Death of Cottingham soldier to be commemorated

Corby Cube
Corby Cube

A soldier who was awarded the Military Medal for an act of gallantry is the latest local man to be remembered in First World War commemorations.

Corby Council is commemorating the 100th anniversary of the deaths of individual servicemen killed during the conflict.

The latest is Sgt Francis Omar Tilley, who died from shrapnel wounds 100 years ago on December 14, 1917.

Francis Omar Tilley was born in 1894. His father was John James Tilley of Cottingham, his mother Clara Tilley, nee White, of Middleton.

In 1901 the family were living in Corby Road, Cottingham. By 1911 they were living in High Street, Cottingham.

Sgt Tilley enlisted in the 2nd Battalion, Leicestershire Regiment, a few months before the outbreak of the First World War.

He was on his way to join the Battalion in India when war broke out.

He eventually transferred to the 1st Battalion and served on the Western Front. According to a newspaper report Sgt Tilley was wounded six times on active service, including at the Battle of Festubert in 1915.

An announcement in the London Gazette on March 12, 1918, read that Sgt Tilley was awarded the Military Medal for “an act of gallantry and devotion to duty”.

On December 10, 1917, Sgt Tilley was admitted to Abbeville Hospital after being moved by rail from Ypres, suffering with multiple shrapnel wounds. Four days later he died.

Sgt Francis Omar Tilley M.M. is buried in the Abbeville Cemetery and is commemorated on the Cottingham/Middleton War Memorial.

All information regarding the First World War commemorations can be found on Corby Council’s website, www.corby.gov.uk.