SKELTON - IN - CLEVELAND
"WE WILL REMEMBER THEM"
703 Rifleman JOHN TODD.
2nd, South African Rifles
Born North Skelton.
Died on the 20th of January 1917.
Son of Joseph Robson Todd and Rebecca Todd
of 3 Bolckow St, North Skelton, N Yorks.
Dar Es Salaam War Cemetery,
German East Africa, now Tanzania.
1901. John, aged 18, is living at 3 Bolckow St, North Skelton and working as a Grocer's apprentice. He had been born in North Skelton.
His father, Jacob R, age 39, is an Engine Fitter and had been born at Allenhead, Northumberland.
His mother, Hannah, was born in Skelton. She had 7 children and all were still living in 1911.
He has 3 brothers, Alfred, 20 and apprentice to his father, Robert, 11 and George 4.
And 2 sisters - Rebecca, 14 and Mary A, age 3.
1911. The family are still at 3 Bolckow St, but John's mother has died. Rebecca is the Housekeeper.
Robert it a labourer in the Mines and George is a Blacksmith's striker. A Grandson, Joseph, age 2 is living with them.
John is living at 64 Stranton St, Thornaby on Tees and working as a Grocery Assistant for the Stockton Co-operative Society.
He is married to Lizzy, age 30, and they have a little boy George Ronald, age 6 months.
Lizzy's parents George Thackray, an Engineer on a pension, age 66 and Sarah age 66 live with them.
The British had forced the Germans to surrender in West Africa in 1915.
The German colony of East Africa included what is now Burundi, Rwanda, and the mainland part of Tanzania.
It came into existence during the 1880s and ended during World War I, when the area was taken over by the British.
Colonial trade and jealousy over possessions was one of the causes of the war.
General Paul Erich von Lettow-Vorbeck, the Colony's military commander with only a force of 3,000 Europeans & 11,000
native levies, called Askaris, opposed a British/Imperial army 300,000 strong.
The country was ideal for the hit and run guerilla tactics he used.
Up to the end of 1916 the Allied army was under the command of the former Boer War Commander Jan Smuts.
The Germans fought here until after the armistice in Europe and cost some 60,000 allied casualties.
East Africa was a region where tropical diseases could take a heavy toll of unacclimatised troops and for every men
the Allies lost in battle during the campaign, a further thirty were lost through sickness.
How North Skeltoner John Todd came to be in the S African Rifles and how he met his end amid all this is not known.