|Cabinet Photograph (Slightly Trimmed)
W. & D. Downey - Photographer
57 & 61 Ebury Street, London, S.W., England
...being out numbered and surrounded they saw the better part of valour and surrendered their revolvers they habitually carried to the
Irish Republicans. An account of the kidnapping and it immediate aftermath appeared in the 28 June 1920 edition of The Times:
“The raiders, who arrived in two motorcars, took possession of General Lucas’s car and set off with their prisoners in the
direction of Cork. Soon afterwards Colonel Danford made a courageous but unsuccessful attempt to escape. The prisoners
had not been bound in any way, and seizing a moment when his captor’s eyes were not upon him, he jumped out and ran in a
direction opposite to that in which the cars were traveling at a fairly high speed. There was an order to halt, and the
republicans opened fire on Colonel Danford, who after a few round fell prostrate on the highway with serious wounds to the
head and shoulder. Observing his serious condition, the raiders took counsel and decided to liberate Colonel Tyrrell, so that
he could attend to his wounded fellow officer. The raiders left them on the roadside and drove away with General Lucas to an
unknown destination, which in republican parlance means an improvised prison. Colonel’s Danford and Tyrrell were
discovered some house later and taken to the military hospital at Fermoy. Military police are scouring the district, but at the
time of writing, no news is to hand of General Lucas or his audacious captors.”
Later on 31 July The Times reports on the escape of General Lucas, who having managed to remove the bars on his cell’s
window took advantage of a heavy rain and made his way to a barracks of the Royal Irish Constabulary.
Danford’s wounds included a gunshot to the right shoulder and one to the face which entered just below his right eye which left
his face partially paralyzed. After a recovery of six months he returned to duty.
Bertram William Young Danford was born on 2 July, 1875 to Charles George Danford, a barrister and the former Miss
Antoinette Emily Dyce. After an appropriate schooling he was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the Royal Engineers on 17
August 1894. Although he did not take part in the Anglo-Boer War he was promoted Lieutenant on 17 August 1897 and then
Captain on 1 April 1904.
Captain Danford was seconded to the Egyptian Army on 6 April 1905 and appointed Assistant Director of Military Works in
the Sudan. Most of his time must have been filled by the ongoing improvement to the infrastructure of Khartoum but not long
after his arrival he found himself attached to a small force made up of 380 troopers of the camel corps and 150 men of the
12th Sudanese Infantry. Under the command of a Captain O’Connell the force set out to put down a local uprising near Talodi
which was accomplished by the middle of June. Danford received the Khedive’s Sudan Medal with the clasp “Talodi” for this
action. He remained in the Sudan until 1910.
With the outbreak of World War One Danford was promoted Major and soon found himself acting as Adjutant of the 6th
Division in France, the taking command of the newly formed 174th Tunneling Company, R.E. The unit found itself working in
mostly a defensive manner, digging counter mines and tunnels in the attempt to block the activities of their German
counterparts. It must have been an almost medieval experience for the miners who found themselves deep beneath the front
lines in dark, damp and cramped confines of the tunnels that could only be described as claustrophobic.
Apparently never wounded in action Danford was unfortunately badly injured in a motorcar accident near the front on 3 May
1916 which left his arm broken in three places and required some 90 days of recuperation before he was fit enough to return
Promoted brevet Lieutenant Colonel on the first day of January 1918, he was appointed Assistant Quarter Master General
and Assistant Inspector of Mines for the British Expeditionary Force. For his wartime services Danford was awarded the
Distinguished Service Order and was mentioned in despatches four times. Additionally he was entitled to the 1914 Star with
clasp, the British War Medal and the British Victory Medal with M.I.D. device.
After his near fatal encounter with the Irish Republican Army in 1920, Danford remained in the army being promoted to full
colonel on 17 June 1925. He returned to the scene of his early days of foreign service being appointed Chief Engineer, Egypt
on 23 March 1927, a post he held until his retirement on 22 April 1930.
I have found no evidence showing Danford having been married or having any children. He passed away at the age of 74 on
11 March 1949.
Danford’s medal group sold at auction on 18 May 2011 for £5500.
Note: the above photograph is identified on the reverse by a pencil photographer's notation identifying the subject along
with an order number.