Private Thomas Mordle

Regiment: 11th Battalion Royal Sussex
Service No: TF.201436
Date and place of birth: 1st qtr 1890 in Midhurst, Sussex
Date and place of death:  6 August 1917 in Flanders

Family background

Thomas Mordle was baptised on 11 May 1890 in Midhurst Parish Church and was the sixth son of Henry and Emily Mordle. Henry, a stonemason born in Taunton, Somerset in 1847 had married Emily Sageman in 1871. She was born in Midhurst in 1852. They had fifteen children: Elizabeth, Emily, Mary, Alice, Annie, William, Charles, Albert, Ernest, Ellen Victoria Jubilee, Robert, Thomas, George, Alfred and Edith.

In 1881 and 1891 the family was living in Duck Lane, Midhurst but by 1897 had moved to Heyshott, Sussex. Charles Mordle died in 1892, aged 9. Ernest Mordle died in 1903, aged 18. Henry Mordle died in 1905, aged 57, in Midhurst.

At the time of the 1911 census the widow Emily Mordle (59) was living with one of her sons William James Mordle (30) in Church Hill, Midhurst. He was employed as a stoker by the Midhurst Gas Company. Also living with their brother were Thomas (21), a coal porter, Alfred (14), a barber’s assistant, and Edith (12) who was at school.

Robert Mordle (22) was living with and working as an assistant to Henry Willshire, fishmonger, poulterer and fruiterer in West Street, Midhurst. George Mordle (20) was a barman living and working at ‘The Woodman’, Woodford Green, Essex. Thomas Mordle married Rose Enticknap from Cocking in 1911; Robert Mordle married Florence L Wood in 1912; George Mordle married Lizzy Mary Saunders on 14 December 1914: all these marriages were registered in the Midhurst district.

Emily Mordle remarried in 1913 to George H Hersey in Midhurst.

Military service

Thomas Mordle enlisted in Midhurst and joined The Royal Sussex Regiment (1st South Down).  The regiment was formed in 1914 byC. Lieut. Col Lowther MP and a committee in Bexhill on Sea, Sussex and moved to Maidstone, Kent. In July 1915, under War Office command it moved to Aldershot and then to Witley to join the 116th Brigade of the 39th Division. They mobilised for war, landed in Le Havre and moved to the Western Front. In 1916 they were involved in the Battles of Richebourge l’Avoue, Thiepval Ridge and the Battles of Ancre and Ancre Heights (1916). During 1917 the Battles at Ypres and Passchendaele took place,  starting with the Battle for Pilckem Ridge 31 July to 2 August.

The cost to both sides in casualties was immense and the exact total is still in contention but it is assumed that between 200,000 and 400,000 men were killed, wounded or went missing.

Thomas Mordle was awarded Victory and British medals.

Death and commemoration

He died of wounds on 6 August 1917. He is buried in Dozinghem Military Cemetery, grave III.A.8. His name is inscribed on Midhurst War Memorial and on Memorial Panels in Midhurst Parish Church.

Subsequent family history

Rose Mordle (27) married Leonard William Lewis (24) in 1919 in Midhurst. He lived at 2 Railway Terrace, Midhurst and had served in the Royal Sussex Regiment as an Acting Sergeant, and was awarded the Military medal in October 1918. They later lived at Little Common, Tillington, Sussex. Rose Lewis died in 1959, aged 67, in Midhurst. Leonard William Lewis died in Chichester in 1969.

Alfred Mordle’s name is listed on the Panels in the church as having served in the war. He was in the Royal Army Medical Corps, Private no. 11132 and first served in France from 13 May 1915. He was awarded Victory, British and 1915 Star medals. Alfred Mordle married Margaret Warner in 1922 in Midhurst. He is recorded in Kelly’s Directory of Sussex 1930 as a hairdresser in West Street. He died in 1971, aged 74, in Midhurst

Robert Mordle enlisted on 11 December 1915 in Winchester in 4th Battalion Hampshire Regiment, Private no. 203762. He was a cowman, aged 27, and living at Little Sheet, Petersfield, Hampshire. He was discharged on 9 April 1917 as he was no longer physically fit for war service and was awarded a Silver War badge. At this time he and his wife were living at 14 Tilmore Gardens, Petersfield, with their children Robert Henry and Irene Florence Rosina Mordle. He died in 1971, aged 83.

George Mordle enlisted on 4 December 1915 in Midhurst in the 4th Battalion Royal Sussex Regiment, Private no. 4082. He was a storeman, aged 24, living at 3 Railway Terrace, Midhurst with his wife Lizzy, son Leslie and twin daughters Irene Emily and Winifred Grace Mordle. He was discharged on 7 September 1916 as he was no longer physically fit for war service and died in 1965, aged 74.

Their mother Emily Hersey died in 1931, aged 78, in Midhurst.

Midhurst U3A WW1 War Memorial Project