Birmingham Road, Blakenhall, Cockshutts Lane, Dudley Road Council School, Green Lane, Horseley Fields, Johnson Street, Jolly Collier, Moore Street, South Staffordshire Regiment, St Luke's Church, St Matthew's Church, St Peter's Church, Thomson Avenue, Walsall, Willanhell Road, William Titley
This blog post has been shared by Maureen Griffiths about her granddad:
Born, 5th January 1891 – Died, 27th May 1918
Born on 5 January 1891, this baptism record from St. Matthews Church, is the first record we have of William Fred Titley.
The record shows he was baptised 22nd of January 1891, his mother’s name was Jane Titley (nee Wilkes) and his father was also named William Titley. His father was an “Edge Tool Polisher” at that time.
They lived in Moore Street, off the Willenhall Road, at the back of the old “Jolly Collier”. We have visited Moore Street recently and there are no houses remaining, there are only scrap yards and factories along its short length now.
On 13 February 1899 William Fred turns up in the register of Dudley Road Primary school, and their address is now given as 31 Green Lane, All Saints. Green Lane became the Birmingham Rd in the 1920s. The register shows that he left the school 19 October 1899 the reason given is that he “Left Town”.
William and his family certainly had left town, they turn up in Walsall on the 1901 census, it could have been William’s father looking for work, or it could have been other matters. The census shows the Titley family living at 10 Long Street Walsall, including parents William Fred and Sarah Jane. William’s older sister, Sarah, was born in 1888. There are also two younger sisters, Alice and Elise Maud. By the 1911 census we find the Titley household has moved to No. 33 Johnson Street, off Cockshutts Lane.
Both Cockshutts Lane and Green Lane were developed in the early 1920s, to become the Birmingham Road, running into Thomson Avenue. This was a public works project to find work for the unemployed in the area.
William was living in Johnson St. and working in a local factory as a brass polisher, when he met and married Ruth Smith in St. Luke’s Church Blakenhall on Christmas Day 1912. They had two children, a daughter, Elsie May, born 1913 when they were living at 99 Green Lane, and a son, William Fredrick Joseph, born in 1914, when they were living back at Williams parents’ house, No 33 Johnson Street. Maybe the family moved back to William’s parents house because he was about to enlist to fight in WW1, we can’t be sure. We do know that William did enlist in the 1/6th South Staffs Regiment and went off to fight in France.
On 27th May 1918 William Fredrick Titley was killed in action and is buried in Beuvry Communal Cemetery Extension 11 c 11. Beuvry, Department du Pas-de-Calais, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France. He is also remembered in the Lady Chapel at St Peter’s Church
The 1/6th South Staffordshire battalion war diary covering the 27th May 1918 records that only one man from the battalion was killed on that particular day. Therefore, it would be reasonable to assume that this was Private William Fredrick Titley 17721. As a Private soldier he would have been on duty in the listening post which is described in the diary. The village of Essars, the area in which the battalion were stationed is just a short hop from Beuvry where he is buried.