Category Archives: Roll of Honour

This Roll of Honour records the stories of Tearle men and women who died in war.

31Mar/16

Charles Ernest Walter Tearle 1885, Southwark, London (Norfolk Rgt)

I first came across Charles Tearle 1836 and Annie nee Eastment in the mid-1980s while I was researching Tearles in the Family History Centre in Hamilton, NZ, run by the Mormans in a whitewashed brick building across the road from their impressive temple. Charles and Annie baptised several children in the Dunstable Methodist Circuit, one of whom was Charles 1863, their third child. Charles 1863 was, of course, the father of the man in the title of this piece. The parents of Charles 1836 were George Tearle 1809 from Wingfield and his cousin Elizabeth nee Tearle from Stanbridge. George’s parents were Richard 1778 and Mary nee Pestel, and Richard’s parents were Joseph 1737 and Phoebe nee Capp. Phoebe was a staunch Methodist, so I am not at all surprised to see Charles and Annie baptising children in the Methodist Church. You can walk from Stanbridge (where Joseph and Phoebe lived) to Dunstable; it would be five miles at the most. In 1848 a railway branch line from Stanbridge to Dunstable was opened, so for a few pennies on third class, you would not have to walk.

In the 1881 census, Charles 1863 was at home in Dunstable working at his trade as a boot clicker with his painter/glazier father and bonnet sewer mother, but with the railway so close, and London calling, Charles moved to Southwark, on the other side of the Thames from the City, where he married Louisa Caroline Green in the now-demolished church of Newington All Saints just three years later.

Charles marriage Louisa Caroline Green All Saints Walworth Southwark 1884

Charles 1863 marriage to Louisa Caroline Green in Newington All Saints, Surrey Square, Walworth, 1884.

A boot clicker is a skilled trade, which made the uppers for shoes and boots. The tradesman was responsible for getting the most possible from a length of material for using in shoes. Charles would have worked in a factory in Dunstable, and found out about the trade and how it worked in London. He would have spent a bob or two on a train ticket, and half a day later he would be knocking on the door of a London bootmaker – in the expectation of receiving better pay, presumably. This was not heaven, though; Walworth and Southwark were huge slums populated exclusively by the poor. Life would have been pretty tough going – imagine the din of steel horseshoes and steel wagon wheels echoing from the walls of brick cottages that lined narrow cobbled streets, the pungent smell of horse manure and human waste left to cure in the open, the bitter taste of coal smoke, the choking acid fog, and the swirling winds carrying sand and dust with great precision directly into your eyes. However it was for Charles and Louisa in particular, Charles’ sister Charlotte came to the wedding to see him off, and he and Louisa’s first child was Charles Ernest Walter Tearle, born on 25 February 1885 in 153 Trafalgar St, Walworth.

In the 1901 census, Charles E W was 16yrs old and already at work, in Barking, Essex, as a cropper in the “printing trade.”

He married Frances Catherine Stewart on 1 Oct 1910 in Edmonton, Essex. In the 1911 census he was a “Printers machine minder.” He was 26yrs old. In 1914 he was 29yrs old, and he chose to join the army; the Norfolk Regiment no less, but only, I suspect, because they got to him before any of the London regiments did.

There are only two documents in existence that tell the story of Charles’ military life. I think the most telling one is the record of his Silver War Badge.

Charles E Tearle WW1 Silver War Badge

Charles E Tearle WW1 Silver War Badge

You can see he wasted no time signing up for war – he enlisted on 19 Dec 1914 and received the Norfolk Regiment number 21622. He definitely served overseas, for long enough, and well enough to be promoted to a full corporal, and somehow, somewhere, he picked up a sickness so bad he was discharged with a Para 392 “Not fit enough to be an effective soldier.” That is why he received a Silver War Badge; he could go home, wear his Silver Badge on his civilian clothes and demonstrate that he had done as much for his country as the British Army could wish.

The next document does not help to explain anything about Charles’ war. What it does do, though, is to confirm that Charles E Tearle, above, is definitely Charles E W Tearle. The fact that he is in the Norfolk Regiment, and he has the number 21622 in both documents, is unbreakable evidence.

Charles E W Tearle 21622 WW1 army medal rolls

Charles E W Tearle 21622 WW1 army medal rolls.

He has been awarded only the British Medal for service, so it is likely that he spent much of his time in the army somewhere in the UK, possibly Ireland, which was considered Home in 1914, so it did not count for pension or service. There is no Theatre of War here, so it is difficult to square with his Silver War Badge card saying that he did serve overseas. This is all very enigmatic, so I shall leave off looking at it pending the receipt of other documentation that will illuminate it. I now have a couple of pictures that will help to illustrate the man; my thanks to Paul Ailey.

03 Charles EW, a boxer

Charles E W Tearle, a boxer.

