James was the six times great grandson of John Titheridge and Ann Quallatt of Cheriton, his ancestors were the Titheridges of Kilmeston. James was born in the September quarter of 1897, the only son of James Titheridge and Gertrude Moss Midwinter. James’s mother Gertrude was from Hartley Wintney, Hampshire a small village 8 miles east of Basingstoke and it is in this village James was born.
In 1891 James’ father worked as a footman, in 1901 he was a servant and in 1911 he was a butler. The family moved around as James found employment with different employers. In 1901 the family were living at 5 Amity Terrace, Wimbledon, Surrey and in 1911 they were living at Rose Cottage, Holme Lacy, Herefordshire. Holme Lacy is a small village 6 miles south east of Hereford. By 1918 James’s parents, Gertrude and James, had moved 2 miles south to 2 West Villas, Fownhope, Herefordshire.
James enlisted at Hereford in the King’s Shropshire Light Infantry, 1st Battalion (regimental number 25489) and was quickly promoted to the rank of Corporal. I cannot find exactly when James enlisted but he probably enlisted in early 1916 and he arrived in France about August 1917.
The 1st Battalion Shropshire Light Infantry served entirely on the Western Front and in just about every major engagement. 1914 – 1916 saw the battalion in fighting in the Ypres area. They saw service on the Somme in 1916 and at Arras and Cambrai in 1917. By the start of 1918 James had been in France for about 4 months and in January of this year, the battalion was serving with the 5th Army. On March 21st, with the battalion just about annihilated at Lagnicourt, not one combatant officer was left and only 53 other ranks came out of the action. The battalion was completely re-formed within ten days of being virtually destroyed and was back in the line at Ypres and fought continuously in the salient until late August.
Killed in Action
James is reported as killed in action on 14 April 1918, three weeks after the devastating battle at Lagnicourt. Referring to the battalion war diaries on this date the battalion were at Molenaarelst Hoek 10km east of Ypres and 3km south of Tyne Cot. The diaries do not indicate any action on this date but the circumstances of his death are recorded in a home newspaper report.
Hereford Times 11 May 1918Roll of Honour
Corporal J. F. C. Titheridge, Fownhope
Mr. and Mrs. Titheridge, of Fownhope, formerly of Holme Lacy have just suffered the loss of their only child, Corporal J. F. C. Titheridge, King’s Shropshire Light Infantry, who was killed in France on April 14th. He was sitting just inside a dug out with a comrade when a shell dropped at the side of the entrance and blew back into the dug-out. He was hit on the head and killed instantaneously, and a man sitting next him was wounded. The Lieutenant of his company says he was a trustworthy N. C. O. and very keen at his work. Corporal Titheridge, who was an old boy of Hereford Bluecoat School, had been in France about eight months. He joined up at 18 and was 20 years of age at the time of his death. With Mr and Mrs Titheridge in their bereavement much sympathy is expressed.
His medal card shows he was posthumously awarded the Victory Medal and British Medal.
He is remembered on the Tyne Cot Memorial, Zonnebeke, West Flanders, Belgium. The Tyne Cot Memorial is around the eastern boundary of Tyne Cot Cemetery near the town of Leper in Belgium. It bears the names of some 35,000 men of the British and New Zealand forces who have no known grave, nearly all of whom died between August 1917 and November 1918.
James is also remembered at the village memorial at Holme Lacy, Herefordshire. A picture can be seen here.
Gertrude and James
Gertrude and James continued to live in Fownhope at 2 West Villas until their death. James died in 31 January 1939 and Gertrude died in 14 January 1954 aged 79. They are buried in St Mary’s Fownhope. On Gertrude’s death probate (£548) was given to her niece Elsie Pavey.