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Tuesday, 31 May 2016

In Memory of George Titheridge and William Titheridge killed at the Battle of Jutland

Naval War Memorial at Portsmouth
One hundred years ago today, 31 May 1916, the Battle of Jutland took place.  This major encounter between the British and German navies took place about 60 miles off the coast of Denmark.  It was the largest naval battle in the First World War involving some 250 ships, 151 British and 99 German ships, and over 100,000 men.  Fourteen British ships and eleven German ships were sunk. 6094 British men lost their lives with 510 wounded.   2551 Germans lost their lives with 507 wounded.  It was a confusing battle with a huge loss of life and ended with neither side having certain victory. The Germans claimed victory as they had destroyed and damaged more ships.  The British claimed victory because they had kept control of the North Sea.  The British Fleet were led by Admiral Jellico and Admiral Beatty and the Germans by Admiral Reinhard.
Aboard the British Navy ships were at least 5 family members.  They were:
Arthur Horace John Titheridge (born 1887) aboard HMS Canada. Arthur was born in Alverstoke the son of Benjamin and Louisa Titheridge.
Benjamin James Titheridge (born 1884) aboard HMS Agincourt. Benjamin was born in Alverstoke the son of Benjamin and Louisa Titheridge.

George Titheridge (born 1892) aboard HMS Queen Mary (see below)

John Titheridge (born 1880) aboard HMS Agincourt. John was born in West Tisted son of Henry and Ann Titheridge

William Henry Titheridge (born 1873) aboard HMS Shark (see below)

On 31 May George Titheridge and William Titheridge died in the Battle of Jutland.

George Titheridge - HMS Queen Mary - died 31 May 1916 aged 24

George Titheridge was descended from the Titheridges of East Meon, Hampshire.  He was one of five children born to William Titheridge (b1865-d1912) and Sarah Titheradge (nee Earwaker).  He was born in East Meon on 25 February 1892 and before joining the navy he was a baker. William and Sarah’s children were all born in East Meon and they were:
William b1890
George born 1892
Rhoda Winifred Caroline born 1895
Alice May born 1900
Alfred Charles born 1909
George is remembered on the Naval War Memorial at Portsmouth.  He is also remembered on the War Memorials at East Meon, Hampshire and Fernhurst, Sussex, although I am yet to establish what his connection was to the latter village.

George was a cook’s mate on the battle cruiser HMS Queen Mary when she was sunk at the Battle of Jutland .  This extract, taken from the Official History; " Naval Operations" by Sir Julian S. Corbett in 1923, recounts the last moments of the Queen Mary before she was sunk
.....Thus the Queen Mary, at from 15,800 to 14,500 yards, became the target of both these ships. For about five minutes she stood it gallantly. She was fighting splendidly. The Germans say full salvoes were coming from her with fabulous rapidity. Twice already she had been straddled by the Derfflinger, when at 4.26 a plunging salvo crashed upon her deck forward. In a moment there was a dazzling flash of red flame where the salvo fell, and then a much heavier explosion rent her amidships. Her bows plunged down, and as the Tiger and New Zealand raced by her to port and starboard, her propellers were still slowly revolving high in the air. In another moment, as her two consorts were smothered in a shower of black debris, there was nothing of her left but a dark pillar of smoke rising stemlike till it spread hundreds of feet high in the likeness of a vast palm tree."

The casualties were 57 officers and 1,209 men killed; 2 officers and 5 men wounded



Inscription from the East Meon War Memorial

Fernhurst War Memorial
Inscription from the Fernhurst War Memorial

William Henry Titheridge - HMS Shark - died 31 May 1916 aged 43
William Henry was born in 1874 5th of 7 children born to William Titheridge (b1832-d1877) and Elizabeth Titheridge (nee Bulgar) in Alverstoke, Hampshire. William and Elizabeth’s children were:

Elizabeth Martha born 1863
Kate Emily born 1865
Annette born 1867
Sarah Eliza born 1872
William Henry born 1874
Frederick born 1877
Herbert John born 1883
Like George he is remembered on the Naval War Memorial in Portsmouth and also in the church at Alverstoke.

At the Battle of Jutland William Henry was aboard the destroyer HMS Shark a Stoker 1st Class.  This extract from the Official History; " Naval Operations" by Sir Julian S. Corbett 1923, describes the last moments of HMS Shark.
"The division was led by Commander Loftus Jones in the Shark, the same intrepid officer who by his resolute dogging of Admiral von Ingenohl's cruiser screen at dawn on the day of the Scarborough raid had caused the whole High Seas Fleet to turn back to its base. Seeing the excellent chance that had fallen to him, he led off to make the most of it, followed by the Acasta (Lieutenant-Commander J. O. Barron), Ophelia (Commander L. G. E. Crabbe)—both officers had been with him in his previous exploit—and the Christopher (Lieutenant-Commander F. M. Kerr).  As they approached they could see that ahead of the flying cruisers a number of enemy destroyers were evidently developing an attack on Admiral Hood, but as soon as the Germans were aware of the Shark's direction they turned to protect Admiral Boedicker. A very hot engagement was the result. The Shark got off a torpedo at one of the cruisers, but she was quickly smothered with the fire of the squadron and its destroyers, and by the time Commander Jones knew he had frustrated the attack on Admiral Hood and had turned back, his boat was brought to a standstill. His old comrade, Lieutenant-Commander Barron, rushed up to take him in tow, but he would not hear of the Acasta, which was also badly damaged, being sunk for him, and ordered her to leave him. At this moment Captain P. M. R. Royds in the Canterbury appeared coming up to the rescue from the southeast. By turning to the southward he enticed the cruisers to chase, and for a while the Shark was left in peace. Presently, however, more destroyers, which Admiral Hipper had ordered to attack Admiral Hood in order to cover his retirement, came up and poured in a merciless fire. In a moment her after gun was hit, and its crew killed, and Commander Jones, who was himself controlling its fire, had a leg shot away at the knee. Yet he continued to encourage his men to fight the only gun he had left, when the Shark went down with her flag still flying."

The sinking of HMS Shark resulted in 7 Officers and 79 men killed and 2 men were wounded.

Panel at Portsmouth Naval Memorial

Memorial at Alverstoke parish church


As the nation commemorates the Battle of Jutland you will find numerous accounts of the battle on the Internet, in Newspapers and on TV programmes, including a fascinating program "Battle of Jutland" that was on BBC 2 last Sunday.  If you want to read more about the battle, the account on the Commonwealth War Graves website is a good place to start Battle of Jutland.
Portsmouth Naval Memorial

Portsmouth Naval War Memorial
"In honour of the Navy in the abiding memory of these ranks and ratings of this port who laid down their lives in the defence of the Empire and have no other grave than the sea"

If George or William are your relatives and you can tell us more about them please email or add a comment below.
Copyright © 2016 Ann and Mike Titheradge All rights reserved

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