01 Charles EW (standing) date

Charles E W Tearle, standing.

I am sure he is young in the first photograph above, probably under 20yrs, and in the second photograph he is in the army, aged somewhere between 29 and 34yrs old, obviously on the younger side because he is a lance corporal here, and he left the army a full corporal, with two stripes.

Charles’ son, Charles Francis Stewart Tearle 1912, Edmonton, joined the navy to fight in WW2. His story is told elsewhere on this site.

29Mar/16

Edward Joseph Tearle 1874, Watford (Royal Engineers)

Let’s start with Edward’s entry in “National Roll of the Great War” because although the paragraph below was written at the end of his service, it will help us introduce him – not least because he is now on my list of men who fought in Gallipoli. And so far, none have come out unscathed.
Tearle, E J (Rgt No: 101941)

Tearle Edward Joseph RE National Roll

You can see from “National Roll” that Edward’s WW1 experience was definitely in two halves. He was wounded in Gallipoli, recovered, went to Egypt, and then he was sent to Europe where he was kept out of the firing line, but was still working. There is one document that spells this out:

Edward Joseph Tearle 101941 WW1 army service record p4

Edward Joseph Tearle 101941 WW1 army service record p4

This is the document from Chelsea that tells us most about Edward’s career. You can see that he joins the Royal Engineers on 1 June 1915, but in only a month’s time, he is in the MEF, the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force, and off to war somewhere in the Middle East – or so. One month’s training? I found the reason – Edward had already been involved with the 2nd Volunteer Battalion, Hertfordshire Regiment. It is commendable that he joins the war effort so soon after war is declared but another thing you may have calculated by the title of this story, was that he was 40yrs old at the time.  He said he was a stone mason, so he was signed up for the Royal Engineers.

After a short but memorable stint in the MEF, Edward was sent to Europe with the BEF (the British Expeditionary Force) and it would appear he was kept well out of trouble, but obviously still able to work. He accumulated a total of 3yrs 363 days of overseas service and left Europe in early 1919, to spend a few months being assessed, and then being discharged on a Para 392 “Not fit enough to be a soldier”. As you can see from the document below, it was due to sickness.

Edward Joseph Tearle WW1 Silver War Badge

Edward Joseph Tearle WW1 Silver War Badge

Edward J Tearle 101941 WW1 Army medal roll

Edward J Tearle 101941 WW1 Army medals award card.

We can speculate all we like in the absence of documented evidence, but there is a range of very nasty diseases you can get from fighting in Gallipoli or Egypt; and Edward could have caught his, as Arthur Walter Tearle did, from hospital. Without the documents above, we would never have found out about Edward’s Silver War Badge, because below that is the card that recorded his service medals.

He did not get the 14/15 Star because he was not overseas in 1914, but you can see he has been awarded the 1915 Star, the British and the Victory medals. I assume the date of 21 July 1915 (and not 1 July 1915, which was his MEF starting date) being recorded as his entry into the Egypt Theatre of War, is the date his ship anchored at Suvla Bay, in preparation for the landing in Gallipoli on 6 August.

Edward left the army and went back to civilian life on 29 June 1919. Twenty years earlier, he had married a Hemel Hempstead girl (who lived barely 10 miles away) by the name of Jane Picton, in 1897, and his eldest son, Edward George, was born in 1898. In 1914, he was 16yrs old. On 22 June 1918, at a little over 20yrs old, he joined the Labour Corps and went to war, too. His war was short, of course, but he did go to France.

Edward’s sickness never left him. He died on 23 June 1933, at 60 Vicarage Rd, Watford, only 59yrs old. His entry in the London probate register is pretty grim, and probably reflects the debilitating condition that the war had given him.

Edward Joseph Tearle Watford probate 1933

Edward Joseph Tearle Watford probate 1933

When Elaine and I visited the Vicarage Road Cemetery in Watford, we found a corner that had so many Tearle graves and headstones, we called it Tearle Corner. Edward’s second son, George, was there, as were both he and Jane. The grave reference is K-953.

Tearle Corner headstone K953 George 1902-1931 Edward Joseph T 1874-1933 and Jane nee Picton Vicarage Rd Cemetery Watford

Tearle Corner headstone K-953. George 1902-1931, Edward Joseph Tearle 1874-1933 and Jane nee Picton. Vicarage Rd Cemetery, Watford.

The ancestry information on Edward that you need to know is as follows: his parents were Jabez Tearle 1844 and Susannah nee Payne, his grandparents were George 1818 and Annie nee Haws, the grandparents of many Watford (and Australian) families today, and George was the son of Abel 1797 and Hannah nee Frost. Abel, of course, was the son of Fanny Tearle (who became Fanny Johnson) who was a daughter of Thomas 1737 and Susannah nee Attwell.

