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Monday, 31 July 2017

Joseph Titheridge died 31 July 1917 – “He died for Freedom and Honor”

JosephTitheridges's name
insribed on the Menin Gate Memorial at Ypres



On 31st July 1917 Joseph Titheridge lost his life in the World War 1 battlefield in the Third Battle of Ypres known as Passchendaele.  



Let us remember him and the sacrifice he made.


This is his story.



Joseph Titheridge’s family

Joseph Titheridge was born in the Edmonton district of London to George Titheridge and Georgina Hanniball.  He was the six times great grandchild of Ann Quallat and John Titheridge.  Joseph was one of 10 children born to George and Georgina two of which had died in childhood.  The children were:

  • Ruth (1883 – 1971)
  • George David (1884 - 1885) died age 1
  • Samuel (1885 - 1957) married Maud Clifford
  • Mary (1886 - ?) married Victor Callick
  • Lily (1888 - ?) married Albert Boorman
  • Joseph (1889- 1917)
  • William Henry (1892 -1951) married Emma Masters
  • Daisy (1895 - ?)married Frederick Warren
  • Rose (1897 – 1904) died age 7
  • Ernest (1900 -1976) married Elsie Judge

Joining 8th Battalion Royal Sussex Regiment

Joseph joined up in October 1914 joining the 8th Battalion Royal Sussex Regiment, his regimental number was 4739.  The 8th Battalion Royal Sussex Regiment were formed at Chichester in September 1914 as part of Kitchener’'s Army.  Initial volunteers were from all over Sussex.  The battalion was under strength when it arrived in Colchester in October 1914 so further men were recruited from the London area (hence Joseph ended up in the Sussex Regiment).  On 4th February 1915 it became the Pioneer Battalion of 18th Eastern Division, a role it would keep for the rest of the war.  Pioneers acted as a compromise between infantry and engineers.  Ordinary infantry training was kept up, as pioneers were liable to be used as infantry when the need arose.  The main work of the pioneers was in construction and maintaining the trenches, making and repairing roads and construction of light railways.  This work was often in the front line, usually at night and consequently under shell and sniper fire.

French Battlefields

In May 1915 the 8th Battalion moved to Salisbury Plain and then crossed to France on 24th July 1915 landing at Boulogne.  The 8th Battalion moved to the Somme front, and took over trenches in the Mametz-Montauban sector.  They remained in this quiet sector until the Battle of the Somme taking part in the attack on Montauban on 1st July 1916.  The battalion was engaged in various actions during the Battles of the Somme between July 1916 and early 1917 these included Capture of Trones Wood; The Battle of Delville Wood; The Battle of Thiepval Ridge; The Battle of the Ancre Heights; Capture of Schwaben Redoubt and Capture of Regina Trench.

The battalion stayed on the Somme until the Spring of 1917, when it moved to the Arras front.  Here it took part in the fighting on the Hindenburg Line at Héninel, and at Chérisy on 3rd May 1917.

Belgium Battlefields

The 8th battalion Royal Sussex Regiment then moved to Flanders, to take part in the Third Battle of Ypres known as Passchendaele at the end of July 1917.  They were attached to the 53rd Brigade 18th Eastern division.  General Haig's primary objective was to dislodge the Germans from their dominant positions on the high ground near the Belgium town of Ypres, Haig then envisaged an advance on Belgian coastal ports from where German U-boats threatened Allied shipping. The Third Battle of Ypres was a series of actions that were fought from 31 July to 6 November 1917, with about 275,000 allied troops and 220,000 Germans dying in the battle. The campaign won the allied forces only small gains.

On 31 July, after a fortnight's intense bombardment of German positions, nine divisions of the Fifth Army assaulted the high ground to the north-east of Ypres, and made good progress across Pilckem Ridge, but by late afternoon German counter-attacks had regained much ground and wet weather had set in.  Ceaseless unseasonal rain in the following days turned the shell-damaged ground into a quagmire, severely hampering the movement of advancing men, the relocating of artillery, and the carrying of casualties and supplies.

Killed in Action at Pilckem Ridge

The 8th Battalion Royal Sussex Regiment fought along the Menin Road in the Battle of Pilckem Ridge on 31 July 1917 on the first day of the third battle of Ypres.  It was here that Joseph was killed in action.  Reading the war diary for the battalion it clear that they were under heavy attack from the German guns.  At the end of the day the diary lists the wounded and dead, there were 45 wounded 3 dead.  Unusually this war diary lists the name of every soldier wounded and killed whatever their rank (usually the officers are named and the men are just numbers of casualties).

