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Eric Gascoyne Cecil Todd

Portrait of Second Lieutenant Eric Todd in uniform 40457. Image kindly provided by Dugal Wilson (April 2018). Image may be subject to copyright restrictions.

Portrait of Second Lieutenant Eric Todd in uniform 40457. Image kindly provided by Dugal Wilson (Apr …


  • Title
  • Forenames
    Eric Gascoyne Cecil AWMM
  • Surname
    Todd AWMM
  • Ingoa
  • Also known as
  • Service number
    40457 AWMM
  • Gender
    Male AWMM
  • Iwi
  • Hapū
  • Waka
  • Rohe
  • Religion

Civilian life

About birth

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  • Birth
    21 November 1918 AWMM
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Birth notes
  • Address before enlistment
  • Post war occupation
  • Next of kin on embarkation
    Mrs E.C. Todd (mother), 320 Dee Street, Invercargill, New Zealand AWMM
  • Relationship status


Wars and conflicts

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  • War
  • Campaign
  • Armed force / branch
    Army AWMM
  • Service number
    40457 AWMM
  • Military service
  • Promotions/ Postings/ Transfers

Military decorations

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  • Medals and Awards

Training and Enlistment

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  • Military training
  • Branch Trade Proficiency
  • Enlistment
  • Occupation before enlistment
  • Age on enlistment


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Prisoner of war

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  • Capture details
  • Days interned
  • Liberation date
  • Liberation Repatriation
  • POW liberation details
  • POW serial number

Medical history

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  • Medical notes
    Died of Sickness, Cause of Death AWMM
    Died of sickness AWMM

Last known rank

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  • Last rank

Biographical information

Biographical information

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    • Son of Robert Nicholas and Elsie Gascoyne Todd, of Invercargill, Southland, New Zealand.

      Emergency Commission, Indian Army, London Gazette, 30 Janaury 1942. Commission 1 November 1941. AWMM
    • Eric Gascoyne Cecil Todd was born to Robert and Elsie Todd in Invercargill on 21/11/1918. He was educated at Southland Boys High (2yrs) Christs College, Christchurch (3yrs). He began working for the Maritime Department in Wellington but volunteered for service in 1940 and left NZ in June 1941 as part of a small detachment of NZ officers assigned to India where he was attached to the 19th Hydrabad Regiment of the Indian Army. He died in Assam on the Burmese border on June 21st 1942 of malaria. Public - Dugald - Other relative - 26 April 2018 - Family records
    • Second Lieutenant Eric Gascoyne Cecil Todd
      Eric Gascoyne Cecil Todd was born to Robert and Elsie Todd in Invercargill on 21/11/1918. He was educated at Southland Boys High (2yrs) Christs College, Christchurch (3yrs). He began working for the Maritime Department in Wellington as a clerk but volunteered for service in 1940.
      He entered training as an officer at Trentham on 7/1/1941 and was part of a small group chosen to be seconded to provide leadership in the Indian Army. He embarked on 27/6/1941 for India with the rank of Second Lieutenant and arrived on 16/7/1941 to continue officer training at the Belgaum Officer Training School near Bombay. The 300 trainees were predominantly English and Indian, but included a wide range of nationalities.
      Training included learning the working of the Indian Army, fighting and fieldcraft skills, physical fitness, and learning Urdu. Days were full and they obviously worked hard both physically and mentally. Eric had a bearer assigned to his personal care who would wake him each morning with a cup of tea and biscuits before training began at 7.00am. The NZ recruits performed well, no doubt able to handle some of the changes better than some of the English recruits. Learning Urdu would prove to be a challenge with personal tuition from a ‘munchi’, or teacher, as well as group lessons. He quickly discovered the long lasting qualities of khaki, having brought a lounge suit from NZ for the evening dinner served in the cool at 9pm. Such clothing was attacked quickly by local insects. He notes the interesting wildlife including snakes, frogs, crows, vultures, lizards, baboons, and monkeys, and the amazing variety of clothing worn by the natives. For a lad from little NZ with little exposure to the wider world the culture shock must have been immense. He seems to retain an attitude of interest and seeks to learn and understand. One of the learnings was that local shopkeepers were “magnificent salesmen!”
      Contact with home was by mail and the odd short telegram. Letters it seems took about 14/15 days to get through from NZ by airmail (longer going from India to NZ) and parcels of goodies (eg a cake from sister Catherine and oysters from Invercargill took a few months). News magazines like the Southern Cross and the Weekly News were devoured.
      In October 1941 he got news that he would be joining the 2nd Battalion of the 19th Hyderabad Regiment, based in Secunderabad. (Middle of India) He reports that not being able to speak Urdu fluently was a huge disadvantage. Platoon commanders did not speak English, as was the case with his bearer, but he found he could make himself understood. His comments on driving in India are interesting… “The driver has an infallible belief in the efficacious use of the horn which he thinks entitles him to the whole road, both edges and the middle, all the time.” He notes also the presence of goats, cows, and water buffalo wander around the roads and anywhere they fancy at will. They are almost as bad as the Indians themselves with the ability to occupy road space preferably the middle.” Maybe there is a touch of racism here, but he is also quick to praise the locals who were being trained as drivers as the Battalion was mechanized. He received the first trucks in the Battalion having been appointed as the Motor Transport Officer in charge of 60-70 trucks. The new drivers received 2 months training, “and considering they have never ridden anything faster than a bicycle they progress remarkably well.”
      Early in January 1942 he reports that he had spent 10 days in hospital with sandfly fever. He recovers quickly and continues to write of his good fitness.
      In mid February he writes that he is now at Fighting Vehicles School at Ahmednagar, Maharashtra. He was undertaking a Driving and Maintenance Course designed to make him proficient in the care of trucks. This was intensive but enjoyable study. It was hot, 110 deg F, but relaxation included the cin Public - Dugald Eric John - Other relative - 26 April 2020 - Letters from Eric to family
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About death

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  • Death
    23 June 1942 AWMM
    Age 23 AWMM
    AssamIndia AWMM
  • Date of death
  • Age at death
  • Place of death
  • Cause of death
  • Death notes
  • Cemetery
    Imphal War Cemetery, India AWMM 9. G. 1. AWMM
  • Cemetery name
  • Grave reference
  • Obituary
  • Memorial name
  • Memorial reference



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  • Memorial name

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Command item
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DateFirst namesLocationRelationshipContact
26 April 2020Dugald Eric JohnCHRISTCHURCHOther relative
26 April 2018DugaldNZOther relative
22 August 2016BrentChristchurch, New ZealandOther

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