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Tuesday, 23 February 2016

William Henry Tetheridge - The Brave Hussar

British Victory Medal awarded in World War 1 
to all those who entered a theatre of war.
 The London Gazette on 1 May 1918 reads

His Majesty the King has been pleased to award the Distinguished Conduct Meal to the undermentioned for gallantry and distinguished service in the field:

Sgt W H Tetheridge (Stockwell SW) of 13th Hussars - For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty.  During a mounted attack a horse carrying a machine gun broke loose.  After several attempts he succeeded in catching it among the trenches occupied by the enemy and brought it in under heavy fire.  He showed splendid coolness and resource.

Identifying William Henry proved a challenge.  He was in fact William Henry Titheridge but was known throughout his 13 year military career as William Henry Tetheridge (or Tetherridge).  His military records and the 1911 census suggest his date of birth to be somewhere between late 1889 to January 1891.  In the end he was identified as William Henry Titheridge with his birth registered in March 1892.

So why was his age so wrong in all the official documentation? I think this is because on 29 June 1909 when William joined the army he was 17 years and 5months, I believe in 1909 an applicant had to be 18years old to join up.  It would appear likely that he added a little on to age so that he was the right age.  This was not uncommon and we know that his brother lied about his age to join the army in World War 1 (but that is another tale).

From the records available we have been able to piece together the following information. William Henry Titheridge was born in on 20 January 1892 at Hackney, London.  He was the seventh child of George Titheridge and Georgina Hanniball.   After leaving school William worked as a painter.

He joined the 11th Hussars (part of the cavalry) on the 29 June 1909 and later transferred to the 13th Hussars.  William served with the 13th Hussars in the following locations.

From 4 November 1910 to 18 November 1914 the 13th Hussars were in India.  At the outbreak of  World War 1 they were in Meerut, India as part of the 7th Meerut Cavalry Brigade.  They sailed from Bombay on 19th November1914, arriving at Marseilles on 14 December1914.  William’s medal card shows he first entered the war in France on 15 December 1914.

War time service saw the Hussars moving around.  At first they stayed in France until 26 June 1916 seeing action on the Western Front in France and Flanders.  The regiment fought both in the trenches and in their mounted role. 

On 27 June 1916 they were posted to Mesopotamia, which is modern day Iraq, for a short stay until 2 August 1916.  

On 3 August 1916 they went back to India until 20 November 1916.  

From 21 November 1916 they were in back in Mesopotamia where they remained until 4 March 1919.  Here the regiment was involved in the battle of Kut al Amars, the capture of Baghdad and the battle of Sharqat.

Early November 1917 found the 13th Hussars near Tekrit, a city in Mesopotamia located on the Tigris River 90 miles northwest of Baghdad.  The British troops were pushing Turkish forces out of Mesopotamia and at Tekrit the Turks made a stand in defensive positions.  On 5th November 1917 the British mounted a swift but costly attack on the city.  At the battle of Tekrit, which took place 5 miles north of Daur, the 13th Hussars made one of their cavalry charges.  During this action 6 men were killed, 22 men were wounded and over twenty horses killed.  As a result of the action two officers won the Military Cross, three men won the Military Medal and William Tetheridge was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal.  The medal was awarded on 17 November 1917 for the action that took place on 5th November, but the information did not appear in the London Gazette until the 1 May 1918.

On 5 March 1919, while in Baghdad, William transferred from the 13th Hussars to the Royal Tank Corps and signed up for another 3 years military service.  He was eventually discharged from the army on 31 March 1922 with the rank of Sergeant.  He was described as being of good conduct.  His address on discharge was 143 Cornwallis Road, Brixton, London. 

As well as the DCM for bravery his medal card shows he was also awarded the British War Medal and British Victory Medal and 1915 star.

Just before he left the army William married Emma Eliza Masters on 12 September 1921 and they had two sons.  As for the surname Tetheridge, apart from his military service, William used his correctly spelt surname of Titheridge.

William died on 27 May 1951 in Wandsworth.

While researching this article I came across this amazing photograph of Sergeant William Tetheridge  DCM, please follow the link to take a look.



1 comment:

John Tidridge said...

Ann, as usual an excellent paper! Well done!