Private Joseph Titheridge has no known grave and is commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial at Ypres in Belgium.  His name is on panel 20. The monument list the names of 55,000 men who were lost without trace during the defence of the Ypres Salient in WW1.

To see pictures of the Menin Gate Memorial see the link below

http://www.cwgc.org/find-a-cemetery/cemetery/91800/YPRES%20(MENIN%20GATE)%20MEMORIAL

Joseph was awarded postumeously the Victory Medal, British Medal, 1915 Star Medal.

Death Plaque

In 1916 the British Government decided to create a memorial for the next of kin of men who had died.  This bore  Britannia on it (symobolising British imperial power and unity), with Poseidon’s trident (symbolising British naval dominance) and a laurel wreath (symbolising victory).  Each bronze plaque was inidividually cast with the soldier's name in a rectangluar box, they were nicknamed “Death Plaque “.  It was inscribed with the words "He died for Freedom and Honor”.  Joseph’s parents, like all next of king, received a Death Plaque and a scroll.  A picture of this is below (although it is no longer in the family).  

Joseph Titheridge's Death Plaque and Memorial Scroll
Reproduced by kind permission of John Tidridge
Cap badge of the Royal Sussex Regiment























A poem of Remembrance   -    In Flanders Fields by John McCrae, May 1915




In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders fields.

Friday, 21 July 2017

Stage Name


Ann Titheradge in Google Alerts


This week I was rather surprised to see the name “Ann Titheradge” appear in my Google Alerts, which I use to monitor new occurrences of the Titheradge surname on the Internet.  Closer examination revealed that it was referencing an Ann Titheradge, actress who lived 1916 to 2004.  Examination of my records showed there was no Ann Titheradge born at this time nor subsequently did an Ann (other than me) marry into the Titheradge family.

Who was Ann Titheradge?  


Research showed that this was one of the grandchildren of the Victorian actor George Sutton Titheradge and niece of the famous Madge Titheradge and Dion Titheradge.  She chose to take her mother’s maiden name as a “stage name”, thus providing good publicity for her acting career and identifying that she was part of the talented Titheradge dynasty.

Ann Titheradge - Actress


Actress “Ann Titheradge” was not only not a Titheradge she was also not called Ann.  She was christened Patricia Ann Cochrane daughter of Evelyn (Eve) Titheradge and Frank Cochrane both of whom appeared on the stage in the early 20th century.  Evelyn and Frank had three daughters Primrose born in 1922 and twins Patricia Ann and Pamela Madge born 16 February 1916 in St George Hanover Square district of London.  Patricia married John Alfred A Pannell in 1960 in Marylebone, London.  John and Patricia had no children.  John died in the Brighton area in 1975.  Around 1990 Patricia was living in Hove, Sussex.  She lived until she was aged 87 when she died in Glamorganshire, Wales in 2004.  The 1939 register, taken at the start of World War 2, has her recorded as Patricia A Titheradge, corrected to Patricia A Cochrane with Ann Titheradge written beside.

Patricia Cochrane's Acting Career


Using historical newspapers it has been possible to follow Patricia's (Ann's) acting career.  Patricia and twin Pamela started ballet dancing aged 10.  At the age of 16 they started creating an act with various dance routines but this didn't last long so while Pamela continued with her dancing career Ann went to the Embassy Theatre London where the Embassy School of Acting was based.  Her acting career began in 1934 aged 18 with small roles.  From September 1935 she started to get more important roles appearing in the play “The Dominant Sex”.  Between 1936 and February 1939 she worked in the Coventry Repertory Theatre where she took on over 100 roles playing varying characters from school girls to old women.  She obtained one interesting role in a play “Nina” which required two identical actresses.  Patricia’s twin Pamela played the second role, she had now given up dancing and was also an actress using the stage "Pamela Titheradge".  Patricia appeared in the Nottingham Theatre in October 1939 and continued to appear on stage until June 1940.  There are no newspaper references to her acting during the rest of the war time but there is a reference that during the war she moved to London and drove ambulances in the Blitz, but I have been unable to confirm this with any documentation.  After the war she reappeared on the stage in Birmingham and London between 1945 and 1948. Plays included “Wishing Well”, “This Was A Woman” and “Life With Father”.  Later she made her debut in films and appeared in a three movies "Shooting Star" (1949), "Gone to Earth" (1950) and "The Mysterious Count" (1951).  It appears her acting career ceased in 1951.

