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© Barns Green - A Local History of The Great War 2014
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Charles Gordon Loftus Tottenham (1888-1915) - Captain Royal Engineers Charles   Gordon   Loftus   Tottenham    was   born   in   Hobart,   Tasmania   on   the   11 th    October 1888,   the   youngest   child   of   Major   General   Henry   Loftus   Alexander   Tottenham   and   his   wife Helen Winifred (nee Brown). His   father   had   served   in   the   British   Indian   Army   with   the   Bengal   Staff   Corps   and   38 th    Native Infantry   until   his   early   retirement   in   1885   at   which   point   he   moved   to   Tasmania,   where Charles   was   born.   Henry   died   in   Tasmania   in   1896   and   two   years   later   the   family   –   Charles, his mother, and his older brother and sister, returned to England. By   1901   the   family   were   living   in   Lambeth   and   Charles   was   a   pupil   at   Dulwich   College. From   here,   in   1905,   he   applied   for   entry   to   the   Royal   Military   Academy,   graduating   with   a commission as 2 nd  Lieutenant Royal Engineers in December 1907. After   two   years   further   training   at   Chatham   and   Portsmouth   he   was   promoted   to   full Lieutenant   in   May   1910.   In   July   1910   he   followed   his   father   into   the   Indian   Army   and   a posting   with   the   First   Sappers   and   Miners   (King   George’s   Own).   This   was   a   temporary posting   however   and   the   1911   census   finds   him   as   Officer   Commanding   2 nd    Queen’s   Own Sappers and Miners in Rangoon. By   this   time   his   mother   had   moved   to   Trout   Cottage   in   Barns   Green   where   she   was   to   live for a number of years before moving back to London at the end of the war. In   October   1914   Charles   had   been   promoted   to   Captain   and   towards   the   end   of   the   year   he   was   called   back   to   base   in   Roorkee   in northern India and drafted to France, arriving there on the 29 th  November. As   a   supernumerary   officer   most   of   the   next   three   months   were   spent   at   base   in   Rouen   waiting   for   a   command   position   to   arise   but   on 9 th    March   1915   he   was   attached   to   the   4 th    Company   1 st    (King   George   V’s   Own)   Bengal   Sappers   and   Miners   and   sent   to   the   front   at Vieille Chappelle. This excerpt from a report in the West Sussex County Times of 17 th  April 1915 tells the rest of the story. “It   was   about   5pm   on   the   29 th    March   when   Captain   Tottenham   went   out   with   a   working   party   of   a   hundred   men   and   worked   with   them in   the   trenches   until   about   12.30   at   night.   On   completion   of   his   task   he   put   his   head   above   the   parapet   to   have   a   look   at   the   enemy   and whilst doing so was shot to the head.” Charles   died   of   his   wounds   the   following   day.   Although   originally   buried   on   the   battlefield   his   body   was   reinterred   after   the   war   at Cabaret-Rouge British Cemetery. He is remembered on Itchingfield War Memorial. For his service Charles was awarded the 1914/15 Star, the Victory Medal and the British War Medal. His service record survives and can be found at the National Archives in Kew.
The Fallen