Frederick Tottey


This post was written by Victoria Doran

Fred Tottey, a golf professional, served in the Royal Garrison Artillery and died of pneumonia whilst waiting to be demobbed in February 1919.

Bangor War Memorial.jpg

Bangor War Memorial

© Brian Mawdsley (WMR-6999) – Under Creative Commons Licence

Frederick Tottey was born on 4 February 1877 at Hill Houses, West Kirby and baptised at St Bridget on 23 March. Hill Houses is an old name for the area around Darmonds Green and Lang Lane. From his school records we know that he was called Fred, so that is how he will be referred to. His surname is variously spelled Tottey and Totty, but he used Tottey himself on the 1911 census.

Fred was the youngest of the 10 children of Joseph Tottey (1829-1907) and Mary Mouncey 1829-1922). Joseph and Mary were married on 9 February 1857 at St Peter, Liverpool.

Joseph Tottey & Mary Mouncey marriage.jpeg

Marriage of Joseph Tottey and Mary Mouncey at St Peter, Liverpool

Mary gave her father’s name as William, and stated he was a mariner. She was born in Scotland but nothing further has been discovered about her.

Joseph Tottey was born in Saughall Massie, the eldest of the 8 children of John Tottey (1805-1899) and Barbara Mutch (1807-1880). John was born in Frankby and Barbara in Saughall Massie.  Two previous generations also came from the same area.

John Tottey started as an agricultural labourer, and the family were living in Newton by 1832. By 1851 he was a farmer in West Kirby, and by 1871 he was farming 66 acres and employing a man and a boy. However he left nothing when he died at the age of 84.

Joseph Tottey was employed on farms all his life, mostly as a labourer, but sometimes as a shepherd.

Fred attended what is now St Bridget’s School from his 5th birthday in 1882, when the school was located where Calday Grange Grammar School now is – a long walk twice a day for a small child. The school moved to its present site in 1885. He was not the headmaster’s ideal pupil, as he gets several mentions in the school Log Book when around the ages of 10 and 11. He threw stones and truanted with other boys. In this he was following his brother John Tottey (1872-1922) who had a similar school record.

On leaving school he became a landscape gardener on his own account and in the summer of 1905 he married Elizabeth Underwood (1881-1959) in Liverpool. Elizabeth was born in Liverpool, the daughter of James Underwood (1855-1889) and Letitia Roughsedge (1859-1915). After James’ early death, Letitia was left with 4 young children. She supported them by working as a laundress, before marrying John Kent (1867-1911) in August 1891. They had a further 9 children, 6 of whom survived infancy. So Elizabeth will have had a difficult childhood. Before her marriage she worked as a kitchen maid at Allerton Hall.

When Fred and Elizabeth’s first child, Hilda Margaret Tottey (1906-???), was baptised on 26 August 1906, they were living in Birkett Road, West Kirby and Fred was working as a groundsman. This must have been for the Royal Liverpool Golf Club, as by April 1911 he was a golf professional at Oulton Heath Golf Club at Stone, Staffordshire. At the birth of their second child, James Frederick Tottey (1909-1941), they were living at Old Colwyn, Caernarvonshire, Wales. Their third child, John Robert Tottey (1911-1996), was born at Stone, but by October 1913 they had moved to Bangor, Caernarvonshire when their forth child, Elizabeth Freda Tottey (1913-1997), was born. Fred was now working at St Deniol Golf Club.

As his military record has not survived, we only know much of what follows from here relating to Bangor War Memorial. The information given is likely to have come from a local newspaper and is consistent with Fred’s entry in the Book of Remembrance.

Frederick Tottey BR entry.jpeg

Book of Remembrance Entry – name spelled incorrectly and he actually died in Wales!

In March 1915 Fred enlisted in the Royal Garrison Artillery. Their fifth and final child, Harold Leslie Tottey (1915-1988) was born in Bangor in August of the same year.


Royal Garrison Artillery cap badge

Fred served in Britain until August 1918 when he was sent to France.  Until then he was probably either manning coastal defence batteries or involved in training recruits.

When he returned to Wales on 8 February 1919 to prepare for being demobilised he was feeling unwell. He died of pneumonia in Bangor just 9 days later on 17 February aged 42. He was Sergeant 310275 in the 48th (Caernarvonshire) Heavy Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery.

He is buried in Glanadda Cemetery in Bangor, where his grave bears the words ‘At Rest’.

Glanadda Cemetery.jpeg

Entrance to Glanadda Cemetery from

Elizabeth remained in Bangor until her death in 1959, though she was incapacitated by 1939. James became a police constable in London and was killed by a bomb whilst assisting the public near his home in Blackheath. The other 4 children all remained in North Wales.

Birth: 4 Feb 1877 at Hill Houses, West Kirby
Death: 17 Feb 1919 at Bangor, Caernarvonshire, Wales; pneumonia
Addresses: Redstone Cottage, West Kirby (81); Redhouse Lane, West Kirby (91); 11 Birkett Road, West Kirby (01); 7 Birkett Road, West Kirby (06); Oulton Heath, Stone, Staffordshire (11); 2 Roberts Garth, Bangor, Caernarvonshire, Wales (19)
Occupations: landscape gardener; groundsman; golf professional
Unit: 48th (Caernarvonshire) Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery
Number and Rank: 310275; Sergeant
Medals: Victory and British War
Commemorated and Buried: Grange Hill War Memorial, West Kirby; Bangor War Memorial; Glanadda Cemetery, Bangor, Caernarvonshire, Wales; United Reform Church, West Kirby
Sources: BR, CWGC, RSE, MC, URC, Census: 81, 91, 01,11, PR, 39, WKED, St Bridget School Log Book


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