Important Lesson for genealogist


This blog illustrates the important lesson that if you are doing genealogy don’t automatically accept anything on the Internet  - you must confirm it with documentation and evidence.  Remember things are not always what they seem as illustrated by –not really “Ann Titheradge” but actually Patricia of Titheradge descent!

Do you have additional information?


If you have any information or photographs of Patricia Ann Cochrane / Patricia Ann Pannell / Ann Titheradge actress please contact us by email  titheradgegenealogy@gmail.com or add a comment below.

Monday, 10 July 2017

Madge Titheradge on Film

Madge Titheradge
Famous Actress 1887 -1961
Madge Titheradge, a famous actress in the early twentieth century, is our most famous family member.  Photographs of her abound on the internet but recently while looking at the Imperial War Museum site in London I came across a 35mm film with Madge filmed in 1917.  Madge was like our film stars of today and was cheered and admired by fans wherever she went.  The hundred year old silent film shows her selling war bonds to help the World War 1 war effort.  Before giving you the link to the film here is a little bit of the history behind the film.  I found this fascinating as never before had I thought about how Britain paid for the war.

“Tank Banks” – World War 1 Fund Raising

Tanks were a new invention that first appeared in World War 1 in the Battle of the Somme.  In November 1917 the Tank Corps achieved its first success at Cambrai, France.  The news of this success meant the public wanted to see this new war machine, thereby creating a fundraising opportunity for the British Government.  A committee initiated a very successful ‘Tank Bank’ campaign.  Six Mark IV tanks toured the towns and cities of England to promote the sale of government war bonds and war savings certificates.  The touring tanks would arrive in cities with great fanfare and speeches.  They would spend a week in a town and young ladies would sell war bonds from a table inside the tank.  It became a competition, enhanced by the newpaper's reporting, with the town or city that invested the most money per capita winning a tank.  West Hartlepool won the tank raising over £31 per capita and in total over two million pounds were invested in tank banks.

The fund raising began in London reported in The Times on 24th November
“The establishment to of a tank bank in Trafalgar Square on Monday should do a great deal to stimulate public interest in the sale of the bonds.  The tank will be the central feature of a novel war exhibition.  Intending purchasers of bonds will be able to go inside the tank to buy them”

On 26 November 1917 a battle scarred tank, brought over from France, was displayed in Trafalgar Square.  It was an immediate success.

On 27 November The Times reported
“Tank Bank Opened - Brisk Day in Trafalgar Square
The Tank War Saving Bank in Trafalgar Square is an assured success.  From the hour of opening ceremony yesterday morning until the light failed in the afternoon there was a continuous procession of people eager to buy the bonds or certificated handed out from the interior of the monster.”

The Papers continued to report on the success and reported on the involvement of the stars of the theatre.
“The fifth day of the campaign was the best day yet with over £156,000 subscribed by people from all walks of life.  A woman tendered a cheque for £7,000 worth of bonds, a man bought four separate £1,000 bonds and four Irish men each paid £100.  The subscriptions continued and hearty cheers were raised when an American sailor invested £25, an old man walked up to the window and asked for certificates to the value of £100."This is all I can do to help", he said, "but I do it willingly in memory of four boys of mine who have given all they could   their lives". 
At noon, George Robey brought a large party of theatrical performers into the square who all bought bonds at the tank, while Miss Madge Titheradge recited 'The Song of England' from the top of it.  By the end of the day £156,560 had been taken. It had been an excellent day”

The Film of Madge Titheradge Selling War Bonds

To see the film of Madge selling War Bonds click the link below to the Imperial War Museum Site.  If you don’t want to watch all of the film Madge appears 3.10 minutes into the film for about 45 second

http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/1060005443

The 5 minute film was made on 5 December 1917 and has 5 sections covering recent events.  The narrative on the Imperial War Museum website describes the relevant bit of the film thus
“Miss Madge Titheradge recites "The Song of England" a poem by Alfred Noyes.  George Robey sells £4,000 worth of War Bonds.  Mr Robey, 'The Prime Minister of Mirth', addresses the crowd from the top of the tank, presumably introducing Miss Titheradge, who recites the poem with appropriate gestures.  In the background the National Gallery is decorated with a huge bill-board recording the sales of War Bonds in 'Provincial England'.  George Robey buys some bonds from Miss Titheradge, now sitting at a table alongside the tank - she laughs gaily, watched by a numerous crowd of admirers”

Hope you enjoy and find this piece of history interesting.