Lieutenant Commander Benjamin Titheridge R.V.O. R.N. was a well-respected naval officer who died 100 years ago today. This is his life story.
Benjamin Titheridge’s Family
Benjamin Titheridge was born 26 June 1857, one of 13 children born to William Henry Titheridge and Elizabeth Ann Baird. The family lived in Alverstoke, Hampshire at 11 Stocks Yard in 1861 and 9 Forton Road in 1871.
Benjamin was twenty five years old when he married Louisa Pope on 26 March 1882 at Portsea, All Saints. They had seven children:
- Ruth Titheridge born 1882 died 1899 aged 16
- Benjamin James Titheridge born 1884 died 1951, married Eva Wells
- William George Titheridge born 1886 died 1890 aged 4
- Arthur Horace John Titheridge born 1887 died 1963, married Celia Walker
- Ethel Louisa Titheridge born 1892 married, Thomas Potts
- Beatrice Dorothy Pamela Titheridge born 1893, married Frederick Gibbins
- Harry Percival Titheridge born 1899 died 1970, married Edna West
Benjamin’s wife Louisa died on 18 December 1906, leaving Benjamin with three children under 14. A year after Louisa’s death Benjamin married Lizzie Rebecca Phillips on 28 December 1907 at Forton, St Johns.
Benjamin and family lived at a variety of addresses around Alverstoke and later Southampton. Their known addresses are:
- 1886 Stoke Road, Gosport
- 1891 38 Prince Alfred Street, Gosport
- 1906 Park Road, Gosport
- 1907 15 Forton Road, Gosport
- 1911 49 Millais Road, Itchen, Southampton
- 1912 115 Obelisk Road, Woolston, Southampton
Benjamin Titheridge’s Naval Career
Benjamin joined the Royal Navy sometime between 1871 and 1875. This was a career that was also followed by two of his brothers, James and John. Benjamin remained in the Royal Navy until his retirement in 1912. His service number was 53111. His naval records show he was promoted to Gunner on 20 March 1885; promoted to Chief Gunner on 20 February 1904; and promoted to Lieutenant on 30 September 1909.
The records also show glowing reports about him and show he was an excellent seaman. These are as some of the comments by his superiors. In 1886 it is recorded “very good, smart respectable recommended for promotion”. In December 1890 his superior wrote “very good specially recommended for advancement”. In 1910 he is described as “A first rate officer. Quiet and firm. Very strongly recommended” and “all very good, zealous and good manager of men”
It is known that he served on the following Navy vessels
- In 1881 HMS Wolverine
- In 1885 HMS St Vincent
- In 1887 HMS Craysfoot
- In 1895 HMS Orlando
- In 1901 HMS Trafalgar
- In 1901 His Majesty’s Yacht Osborne
- In 1908 His Majesty’s Yacht Alexandra
On 2 November 1909 he was made a member of the Royal Victorian Order, this is a British honour given by the monarch to people who have served them. The Royal Victorian medal was presented by King Edward VII. The entry appears in the London Gazetter on Tuesday 9 November 1909 and reads
“Chancery of the Royal Victorian Order, St James’s Palace, November 9 1909.
The King has been graciously pleased to make the following appointments to the Royal Victorian Order to take effect from the dates noted:
To be a member of the 5th class
2 November 1909 Lieutenant Benjamin Titheridge, Royal Navy, His Majesty’s Yacht Alexandra”
Lieutenant Benjamin Titheridge MVO was placed on the retired list on 26 June 1912. With the approach of World War 1 on 2 August 1914 Benjamin was reappointed to “HMS Pomone” Royal Naval College at Dartmouth. HMS Pomone was used as a training ship. Benjamin continued on the staff of the naval college and on 30 September 1917 he was promoted to Lieutenant Commander.
Benjamin Titheridge’s Death
Benjamin died 23 January 1918, aged 60, at his home at 115 Obelisk Road, Woolston, Southampton after developing pneumonia. He was buried in St Anne’s Hill Cemetery, Gosport (Plot 31a 113). He was survived by his wife Lizzie who died in 1929 at Southampton.
A photograph of Benjamin’s grave can be seen at the following link War Graves Photographic Project
The following funeral notice appeared in the local paper.
Hampshire Telegraph 01 February 1918
NAVAL OFFICER’S FUNERAL
The funeral of Lieutenant-Commander Benjamin Titheridge, M.V.O., R.N., took place at Ann’s Hill Cemetery on Monday afternoon with naval honours. The coffin enclosing the remains had been brought from Sholing, where Lieutenant-Commander Titheridge died, to the Gosport railway station. It was there met by a Naval funeral party under the command of Lieutenant Sidney Crabb R.N. and there was a large attendance of commissioned and warrant officers. The coffin was placed on a Naval field-gun carriage, on which it was borne to the cemetery. The following officers being the pall bearers: Lieutenant-Commander G H Colwill M.V.O. R.N., J E Edwards R.N., G Hogg R.N., R Arnold R.N., J H Jarvis, H W Eason R.N., and A Gamblin R.N., Commander Shrubsole R.N.R. represented the Commander in Chief. Following the gun carriage were private mourners, who included Messers A Titheridge and H Titheridge (sons). Mrs T S Potts and Mrs F J Gibbins (daughters). Lieutenant Titheridge and Mr Jack Titheridge (brothers). Mrs Emma Bryan, Mrs Talford and Mrs Godden (sisters). Mr Will Godden and Mr Cecil Titheridge (nephews). Messers J Redman, W A Phillips and Talford (brothers in law) and Beal (Southampton). At the cemetery the cortege was met by the Rev. C Carey, M.A., Vicar of St Johns Forton, by whom the service was conducted. At the close three volleys were fired over the grave, and the “Last Post” sounded.