Myrtl Cottage near Kingsbury Episcopi

John T. Tilley

The forgotten soldier Myrtl Cottage near Kingsbury Episcopi

Rank, service number and regiment

Private 3/7260 6th Battalion, Somerset Light Infantry


1915 Taunton. Sailed from Folkestone to Boulogne on 21st May 1915.

Home address

Myrtle Cottage K.E. confirmed by Ron Parsons in 2018, who also lived here. His mother was Beatrice Dora Tilley, daughter of John Thomas Tilley.

Date of death

16 September 1916

Age of death

39 years

Circumstances of death

The 6th Battalion Somerset Light Infantry was involved in a ferocious battle to take Gueudecourt and Flers back from the Germans in the context of the Battle of the Somme, which ranged from July 1916 to November 1916. Tanks were used for the first time by the British in this battle, but the machine-gun fire from the Germans and lack of success of a British creeping barrage on German emplacements meant there was a heavy death toll of soldiers. At the end of the encounter the 6th Battalion Somerset Light Infantry had 44 killed, 215 wounded and 145 missing. John Tilley was amongst the missing. There were similar heavy losses amongst the other 7 battalions.

Where buried

Due to the ferocity of the battle on the 16 September 1916, John’s body was never recovered. His name is recorded on Pier and Face 2A of the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme, France.

Note: John’s name is incorrectly transcribed as TILLY on the Memorial and in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission papers.

Date of birth & full name

1877 Gibraltar. JOHN THOMAS TILLEY.


Withy/farm labourer


Thomas Tilley (1839 – 1905) and Elizabeth Tilley (nee Talbot) 1847 – 1922. In 1881 they were living in Dudmoor, K.E. In 1901 Thomas was recorded as an army pensioner. Thomas Tilley was a career soldier, serving overseas. John was born in Gibralter and his sisters Louisa and Harriet were born in Malta and Jamaica respectively.

Spouse & children

Sarah Marks 1870-1925, a kid glove machinist. They married 19 June 1899. Children of John T Tilley and Sarah Marks: Henry James Tilley 1899 – 1918, killed in action. Annie Louise Tilley 1900 – 1987 married George England in 1922. Beatrice Dora Tilley 1911 – 1994 married Stanley William George Parsons in 1928.


1915 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal.

Other information

John Thomas Tilley had two sisters:
Louisa 1871 – 1943. Born in Malta. She married Herbert Norris and emigrated to New York USA in 1891.

Harriet 1880 – 1930. Born in Jamaica. She married Herbert Male a shepherd in the 1911 census and they had the following children:

Frederick James Male 1898 – 1965; Edward Percy Male 1899 – 1975; Overt Earl Male 1903 – 1986; Melina Louise Male 1905 – 1988;
Hubert Thomas Male 1907 – 1995

The photo below shows part of the scroll of John T. Tilley that accompanied the bronze medallion (Dead Man’s Penny).

The photo was obtained from ebay. See entry under Henry James Tilley for more information.