the North Irish Horse between 4 and 10 June 1915 (No.1684). He trained at the regiment's Antrim reserve camp before embarking for France in 1916 or the first half of 1917, where he was posted to one of the squadrons of the 1st or 2nd North Irish Horse Regiments.

In August-September 1917 the 2nd NIH Regiment was disbanded and its men, together with some surplus to the needs of the 1st NIH Regiment, were transferred to the Royal Irish Fusiliers, an infantry regiment. Most, including Todd, were transferred on 20 September and posted to the 9th (Service) Battalion – renamed the 9th (North Irish Horse) Battalion – joining it in the field at Ruyaulcourt five days later. Todd was issued regimental number 41319 and posted to C Company.

He probably saw action with the battalion at the Battle of Cambrai in November and December 1917.

Todd was one of the many posted as missing following the 9th (NIH) Battalion's fighting withdrawal from St Quentin from 21 to 28 March 1918 during the German spring offensive. It was later learned that he had been on captured 27 March at Erches, near Roye, when much of the battalion had been overwhelmed by the fast-moving German advance. Todd remained a prisoner until the end of the war, held at camps in Giessen and Bohain.

Following his repatriation, on 17 March 1919 Todd was demobilised and transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve. He was granted a pension for disabilities incurred while in the army, assessed at 20 per cent in April 1920.

After the war Todd returned to 61 Grosvenor Road and worked as a pavoir. On 10 July 1920 he married Annie Crozier Baxter in the Ballynafeigh Methodist Church, Belfast. He died in the Belfast City Hospital on 4 July 1968 and was buried in the City Cemetery, Glenalina Extension.