A native of Ottawa, Brigadier Percy Arthur Stanley Todd was educated at Bedford, England, and at the Ottawa Collegiate Institute. In the year following the outbreak of the Great War, he was one of 200 eager young men who undertook a seven-day, highly competitive examination competing for the 53 available positions at the Royal Military College. After winning a place, he completed the intensive wartime one-year course and, in 1916, was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the Royal Artillery. He soon embarked for the United Kingdom.
After training in England, July 1917 saw him enroute to Egypt. After more than one year of a hot slow-moving war in Egypt and Palestine, he contracted diphtheria and in November 1917 was invalided to Cairo and subsequently transferred to England. He was discharged from the British Army and returned to Canada in 1919.
After a brief relapse with his illness, he became the City Manager for an insurance company, all the while continuing to serve in the Governor General’s Foot Guards of the Non-Permanent Active Militia. In January 1921 he transferred to the 1st Field Brigade, Royal Canadian Artillery where he continued to serve until the outbreak of the Second World War, rising to command the Brigade as a Lieutenant-Colonel.
Early in 1940 he volunteered for active service, reverting to the rank of Major to do so. After seeing his gunners off to England, he spent six months instructing at the Canadian Artillery Training Centre, Kingston. He was soon appointed to command a battery of the 5th Field Regiment and, in November 1941 was posted as Brigade Major, Headquarters, Royal Canadian Artillery, 2nd Canadian Division. In late 1942 he was appointed to the Order of the British Empire and promoted to command the 4th Field Regiment, a command he held for a full year until his appointment in January 1943 as Commander, Royal Artillery, 3rd Canadian Division with concurrent promotion to Brigadier.
He was responsible for the training, preparation and implementation of the massive tri-service fire plan supporting the 3rd Division D-Day assault on Normandy; he coordinated the fire support from the bridge of H.M.S. Hilary. The need to fire artillery from the deck of wildly pitching landing craft in rough seas and the unique control measures necessary presented many challenges. The success of the landings was clear evidence of his meticulous preparations. In recognition of his work he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order.
In November 1944 he was appointed Commander, Corps Royal Artillery, 2nd Canadian Corps and subsequently given command of the 1st Canadian Infantry Brigade (often referred to as the Canadian Berlin Brigade) in June 1945. He soon returned to Canada and was placed on the Reserve List.
Returning to civilian life once again, Brigadier Todd assumed the appointment of General Manager of the Hamilton Street Railway and, as before, maintained his long association with the army. He was appointed Commander, Royal Artillery 1st Division (Militia) in January 1946, a position he held until September 1954 when he transferred to the Supplementary Reserve. He served as Honourary Colonel of the 18th Field Regiment from 1954 until 1959 and as Honourary Colonel Commandant of The Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery from 1958 until 1962. In this latter role he actively and visibly represented all Canadian Gunners.
Brigadier Todd played a key role in the reopening of the Royal Military College after the war and served as Chairman of the Conference of Defence Associations. His long record of service to his country and to the guns rarely has been equalled.
Brigadier Todd passed away in 1996.