2nd Corporal 102953 Samuel Roland Whitehouse

Whitehouse Samuel Roland 96 436x600
Photograph courtesy of my old school mate David Hutton.

Died Home on Saturday, 29th April 1916, age 32.
Buried in Grave In North-East part. at Ocker Hill (St. Mark) Churchyard, Staffordshire, United Kingdom.

Royal Engineers, 177th Tunnelling Company.

Husband of Mrs Julia Alice Whitehouse of 12 Brown Lion Street, Tipton, Staffs.
Born: Great Bridge, Enlisted: London, Resident: Tipton.

First landed France & Flanders, 3rd August 1915.
Medal entitlement: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives survived and transcribed.

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

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/395330/

Genealogical Data

Birth of Samuel Roland Whitehouse registered September 1883 in West Bromwich.

1901 Census
52 Gospel Oak Road, Tipton, Staffs.
George Willis (56, Furncaeman, born Worcester), his wife Emma C. (54, born London), and Samuel R. Whitehouse (17, Boarder, Miner, born Tipton).

Marriage of Samuel Roland Whitehouse and Julia Alice Eades recorded June quarter 1907 in Dudley.

1911 Census
72 Gospel Oak Road, Tipton, Staffs.
Samuel Whitehouse (28, Miner, born West Bromwich), his wife Alice (23, born Tipton), and their 4 children: Samuel Wilson (4, born Tipton), Matilda (3, born Tipton), Alice May (1 year 11 months, born Tipton), and Stanley (6 months, born Tipton).
Three further children were born: Roland in 1913, Reginald in 1914 and Joseph Arthur in 1916.

Personal Data

Samuel joined the 3rd (Militia) Battalion of the South Staffs (Private 6122) on 7th January 1901. He was then 17 years 7 months old, 5 feet 6 inches tall, weighed 111 pounds and had a 33½-inch chest. He had a fresh complexion, hazel eyes, dark brown hair and lived at 2 Gospel Oak House, Great Bridge, Tipton.

He must have enjoyed this taste of military life as on the 7th May 1902 he enlisted as Private 6438, a Regular in the South Staffs. He was then 18 years 11 months old, 5 feet 7½ inches tall, weighed 126 pounds and had a 32½ inch chest. He signed up for 3 years in the Colours and 9 more in the Reserves. He was initially with the 4th Battalion, but was posted to the 1st Battalion on 4th February 1903. This date may be incorrect as he is recorded as having served in South Africa from 7th January 1903 to 3rd June 1904, suffering from sunburn in February 1903 and a crushed finger in July 1903. After South Africa, he spent some time at the Curragh Camp in Ireland, before being discharged to the Reserves on 6th May 1905. His time as a Reservist finished on 6th May 1914, otherwise he would have been immediately recalled to the Colours on the outbreak of war.

Samuel enlisted as Sapper 102953 in the Royal Engineers on 23rd July 1915 in London. This was most likely at the House of Commons offices of John Norton Griffiths, the MP for Wednesbury and Tipton, and the driving force behind the newly formed Tunnelling Companies of the Royal Engineers. He was then 37 years 1 months old, 5 feet 8 inches tall, weighed 138 pounds. His address was 12 Brown Lion Street, Tipton. Surprisingly as he had been a miner for many years, he enlisted as a Tunneller's mate at 2/2d per day, rather than a Tunneller at 6 shillings per day.

Initially he arrived at Chatham, but by 3rd August he had arrived in France, and on the 16th August he joined the 177th Tunnelling Company in the Wytschaete area, near Ypres. He was slightly wounded in action of 25th September, re-joining his unit 2 days later on the 27th. On 20th October his skills as a miner were recognised, and he was re-graded to Tunneller at the rate of 6 shillings per day. On 28th March 1916, he was promoted to 2nd Corporal.

On 9th April 1916, his youngest son Joseph Arthur died. Samuel was granted leave which may have been in recognition of this loss. Samuel had been home just a few days when he died from Influenza and Pneumonia, in all probablility contracted before arrival in Tipton according to Dr Brown's report.

After Samuel's death, his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £30/1/10d (30 pounds, 1 shilling and 10 pence) which included 4 pounds towards his funeral expenses; this was paid to his widow, Julia A., in September 1916. His War Gratuity was £4/0/0d (4 pounds exactly), this was also paid to his widow in September 1919. Julia Whitehouse was granted a pension of 27 shillings per week for herself and the children.

Action resulting in his death

The 177th Tunnelling Company was formed in French Flanders in June 1915, moving to face Wytschaete, near Ypres, Belgium. They were relieved there in November 1915, and moved to Railway Wood, where it remained for 2 years.

During his leave in England, Samuel became ill with influenza which became pneumonia, and he died on 29th April 1916. Samuel is buried in St. Mark's Churchyard, Ocker Hill, Tipton.

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