Society uncover story of Steyning brothers who went to war

1919 Ted Tidy, horse dealer SUS-151119-122254001
1919 Ted Tidy, horse dealer SUS-151119-122254001

THE lives of two brothers who both served in the World War One have been unravelled by a history society more than 70 years after their deaths.

The story of Moses and Hiram Tidy, who both have connections to the Steyning district, began in the late 1800s when they were born into a family of seven siblings, including themselves.

In 1911, the Tidy family were living in ‘gypsy caravans’ in Langton Lane, Hurstpierpoint, according to historic records.

By 1915, soldiers were being recruited following the outbreak of World War One, and the youngest brother of the two, Hiram, at just 18 years old, was placed on reserve.

Hiram listed his father, Edward Tidy of Spring Cottage, Small Dole, as his next of kin.

One year later, Hiram was attested again and sent to France on July 23 1916 with the rank of driver and saw action with the British Expeditionary Force from 1916 to 1918.

He later served in Germany where on July 7 1919 he was appointed paid lance bombardier.

On September 13 that same year, Hiram returned to the UK for dispersal with no injury or disability to declare, and on October 10 he was transferred to the army reserve.

Hiram’s older brother Moses also served as a driver in World War One, but his record cannot be found.

In 1920 Hiram married Ethel Sharpe in the Steyning district and they had four children – Edward, Sarah, Peter and Thomas.

In early 1921 Moses married Winifred Sinfield also in the Steyning district.

No children have been traced from the marriage, but Small Dole School photographs show several children with the Tidy surname, including Doreen who may have been his daughter.

Moses served again in World War Two, this time in the Royal Army Ordnance Corps.

Sadly the Army Roll of Honour for 1939 to 1945 recorded his death in May 1940, while serving in France and Belgium.

He was buried in Zutkerque Churchyard, Belgium.

Hiram’s death record has not been traced, but his wife Ethel died in the Chanctonbury district at the end of 1972.

The quest to uncover the lives of the two brothers began with a series of World War One letters.

Pat Nightingale of the Beeding and Bramber History Society told the Herald: “In Small Dole there were two sisters who wrote letters to a local soldier Cornelius Scarrott.

“These letters told us a lot about the village in the First World War.”

Mr Scarrott worked as a carpenter for one of the sisters’ husbands, which may be why the correspondence began.

She said: “In one of the letters they mention a Tommy Tidy who had come round to chop wood for them.

“They said ‘he’s such a good boy who sent Christmas parcels to his brothers who were serving’.

“So I found a 1911 Census with all the Tidy family members.”

This led Mrs Nightingale to Tommy’s older brothers, Moses and Hiram.

Another member of the society, Ken Wilson-Wheeler searched for the military records and found Hiram’s, but was unable to locate Moses’.

Mrs Nightingale searched for the family records including their marriages and children.

She said: “There still could be relatives in the area. I looked in the Yellow Pages and there are still some Tidys.”

If anyone is related to the Tidy clan or has anymore information, documents, photographs or items you can share, email

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