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Sunday, 13 March 2016

Imperial Service Medal for Albert Titheridge - Cornish Customs Officer

Cornish Fishing Village near St Austell
On 10 March 1927 the Western Morning News reported the following:

"35 Years in Cornish Customs Service
Mr A J Titheridge, until recently Prevention Officer of Customs and Excise at Charlestown, has been presented with the Imperial Service Medal in recognition of 35 years meritorious service.
The presentation was made by the Collector, Mr C Nicholls, at a gathering of former colleagues at the Custom House Plymouth.  The collector warmly congratulated Mr Titheridge (who now resides at St Austell) on the distinction he has won by devotion to duty during his long service career."

A J Titheridge was christened Albert James Henry Titheridge.  He was the only known son of Alfred Robert Titheridge (known as Robert) and Caroline Tee.  Albert was born in Devonport, Devon on 12 December 1865, his father, a seaman, was from Portsmouth, Hampshire.  He was baptised in Stoke Damerel on 25 March 1866.

The 1871 census shows Albert living in Hull with his parents in West Dock Hotel, with his father listed as a seaman on HMS Invincible. The 1881 census shows 15 year old Albert listed as a scholar and as a visitor to Robert and Annie Marsh in the Coastguard Station at Alverstoke, Hampshire.  The 1891 census shows him living in Portsea with his parents and cousin at 11 Victoria Terrace.  In 1891 Albert and his father were both working as labourers in the HM Dockyards.

Albert married Selina Kate Cavill in Portsea in 1892. There was one child of the marriage, Albert James Robert Titheridge who was born in Harwich, Essex in 1892.

The 1901 census shows Albert and wife Selina living with their son in Artic Road, Cowes on the Isle of Wight.  Albert is shown as a Customs Boatman.  The 1911 census shows Albert still in the Isle of Wight and on census day he was in the Watch House, Cowes, while Selina was at home in Artic Road, Cowes.

Albert was a Prevention Officer in Her Majesty's Customs and Excise, who went into service with Customs and Excise in 1891 when he was 25 and he served for 35 years until his retirement in 1926.  He was initially stationed at Harwich, Essex.  In 1897 he went to Cowes in the Isle of Wight where he remained until 1911, when he transferred to London.  Ten years later he transferred to Charlestown, near St Austell in Cornwall.  Here he was recorded as a very popular official.

He retired in 1926 and after living in St Austell for a while he moved back to Hampshire to the Isle of Wight.  By the 1939 Register he was a retired Customs Officer living at Roseville, Alexandra Road, Cowes with wife Selina.

Albert was also a member of the Territorial Army. He joined up in February 1886 and remained in the force until April 1908. During this time he was in the 3rd Hampshire Volunteer Corps and 5th Hampshire Volunteer Battalion. He was awarded a long service Medal in April 1909.  Great Britain declared war on Germany on 4th August 1914, two days later Albert joined the regular army on 6thAugust 1914.   He joined the 6th Battalion Essex Regiment (regimental number 1922) with  rank of Lance Corporal.  He saw First World War service at home and was eventually discharged from the army on 5th August 1916 with his records showing the comments TE(Time expired) under KR 392 (Kings regulations covering early discharge) para XX1(termination of period of engagement) age 50 years 8 months . On his join up papers he was described as a customs officer living at Riverside, Artic Road Cowes, Isle of Wight, 5 foot 5inches, 35 ½ inch chest. His next of kin was his wife Mrs Selina Kate Titheridge who was living at 47 Mortimer Road High Street South, East Ham.  Albert was awarded the Volunteer Decoration for 21 years service in the Territorial Army.  His discharge notes said "an exceedingly well conducted, intelligent non commissioned officer. Very willing and very dependable."

He died in the Isle of Wight at the age of 76 in 1942.

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