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Herbert Ward Topham

Herbert Ward Topham


Herbert was the son of George How Topham and Martha Topham; he was born in Tempsford, Bedfordshire, on 26 March 1881. The family was living at Jesus College Farm, Caxton End, Eltisley and farming land at Jesus College Farm and Manor Farm.

We know from Herbert’s regimental number of 560 that he enlisted in the Bedfordshire Yeomanry between mid-February and the end of April 1910. As a serving member of the Yeomanry before the War, Herbert would have been eligible to serve in the 1/1st, which was destined for overseas service, but we know that at some point after September 1914 Herbert was transferred to the 2/1st and that he did not serve abroad.

At the end of December 1915 Herbert was at the Bedfordshire Yeomanry Camp in the Chelmsford area, when he was taken ill with rheumatic fever, and was transferred to the Glen Red Cross Hospital in Southend-on-Sea. We do not know if Herbert had suffered from Scarlet Fever or Rheumatic Fever earlier in his life and this was a recurrence, or if he had had a throat infection recently which had triggered off the rheumatic fever, but on this occasion his illness was accompanied by an additional complication which affected Herbert’s heart, and he died at the hospital, on Friday, 7 January, 1916 aged 34 years.

Herbert is buried in Eltisley Churchyard; the inscription on his stone reads :

For King and Country

In Loving Memory of Herbert

Eldest son of Geo. How and Martha Topham

Born 26 March 1881

Died 7 January 1916

Nearer, my God, to thee, nearer to thee




Herbert Ward Topham
Private 560, 2nd/1st Bedfordshire Yeomanry

26 March 1881 – 7 January 1916
(aged 34)

  Herbert is buried in Eltisley Churchyard.

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