Buckingham Covers - First Day Covers

Richard Todd OBE


Born in Ireland, film star and heart throb, Richard Todd spent a few of his childhood years in India, where his father served as an army physician. Later his family relocated to West Devon, England.

Richard trained for a potential theatre career at the Italian Conti School but soon changed course on the outbreak of WWII while he was a founder member of the Dundee Repertory Company. The day after war was declared, he was accepted for officer training at Sandhurst Military College and was subsequently commissioned as an officer to The Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry.

Then followed a couple of years serving in the UK and Iceland, until in early 1943, he transferred to the Parachute Regiment and was posted to 7th Battalion (Light Infantry) The Parachute Regiment. Richard jumped no. 1 from the first aircraft leading the main airborne assault on Pegasus Bridge at 0400 hours on D-Day, 6 June 1944. Eighteen years later, he played a cameo in Darryl F. Zanuck's D-Day recreation The Longest Day (1946).

After the war Todd began his film career. His portrayal of a terminally ill soldier in The Hasty Heart (1949) earned him a Best Actor Academy Award nomination. He followed that with a role in Alfred Hitchcock's Stage Fright (1950) and then worked in a clutch of adventure films throughout the next decade, including The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men (1952), The Sword and the Rose (1953) and Rob Roy, The Highland Rogue (1954).

Perhaps his most memorable role was that of Wing Commander Guy Gibson in the British box-office smash The Dam Busters (1955). Soon after he appeared in a similar role in the naval drama The Yangtse Incident (1957). During the 1960s, he starred in numerous military films including Danger Within (1958), The Long and the Short and the Tall (1960), The Longest Day (1962) and Operation Crossbow (1965).

In 1987, Todd published the first volume of his memoirs, Caught in the Act and he was awarded an OBE in 1993.