Whitehouse, Clifford

Clifford Whitehouse, was born circa 1921, and was baptised in St, Mark’s Church on the  28th July 1920 the son of Charles Henry & Martha Ann Whitehouse, their address was 21, Primrose Street and Charles Henry was an Ironworker.

The only marriage I have found in the right time frame of a Charles Henry Whitehouse, is one to a Mary Ann Oldfield, who, incidentally signs as Mary Ann Oldfield.   I also know that the maiden name of the mother of Clifford, on their birth registrations of him and his siblings is Oldfield, and she is so described on the children’s Baptisms as Martha Ann in the St. Mark’s Church baptisms register.   I thought that it might be a clerical error on the part of the Vicar, but Mary Ann signed her name as Mary Ann!   So there is a little mystery over this, but I am including the details but if anyone can help, please get in touch with the website.

They married on Boxing Day, the 26th December 1908.    I have the banns for the ceremony and also the Marriage Certificate, and she signed her name as Mary Ann.   Page 225 No. 449 26th December 1908 Charles Henry Whitehouse, 29, Bachelor, Ironworker, 29, Primrose Street, John WHITEHOUSE, Ironworker & Mary Ann Oldfield, 23, Spinster, 24, Prince’s Street, Alfred OLDFIELD, Brickmaker.  (After Banns by me Thos. WILLIAMS, Vicar)  Witnesses:-  Alfred OLDFIELD, John OLDFIELD & Margaret DAVIES.

Martha Ann Oldfield did have a sister Mary, they are both on the 1901 census but the 1911 census only shows Mary, as Martha Ann, if she is the right one, was married to Charles Henry Whitehouse by then.

The first time we see Clifford is on the 1921 census, when the family are seen living at 21, Primrose Street, Connah’s Quay.   Charles H. Whitehouse was head of the household, and he was now 45 years and 10 months old, and he had been born in Prices End, Staffordshire.   He was a Breaker Down at John Summers & Sons Steelworks, Shotton.  His wife, Martha A. Whitehouse was now 35 years old, and she had been born in Connah’s Quay.   Their children were Alfred J. Whitehouse, 11 years, and 9 months old, Charles H. Whitehouse, 9 years and 7 months old and Sydney Whitehouse 5 years and 2 months old, all wee in school.  Clyford (sic) Whitehouse was 11 months old, and all the children had been born in Connah’s Quay.

Sadly, I do not know about Clifford’s childhood or teen years to add to his story, again, any help would be gratefully received.

The 1939 National Register which was taken on the 29th of September 1939 is a source for birthdates.  Charles H. Whitehouse’s date of birth is given as the 24th September 1876 and he was a General Labourer Heavy Worker, Martha A. tells us that she was born on the 13th June 1886 and like most women on the National Register is described as doing “Unpaid Domestic Duties.“   Clifford’s brother Charles Henry’s date of birth was the 2nd November 1912 and he was a General Labourer in the Brick Works.   His sister Phyllis had been born on the 27th October 1923 and was a “Cakewash Silk Worker.”  There was a redacted or closed record listed.   War had been declared on the 3rd September, so the redacted entry probably wasn’t Clifford.

It could be of course that by the 29th September 1939 Clifford was already at Sea or in training with the Royal Navy, but he was to serve on a Motor Torpedo Boat.   On the website Coastal Forces Veterans Forum  there is a discussion on what happened to the H.M.M.L. 129, it is a sad story.    My many thanks to them for telling the story, these are from various members, but shed a light on the day that Clifford died along with his crew mates.

By Ariete » Wed Feb 19, 2014 9:49 am On 20 March 1942, four boats of the 3rd Motor Launches Flotilla (ML126, ML129, ML130 and ML132) left Gibraltar towards Malta.   Six Italian Fiat CR.42, on the 21 March, strafed them, ML129 exploded and sunk, while ML132 reached the Tunisian coasts and stopped near the Bona pier. 

Known Crew:- AB      Clifford Whitehouse D/JX 192089 (Killed in action 21/3/42) Age 21 Son of Charles Henry and Martha Ann Whitehouse, of Connah’s Quay, Flintshire. Buried in Bone War Cemetery, Annaba III. D. 4.

By Brian Holmes » Thu Feb 20, 2014 7:49 pm.ML129 is sunk by aircraft bombing off Algeria. Survivors are picked up by ML 132. Seven men are killed or later die of wounds. ML 132 is damaged by bombing, enters Bone in French neutral territory and asks to exercise the right to stay for twenty four hours to make repairs. French authorities refuse and intern both boat and crew. 

By tomcowell1920 » Fri Oct 21, 2016 5:12 pm I am looking for any information concerning my father’s wartime service. In particular the period around March 1942. His name was Thomas Cowell (Able seaman) who served on ML’S 129 and later ML 157.  My father was a crew member on the Motor Launch 129 (part of the 3rd Flotilla) that was sunk off the coast of Algeria (23rd March 1942) on its way to Malta with the loss of 7 or 8 of his crew mates. He was taken aboard ML 132 which put into Bone harbour to conduct repairs. However the Vichy French interned the crew. My father was then held at the Laghouat detention centre until November 1942. Most of the information I have I got directly from him before he passed away.

Clifford’s crewmate who also died and is buried next to him:- Ord.John Ewins P/JX 234663 (Killed in action 21/3/42 (Buried in Bone, Algeria) Age 21 Son of Philip and Celia Ewins, of Folkestone Buried in Bone War Cemetery, Annaba III. D. 5

Also on Warships


HMS ML 129 (ML 129)

Motor Launch of the Fairmile B class

Navy   The Royal Navy

Type    Motor Launch

Class    Fairmile B

Pennant           ML 129

Built by           Mashford Brothers (Cremyll, England, U.K.)

Ordered           8 Jan 1940

Laid down


Commissioned            14 Oct 1940

Lost     22 Mar 1942


Bombed and sunk off the Algerian coast on 22 March 1942

See also

On the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Graves Concentration Report, it shows Clifford’s Rank as 1/Class Marine and he was buried, presumably on the day he died or close to 21st March 1942 and reburied on the 10th May 1944 with another crewmate 2/Class Marine John Ewins, who died on the same day as Clifford.   They are buried next to each other.    Clifford’s cause of Death – 1 – Died on War Service.

Clifford was truly missed by his parents and siblings as his name was put forward to be added to the War Memorial.

Learn more about the other soldiers on the Connahs Quay and Shotton War Memorial

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