Rifleman 38250 Sydney David Griffiths

Griffiths Sydney 96 650x485

Died of Wounds Salonika on Sunday, 1st April 1917, age 36.
Buried in Grave VIII. D. 5. at Struma Military Cemetery, Greece.

6th Bn., Royal Irish Rifles. 29th Brigade of 10th Division.

Son of the late William and Elizabeth Griffiths, of Tipton; husband of Flora Griffiths, of Neptune St., Tipton, Staffs.
Born: Tipton, Enlisted: Tipton, Resident: Unknown.

First landed Balkans, 21st September 1915.
Medal entitlement: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Commemorated on the Tipton Library, and St. Matthew's memorials.
Commemorated here because he appears on a Tipton memorial.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/333215/

Genealogical Data

1891 Census
135 Park Lane West, Tipton, Staffs.
William H. Griffiths (56, Builder, born Tipton), his wife Elizabeth (47, General Dealer - Shop, born Brierley Hill), and their 5 children: Walter H. Griffiths (20, Coal Miner, born Tipton), Albert P. (14, Fitter, born Tipton), Florence E. (13, Scholar, born Tipton), David S. - this is Sydney David - (9, Scholar born Tipton), and Phoebe A. (6, born Tipton).

1901 Census
134 Park Lane West, Tipton, Staffs.
William Griffiths (65, Builder, born Tipton), his wife Elizabeth (58, Grocer, born Brierley Hill), and 2 of their children: Sydney (20, Clerk, born Tipton), and Hannah (17, At Home, born Tipton).

Marriage of Sydney David Griffiths and Flora Maria Brevitt registered March quarter 1905 in Dudley.

1911 Census
4 Rounds Square, Tipton, Staffs.
Sydney David Griffiths (29, Scrap Dealer, born Tipton), his wife Florence Maria (30, born Tipton), and their 3 children: Walter Edward (5, born Tipton), Sydney Jesse (3, born Tipton), and Samuel Arthur (11 months, born Tipton).

Personal Data

Sydney David Griffiths is commemorated as S Griffiths on the Tipton Library Memorial, and as S. D. Griffiths on St. Matthew's Memorial. His brother Walter Griffiths was killed in July 1915 whilst serving with the 175th Tunnelling Company, to cap a bad year for the Griffiths family, their mother Elizabeth was killed in a gas escape in December 1915 - see below.

Action resulting in his death

Still to be researched. Contact me if required.

Newspaper Cuttings

Tipton Herald 18th December 1915
The residents of Park Lane West, Tipton, in the immediate vicinity of Park Lane Colliery, will have cause to remember last Saturday midnight for a long time to come. What happened is another illustration of the old saying that no one can tell what dangers surround us. It seems that about 11.30 p.m. several persons became aware of the smell of gas, but the place where the wind wafted the obnoxious and poisonous fumes to a most alarming and fatal extent was the site of six small dwelling houses at the entrance to the colliery. There are two houses (including a small shop in the occupation of Mrs Elizabeth Griffiths, aged 71, who was killed by the fumes) at the front of the block, and four at the back. Along the road runs one of the large mains of the South Staffordshire Mond Gas Company, from which there is a junction into the colliery premises. Singular to say, most of the tenants of the block were either asleep or had retired without detecting anything wrong. The family of Mr and Mrs Rich, who occupy the front cottage next to the shop, had fortunately not gone to bed, and it is to this fact probably that the lives of every dweller in the tiny block of houses was saved, with the one sad exception of Mrs Griffiths. Mrs Rich having some time ago been troubled by an escape of some town gas, was all on the alert when she detected a smell of gas through the floor of the cottage. Her son made an investigation, and they soon found that it was something of an alarming nature. They at once knocked up the occupants of the other houses and told them it would be death to remain in their houses. In one cottage there is a very old lady, in another a mother and six children, but soon all were accommodated in houses of neighbours across the road in the main thoroughfare, several of them running from their homes in the scantiest attire.
By this time the smell of the gas was affecting everybody, and created the greatest possible alarm. Everyone realised too that it was the Mond gas that was causing the affair. A tiny little grandchild of Mrs Griffiths was seen to be filled with the gas, going black in the face and the gas fumes leaving the mouth. Its mother (Mrs Ellmore) ran from the house to fetch Dr. H.C. Brown, who resides in the vicinity, and collapsed on getting outside, being "gassed." Miss Louise Griffiths (a granddaughter aged about 22), was also badly "gassed," but by 2 a.m. the victims were apparently satisfactorily recovering from the ill effects of the fumes. Mrs Griffiths, the grandmother, who was a very strong and robust woman, was apparently unaffected. Then after Dr. Brown had gone away, the old lady was missed and eventually after home enquiry, her relatives returned to her house and found her dead body at the top of the stairs, she having been overcome by the fumes. She was carried into the open air, and Dr. Brown was sent for, but he could only certify that death was due to gas poisoning. A cat, dog and parrot belonging to the old lady had also been asphyxiated, whilst four horses in an adjoining stable were also found the be "gassed" but were removed to safety.
A very alarming feature of the occurrence was that when the pipe burst the gas poured out with a noise like that of a motor engine. The crack occurred near the junction where the branch pipe runs from the main to the colliery engine, for which it provides the motive power. The noise of the escaping gas was heard by all residents in the vicinity, and many of them did not go to bed for hours for fear that the gas might still be in their houses. It was not safe to open the windows of the houses until the atmosphere was clear of gas, and it is said to have been around 2 a.m. before the gas could be turned off at the main. Mr and Mrs Rich and their family were walking about outside their house until about 4 a.m. The food in their house, as well as Mrs Griffiths' house, was completely spoilt by the gas. A cat in Mr Rich's house was found to have died from the fumes. Their daughter, Alice, was "gassed", and was lead up and down to prevent her going to sleep, and on Sunday she appeared to be all right. On Sunday however, she was very ill from the effects of the gas. It is remarkable in view of the lights that were burning at the time that there was no explosion.
The late Mrs Griffiths, who had been engaged as a dealer in boots and clothing for many years, was the widow of William Henry Griffiths, a colliery carpenter. She was very widely known and respected. A few years ago she contested a seat on the Dudley Board of Guardians, but was not successful. One of her sons was lately killed at the front.

Tipton Herald 14 April 1917
The deaths of two Tipton soldiers (killed in action) have this week been reported to their relatives. One is Private Thomas Gould, late Chief Clerk at Freakley's Ltd., and the other is Corporal Sid Griffiths, scrap iron merchant of Tipton Green. Both men were well known locally. A brother of the latter - Sapper Walter H Griffiths was killed at the front some time ago.