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Friday, 25 September 2015

In Memory of Alfred James Titheridge (1894 - 1915) who died 100 years ago today



War Memorial on Southwick Green
In a quiet corner of Southwick Village Green in Sussex is a war memorial. It is inscribed “This memorial was erected to the memory or the men of Southwick and Fishergate who fell in the great war 1914-1919  Let those for whom they died see they be not forgotten” Amongst those individuals listed is A J Titheridge. Today we remember Alfred James Titheridge of Southwick who died 100 years ago today in World War 1.

Alfred James Titheridge was born in Southwick on 10 January 1894 the eldest son of Albert James Titheridge and Catherine West. He was one of 11 children born to Albert and Catherine, but five of the children died as babies. This branch of the Titheridge family is related to the Titheridges of Droxford and is ultimately descended from John Titheridge and Ann Quallat from Cheriton. Albert’s father James had moved from Droxford, Hampshire to Southwick, Sussex in about 1869.

School records show that Albert attended Southwick Green Council School (later known as Manor Hall) leaving there at the age of 14. On the 1901 census 7 year old Alfred is living at 15 Cyprus Cottage, Southwick with his parents and siblings Nora aged 8 and Beatrice aged 5 months. On 1911 census 17 year old Alfred is living at Cyprus Cottage with his parents and siblings Beatrice aged 10, Lillian aged 5, Bernard aged 3 and Leonard aged 1.  Father and son were both listed as market gardener labourers.

Alfred enrolled in the Army at Brighton and was in Royal Sussex Regiment 2nd Battalion. He was a Lance Corporal and his regimental number was 9855 and L/9855. The number 9855 shows he enlisted in the army in 1912 probably in January around the time of his 18th birthday. His war medal card shows he arrived in France on 12 August 1914.

The 2nd Battalion of The Royal Sussex Regiment were in Woking serving with 2nd Brigade, 1st Division when war was declared on 4th August 1914. They were sent to France in August 1914 and fought on the Western Front throughout the war, taking part in most of the major actions. In 1914 they were involved in The Battle of Mons and the subsequent retreat, The Battle of the Marne, The Battle of the Aisne, the First Battle of Ypres and the Winter Operations of 1914-15, The Battle of Aubers Ridge and The Battle of Loos.

Alfred was killed in action at Hullach aged 22 on 25 September 1915 and is remembered on the Loos Memorial (Panel 69 to 73). The Loos Memorial is near Lens in France and commemorates over 20,000 officers and men who have no known grave and who died in the area from the River Lys to the old southern boundary of the First Army, east and west of Grenay. Alfred was posthumously awarded the Victory medal, the British Medal and the 14 star with clasp. He is also remembered on Southwick village memorial on the village green.

The Royal Sussex Regiment in 1915

1915 was a disastrous year for the 2nd battalion of the Royal Sussex Regiment. On 9th May 1915 they had been annihilated in the Battle of Auber’s Ridge. We can only assume that Alfred was involved in this action. A few months later on 25th September the battalion were involved in The battle of Loos. On this day 183 Officers and men of the second battalion fell. Among them was Alfred. Also killed in action on this day was Sergeant Harry Wells who was awarded the Victory Cross posthumously. This extract from the London Gazette in November 1915 helps us paint a picture of this day.
“War Office 18th November 1915
His Majesty the King has been graciously pleased to approve of the grant of the Victoria Cross to the undermentioned Officers, Non-Commissioned Officers and Men, in recognition of their most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty in the field: —
8088 Sergeant Harry Wells, 2nd Battalion, The Royal Sussex Regiment.
For most conspicuous bravery near Le Rutoire on 25th September, 1915. When his Platoon Officer had been killed he took command and led his men forward to within fifteen yards of the German wire. Nearly half the Platoon were killed or wounded, and the remainder were much shaken, but with the utmost coolness and bravery Sergeant Wells rallied them and led them forward. Finally, when very few were left, he stood up and urged them forward once more, but while doing this he was killed. He gave a magnificent example of courage and determination.”

Should you wish to read more about this day an account from survivors of this day and an entry from the war diaries can be read at
http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=200226

War Memorial Southwick Green


War Memorial Southwick Green

Southwick Village Church

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