Corporal 35817 Walter Titley

Killed in Action on Wednesday, 10th April 1918, age 24.
Commemorated on Panel 6 of Ploegsteert Memorial, Comines-Warneton, Hainaut, Belgium.

4th Bn., South Staffordshire Regiment. 7th Brigade of 25th Division.

Son of William and Ann Titley.
Born: Tipton, Enlisted: Bilston, Resident: Unknown.

First landed France & Flanders, post 31st December 1915.
Medal entitlement: British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Commemorated on the Tipton Library Memorial.
Commemorated here because he appears on a Tipton memorial.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/866498/

Genealogical Data

Marriage of William Titley and Ann Gough was registered March quarter 1876 in Dudley.
Birth of William Titley was registered March quarter 1888 in Dudley.
Birth of Walter Titley was registered March quarter 1894 in Dudley.

1891 Census
35 Edge Street, Coseley, Staffs.
William Tittley (43, Labourer, born Sedgley), his wife Annie (36, born Dudley), and their 6 children: Albert (12, Scholar, born Sedgley), Abraham (10, Scholar, born Sedgley), Thomas (7, Scholar, born Sedgley), Sarah (5, Scholar, born Sedgley), William (3, born Sedgley), and Elizabeth (1, born Sedgley).

1901 Census
7 Waterloo Street East, Tipton, Staffs
William Titley (53, Lard Factory Labourer, born Wallbrook), his wife Annie (47, born Dudley), and their 9 children: Albert (18, Butcher's Assistant, born Wallbrook), Absolam (20, Butcher's Assistant, born Wallbrook), Thomas (17, Ironworks Labourer, born Wallbrook), Sarah (15, born Wallbrook), William (13, Ironworks Labourer, born Wallbrook), Elizabeth (11, Scholar, born Wallbrook), Joseph (8, Scholar, born Wallbrook), Walter (7, Scholar, born Tipton), and Annie (4, born Tipton).

1911 Census
New Buildings, Bradleys Lane, Coseley, Staffs.
William Titley (63, General Labourer, born Coseley), his wife Annie (57, born Dudley), and 3 of their 8 surviving children of 10: William (23, Iron Moulder, born Coseley), Joseph (21, Iron Moulder, born Coseley), and Walter (17, Iron Moulder's Assistant, born Tipton).

Personal Data

Walter Titley's brother William was killed in April 1918 also serving with the South Staffs; two other brothers also joined the army. Absalom, 173981, joined the Royal Field Artillery in 1916 but was discharged due to a longstanding medical condition being aggravated by military service. Joseph Titley, 9459, was a private in the 2nd Battalion of the South Staffs, serving abroad in 1914. He was gassed while in the trenches and was discharged from the army, but died in the early 1920's, his health never recovering.

After Walter's death, his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £12/6/3d (12 pounds, 6 shillings and 3 pence); this was paid to his father, William, in July 1918. His War Gratuity was £4/0/0d (4 pounds exactly), this was also paid to his father in December 1919. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that Walter had enlisted in approximately May 1917.

Action resulting in his death

In the early morning of 9th April the German Fourth and Sixth Armies launched the Flanders offensive, Operation "Georgette", the second in the planned series of attacks on the Allied Front for spring 1918. In the south of the Ypres Salient sector the British Second Army was pushed westwards, losing its hold of the Messines Ridge, Wytschaete and Messines villages which had been captured from the German Army in June 1917. This was the second phase of 4th Ypres (the Battle of the Lys), and is known as the Battle of Messines.

The 4th South Staffs, one of the Battalions of 7th Brigade of 25th Division, was to the north east of Ploegsteert manning the front line opposite Warneton. They held their position with severe loses during the morning, but were forced to pull back to Hill 63 (The Catacombs), just to the north of Ploegsteert village.

War Diary 10th April 1918
Enemy attack opened about 3.30am by heavy shelling of back area by Gas Shells. At 5.30am he opened his barrage on front and support lines lasting about an hour, then lengthened to Reserve on line about GREY FARM. "C" Company in front line wiped out. No. 6 platoon "B" Company withdrew to WATCHFUL POST owing to severity of shelling, ordered to retake USEFUL POST at all costs, platoon moved forward but was unable to re-occupy the position. The Gloucesters on the left and 10th Cheshires on the right having withdrawn, orders issued to withdraw to WATCHFUL POST. Battalion withdrew to Catacombs. At 2.00pm order to re-occupy old positions, re-occupied 5.00pm Bosch attacked 7.00pm, GREY FARM garrison stood fast, remainder of battalion withdrew to HILL 63 position isolated. Battalion withdrew to NEUVE EGLISE.

61 men of the 4th Battalion, South Staffs were killed on 10th April, 3 were from Tipton: Hodson, Keeting and Titley. Hodson is buried in Strand Military Cemetery, the other 2 are commemorated on the Ploegsteert Memorial.

Newspaper Cuttings