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 rounds 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. Colonels 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.”
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 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. He was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the Royal Engineers on 17 August 1894. 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 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 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 countermines 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 to duty.
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.
Cabinet Photograph (Slightly Trimmed)
W. & D. Downey - Photographer
57 & 61 Ebury Street, London, S.W., England