C. J. Totham
Service no. G/20867
Private, Queen’s Own (Royal West Kent Regiment), then London Regiment, posted to 1st/20th Battalion
Born in Stockwell; enlisted in Camberwell
Killed in action on 2 June 1918, aged 18
CWGC: “Son of Arthur John and Emma Alice Totham, of 2a Tasman Road, Landor Road, Stockwell, London.”
Remembered at Dernancourt Communal Cemetery Extension, France
Information from the censuses
I have not found Charles Totham on the 1911 census, but his parents and siblings are registered at 32 Eastcote Street, Stockwell, where they had two rooms. Arthur John Totham, 33, was a “contractor’s carman” from Coggeshall, Essex;Emma Alice Totham, 33, was from Castle Combe, Wiltshire. Charles’s siblings were Lilian Annie Totham, 8, and Frederick Thomas Totham, 3, both born in Lambeth.
British Army WWI Service Records 1914-1920
When joining the Kings Royal Rifle Corps at Battersea on 10 March 1915, Charles Totham gave his age to the attesting officer as 18 years and 272 days and his occupation as “carman”.
Totham was posted to Winchester on 12 March and then to Sheerness on 19 March, but he was found out on 19 June 1915 and discharged, “having made a mis-statement as to age in enlistment.” He had served 102 days. He returned to his family at 24 Lingham Street, Stockwell.
He was a slight lad, although at 5 feet 3 inches and weighing 121 pounds with a 35 inch chest he was not unusual. Many recruits were similarly slender and he was judged fit to serve. But he was only 15, possibly 16.
Later, he joined the Queen’s Own and died, killed in action at age 18.