Horace Alfred TILLEY was born in Beckenham in 1898. He was the elder son and second child of Alfred ?Horatio Tilley, b.c.1870, in Greenwich, and Mary, née Rickards, Tilley, also born in Greenwich in about 1876. Their marriage was registered in Lewisham in Q4, 1895. Horace’s birth was registered in Q2, 1898, in Bromley, Kent.
The family had moved to Beckenham, Kent, where their four eldest children were born and then to Weybridge, Surrey, where three younger children were born.
In 1901, the family was sharing a house at 28 Cherry Lane, Beckenham. Alfred was a domestic gardener.
Before 1911, the family had moved near to Rugby. In 1911, Alfred, was a ‘head gardener’ and he and Mary had been married 15 years – and all six of their children were still living. The family were living in Newton Road, Clifton upon Dunsmore, near Rugby. Horace was 13, so he would be only 16 when war broke out and whenever he ‘joined-up’, it would another two years before he was old enough to serve abroad.
Before the war, Horace worked in the Controller’s Department at the B.T.H.
In November 1915, Horace was mentioned as a ‘Single Man’, who had signed up under Lord Derby’s Scheme.
‘The Recruiting Position. Clear Definition by Lord Derby. Lord Derby’s Recruiting Scheme. Local Enlistments under the Group System. … The following have enlisted at the Rugby Drill Hall under the Group System. … Tilley, Horace, Church Street, Clifton.’
The CWGC site gives the Service Number: 212890 for an H. Tilley who was killed on 27 September 1918. However, the Medal Card relating to this number is for a ‘George H. Tilley’ of the Royal Field Artillery. There are no death records from the RFA relating to a George Tilley, and it must be assumed that this was a clerical error.
He was, at least latterly, in the “D” Battery, 52nd Brigade, Royal Field Artillery, as a Gunner, No: 212890, Royal Field Artillery.
The four – L to LIII (Howitzer) Brigades of the Royal Field Artillery (9th Divisional Artillery) – were formed as part of the raising of the First New Army, K1. They are also sometimes shown as 50 to 53 (Howitzer) Brigades RFA.
LII [or 52nd Brigade] was originally comprised of numbers 166, 167 and 168 Batteries RFA and the Brigade Ammunition Column. It was placed under command of the 9th (Scottish) Division and went to France with it in May 1915. In February 1915 the three six-gun batteries were reorganised to become four four-gun batteries and were titled as A, B, C and D.
On 21 February 1916 D Battery left to join 53 Brigade of the same Division, … The Brigade left 9th (Scottish) Division on 8 January 1917 to become an Army Field Artillery Brigade.
Various other re-organisations occurred, and it has not been possible to find all the areas where this Artillery Brigade was in action in late September 1918 – although a War Diary for a transport section is available from the TNA.
Thus the details of Horace’s death are unknown. He was buried in Plot ref: II. C. 16 in the Dominion Cemetery, Hendecourt-Les-Cagnicourt. There was no age or personal family message on the gravestone.
Hendecourt-les-Cagnicourt is 16 kilometres south-east of Arras … The Cemetery is 2.5 kilometres north-east of Hendecourt-les-Cagnicourt, in fields reached by a track signposted off the road between Hendecourt and the Arras to Cambrai road. Hendecourt-les-Cagnicourt was captured by the 57th (West Lancashire) and 52nd (Lowland) Division on the night of the 1-2 September 1918. Dominion Cemetery was made by Canadian units in September 1918, after the storming by the Canadian Corps of the Drocourt-Queant Line; … There are now over 200, 1914-18 war casualties commemorated in this site.
Driver A Hodgeson from the same company, who was originally listed as killed on the same day, was later recorded as killed in action two days earlier on 25 September, and was buried next to Horace Tilley.
His death was recorded in the Rugby Advertiser and also in the Birmingham Daily Post.
TILLEY – Killed-in-action in France on September 27th, 1918, Gunner HORACE A. TILLEY, R.F.A., aged 20, elder son of Mr. & Mrs. A. H. Tilley, 46 Railway Terrace, Rugby.
Gunner Horace Tilley, Royal Artillery, son of Mr. A. H. Tilley, 46, Railway Terrace, Rugby, was formerly employed in the Controller’s Department at the B.T.H.
Horace Tilley is also remembered on the Rugby Memorial Gates and on the list of BTH Employees who served in the War 1914-1918; although for some reason he does not appear on the BTH War Memorial. He is also listed on the memorial at St Mary the Virgin Church, Clifton-upon-Dunsmore, where a commemorative window has a plaque which reads
‘To the Glory of God and in honoured memory of Clifton Men who fell in the Great War, 1914-1918 … This window was given by the Parishioners.’
His Medal Card [under the incorrect name George] showed that he was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM
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This article on Horace TILLEY was researched and written for a Rugby Family History Group [RFHG] project, by John P H Frearson and is © John P H Frearson and the RFHG, May 2018.
 Rugby Advertiser, 27 November 1915.
 Army Troops, 52 Army Field Artillery Brigade, 1917 Jan – 1919 Jan, Catalogue reference: WO 95/203/4. With thanks for location information provided by: https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/261539-army-field-artillery-brigade-52-brigade-rfa/.
 Rugby Advertiser, Saturday, 12 October 1918.
 Birmingham Daily Post, Monday, 14 October 1918.
 This is from a list of names on the BTH War Memorial when it was unveiled. It is taken from the list published in the Rugby Advertiser, 4 November 1921 and given at https://www.rugbyfhg.co.uk/bth-war-memorial.