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Company Sergeant Major Christopher Topham


Harrogate Herald - 25th April 1917


Robert H Auton writes : 

After many weeks at various addresses I have found the Herald following on, but as now I am back with the battalion you might revert to the first address. The Herald affords me many hours of reading whilst in hospital, convalescent camp and base before here. Before proceeding further, I should like to express my thanks to the

Red Cross Institution for the many kindnesses shown to me whilst in their care, the smooth working of which is a marvel of organisation and a lasting debt to the British Tommy. To be between clean and white linen was heaven after leaving the trenches, and the few weeks rest was a Godsend indeed, although through the winter I never suffered from cold feet until I emerged from hospital. Prior to going in we had some trouble in respect to the weather. Water frozen, sometimes days without being able to wash; even bread and bully beef in the tins were frozen, so severe it was. after a week or two at the base I was returned to duty, and after a short time in the trenches we are out on rest for a few days, so the opportunity of writing a few lines I seized. I am better of the wound, but my nerves are very shaky yet, but hope to improve as time goes on. Today our division has completed two years' service, and now naturally all are asking "How long" before the dawn? George Weatherhead and Lance Corporal Bailes are still here and fit. I had the pleasure of meeting Sergeant Chris Topham last night, and had a cheery talk with him. At the base I found my old pal Jack Baxter still busy with the mails for the boys, and he is in the pink. Economy being the watchword at present, I will close. With kindest regards.


HH - 24th October 1917


Roll of Honour


The family of the late Mr T W Topham, of King's Road, Harrogate, and Mrs Topham, 3 Grove Terrace, Bradford, have been exceedingly unfortunate, Sergeant Major Christopher Topham being killed in action on October 9th. He joined the Harrogate Territorials in 1904, and was at Scarborough in training when the war broke out. He immediately went into training for the war on the Continent, and was drafted to France in April, 915. Before the war he was employed by Mr F Jackson, builder, Harrogate. His officer, writing to Mrs Topham, expresses his sorrow at her loss, and says : "Your son was sent to us as sergeant major, and he pulled the company together wonderfully, and made a very fine body of men. He is a greater loss to the battalion than any other man who lost his life that day. I had the greatest personal liking for him, and know all the other officers had the same. As far as I can make out he was killed while bravely leading the company, when all his officers were knocked out. I am sure it is the kind of death he would have chosen".


Corporal Arthur Topham(West Yorks), his brother, was wounded by shrapnel on Messines Ridge in trying to save a trench mortar, and has just returned to his battalion. Private Fred Topham, another brother, was wounded by gunshot in the right arm on June 5th, and is now an inmate or the Jericho Military Hospital, Berwick. Another brother, Staff Sergeant Gordon Topham, late of the West Yorks, is with the AVC in Egypt. The above are the grandsons of the late Mr W Topham and the late Mr Christopher & Mrs Hodgson, of West Park, Harrogate.


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