Family attend service as WWI soldier’s grave restored

When historians uncovered the overgrown and crumbling grave of fallen soldier Private Percy Titley in a Shropshire cemetery, a campaign started to restore the headstone.

When historians uncovered the overgrown and crumbling grave of fallen soldier Private Percy Titley in a Shropshire cemetery, a campaign started to restore the headstone.

Around 35 people, including family members, attended a ‘moving’ service at Shrewsbury cemetery after witnessing the unveiling of the new grave for the soldier, who served during World War One.

The soldier, from Castlefields, was with the Welsh Guards on the front line in France in 1917 before being sent home to Shrewsbury after contracting trench fever.

Private Percy Titley
Private Percy Titley

Discharged from the army as no longer fit for war service, he died from tuberculosis and war-related illness on May 13, 1918, aged 26.

Colonel Edmund Thewles, vice Lord Lieutenant of Shropshire attended the service held on Saturday. The grave has been cleaned and a new military plaque placed on it after the Commonwealth War Graves Commission stepped in to help.

Private Titley’s niece and nephew Mrs Gill Rowles and Michael Titley, paid their respects along with Captain Ben Parry from the Welsh Guards. A bugler played the last post and a minute’s silence was held.

Ken Bishop, who has helped co-ordinate the restoration project, said: “More people attended than we expected which was good.

“This brings attention to the fact that people paid the ultimate sacrifice.

“Private Titley didn’t die at the front but because he would have essentially been living in a hole for four years, he picked up TB.

“He paid the price of war and went through a lot of suffering before he died.”

The project has been masterminded by amateur military historian Phil Morris and chairman of the Shropshire War Memorials Association, Clive Blakeway.