Private 3391 William Titley

 Titley William 96 340x600Titley William 96 404x600

Died of Wounds on Friday, 15th October 1915, age 27.
Buried in Grave L. 9. at Sailly-Labourse Communal Cemetery, Pas De Calais, France.

1st/6th Bn., South Staffordshire Regiment. 137th Brigade of 46th Division.

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

First landed France & Flanders, 5th March 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 Memorial.
Commemorated here because he appears on a Tipton memorial.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/188410/

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

William Titley's brother Walter was killed in October 1915 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.

Action resulting in his death

The 1/6th South Staffs arrived in France between the 3rd and 5th March 1915. They moved to Armentieres on 20th March and then to Fletre for further training. In April the battalion marched to Wulveringhem in Belgium alternating between trench duties and further training. In June 1915 they moved nearer to Ypres, and for the next 2 months spent time at the feared Hill 60.

On 2nd October the 1/6th moved back into France to take part in the second stage of the Loos Offensive. Further training preceded the march to the assembly trenches near Vermelles on 12th October.

At noon on 13th October, a fine sunny day, the attack commenced. The 1/5th and 1/6th South Staffs were to attack the West Face of the heavily defended Hohenzollern Redoubt, from the trench known as Big Willie which was already partly held by the 1/5th South Staffs. The South Staffs battalions were to attack in 4 waves; 'B' and 'C' companies of the 1/5th, followed by 'A' and 'D' companies of the 1/5th, followed by 'A' and 'C' companies of the 1/6th, and finally 'B' and 'D' companies of the 1/6th.

The first wave hardly got out of their trench due to devastating machine gun fire decimating their number. The second wave made their advance unaware of the disaster in front of them and suffered similarly high casualties. The third wave followed on as ordered, as they too were unaware of the situation in front due to lack of communication and the smoke intended to mask the South Staffs advance. The fourth wave also took losses, but at this point the attack was called off.

The 1/5th South Staffs, who provided the first and second waves, had over 100 men killed on the day or died from wounds in the next week. The 1/6th South Staffs, who provided the third and fourth waves, lost over 125 men. The attack was a costly failure and this in effect was the culmination of the Battle of Loos. This was the single most expensive day for the 46th (North Midlands) Division, even though it was involved in July 1st 1916 at Gommecourt. The Division had casualties of 180 Officers and 3583 Other Ranks. As Edmonds wrote in the Official History ".. it was a long time before the Division recovered from the effects of 13th October."

William was almost certainly wounded in the action at the Hohenzollern Redoubt and died 2 days later at a Field Ambulance 3 miles west at Sailly-Labourse. He is buried in Sailly-Labourse Communal Cemetery, next to the Hon. Yvo Alan Charteris, Son of the 11th Earl of Wemyss and Countess of Wemyss, of 62 Cadogan Square, London. Charteris's brother, Lord Elcho also fell.

Newspaper Cuttings

Tipton Herald December 25th 1915
Private William Titley, of the 1/6th South Staffordshire Regiment (T.F.), is reported officially to have been killed in action on the 13th October. (Editor: actually died of wounds on 15th October).
Prior to enlisting, he was employed at the Cannon Iron Foundry, Deepfields. Being an all-round athlete, he was well known in the district. When at home, he attended Roseville Wesley Church. His death is keenly felt by his relatives and friends. Private Titley was a plucky soldier, and willing at all times to do his full share of any task which had to be performed.