Bernard "Bert" Topham
served as Bert Richardson

Dec 21, 1893

Born in England


Jun 4, 1915

Attested into the 37th Battalion CEF at the Niagara, Ontario Camp under the name of Bert Richardson

Ø  Number 408193

Ø  Next of kin given as Mrs. Gorman, sister, Merrickville, Ontario

Ø  Previous occupation given as Labourer

Ø  No previous military experience given

Ø  Religion given as Church of England

Ø  Assigned to the battalion’s 2nd Regimental Draft


Aug 17, 1915

The battalion’s 2nd Reinforcing Draft embarked the SS Hesperian in Montreal, Quebec



Aug 28, 1915

Disembarked in Liverpool, England and proceeded to Shorncliffe where the entire draft was absorbed into the 17th Reserve Battalion to continue training


Dec 17, 1915

Sentenced to 27 days Field Punishment #2 and forfeited 27 days pay for being absent


Feb 3, 1916

Transferred to the 21st Battalion


Feb 5, 1916

Arrived at the CBD (Canadian Base Depot) in the Rouelles Camp, Havre, France and TOS (Taken On Strength) the 21st Battalion


Feb 17, 1916

After leaving the base depot, Private Richardson joined the 21st Battalion in the N & O front line trench system near Ridgewood, Belgium


Sep 15, 1916

The 21st Battalion was assigned the objective of capturing the sugar factory south of Courcelette, France as part of the battle of the Somme.  This was a strongly defended headquarters for the Germans and the fighting was severe.  It was the first occasion that the newly invented tanks were to be used in combat.  Private Richardson was killed in this action and first reported missing, then when his body was found, he was buried in nearby field by his comrades. 


The image below shows the approximate location of his initial
burial location, just east of Pozieres, France




When the war ended his identifiable remains could not be found and his name is listed on the Canadian National Vimy Memorial, Vimy Ridge, France for those killed during the war in France and have no known grave


Following the war, the British War Medal and Victory Medals were sent to Mr. Benjamin Topham, brother, 12 Rock St., Mansfield, England

There was no Memorial Cross issued


Aug 3, 1929

His true name is noted in the file and changed to read Bernard Topham


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