 

28Mar/16

Bertie Tearle 1900, St Albans

I know frustratingly little about Bertie, but this is what I do know: he was awarded the Silver War Badge. Here is the documentation, from which we can deduce a few things:

Bertie Tearle Silver War Badge documentation

Bertie Tearle Silver War Badge documentation

Firstly, you can see that he joined the war late, but then he would, because he was only 14 when the war started. The Cause of Discharge column indicating a Paragraph 392 reason simply means that he was so wounded, he was not fit enough to be a soldier. He joined the war on 4 Feb 1918 and he is wounded beyond repair by 31 Dec 1918. He was just 19yrs.

No records from Chelsea Hospital survive for Bertie, so we cannot know the state of his injuries, nor even when he received them, but he has been in two different regiments; the King’s Royal Rifle Corps, and the Royal Fusiliers (City of London) 4th battalion and 2nd battalion. This is also the regiment that Arthur Walter Tearle joined, as well as Herbert John Tearle.

The war ended on 11 November 1918 and the 2/2 London Division was in Palestine for much of 1918, so we can assume Bertie was injured, or caught some awful desert disease, in Palestine.

We can now turn to two more sources of documentation, both reserved for Bertie’s service medals.

Bertie Tearle 60996, GS92961, GS92961 WW1 army medal rolls

Bertie Tearle 60996, GS92961, GS92961 WW1 army medal rolls

There is firstly a list of the fighting units he belonged to, and it’s worth remembering that the GS/ notation refers to a General Service soldier, and that in turn simply means Territorial and that means volunteer. He is awarded the Victory medal and the British War Medal.

Bertie Tearle Silver medal

Bertie Tearle service medal allocation documentation.

You can see that the medal card refers to this document; in the top right-hand corner is the number 4484, which is the “Page” number on the medals card. It is the Royal Fusiliers which sets out the medals to be awarded, and this was the last regiment to which young Bertie belonged.

The only other documentation I have (except for turn-of-the-century censuses) is Bertie’s entry in the National Probate Calendar of 1961.

Bertie Tearle probate

Bertie Tearle probate notice, 1961.

He still lives in St Albans, he has married, but he has no children, and he owns very little. The “effects” of £592 shown here is probably the value of his house. We do not know if he worked anywhere, and we do not know if he even walked. He has lived to 61yrs old, but that is not a great age; his sacrifice in going to war has been ongoing for the rest of his life.

Now, who was Bertie? His parents were Edward Joseph Tearle 1869 and Emma Elizabeth nee Warner. Edward grew up in the Symonside Cottages, just off Coopers Green Lane, between St Albans and Stanborough. His parents were John Tearle 1830 of Soulbury and Harriett nee Figg. Both of these parents spent time in the Hertford Workhouse, incarcerated because of debt and grinding poverty. John’s parents were Richard Tearle 1805 of Stanbridge and Martha nee Walker, the founders of the Soulbury Tearles. Richard was a grandson of John 1741 and Martha nee Archer.

Edward was a younger brother of William Francis Tearle  1857 and the uncle to John Henry Tearle  who was killed in 1915, so Bertie was a cousin of John Henry’s, and was himself the uncle to Edward Kefford William Tearle, who was killed at De Panne in WW2.

If anyone thought that moving from Soulbury to Hertfordshire would give them a better life, I do not think it really panned out that way.

13Mar/16

Herbert John Tearle 1898, Bexleyheath

Herbert was born in Bexleyheath in 1898, a near-perfect date for him to be drawn into WW1. His parents were George 1863 of Hockliffe and Elizabeth nee Clark. I do not yet have a reason for George’s move to London, but he married Elizabeth in Dartford in 1887 and in the 1911 census George and Elizabeth were living at 115 Broadway, Bexley Heath, Kent, where he said his occupation was a florist. It is likely, then that the location was a flat above a shop. When he died at 87 years old, it was in a place called The Grange, in Bloomsfield Rd, Bexley Heath, Kent. His will named his executors as Frank Tearle, Company Director, and Herbert John Tearle, Builders Merchant, so his family has followed their father’s interest in small business. His parents were Jabez 1841 of Hockliffe and Mary nee Clarke. Jabez traces his ancestry back to John 1741.

In the same 1911 census, Herbert was at school, 12yrs old.

On 22 Sep 1914, at the Hounslow recruiting office, Herbert joined the Royal Fusiliers on a Short Service attestation as “Three Years with the Colours,” unless the war lasted longer than that, in which case “you will be retained until the War is over.” This is the same London regiment that Arthur Walter Tearle joined, except that Arthur was a Territorial in the Royal Fusiliers (City of London) Regiment, and Herbert has joined the Royal Fusiliers as a regular, but none-the-less a member of a London Royal Fusiliers regiment. He said – and they believed him – that he was 19yrs old! He was 5ft 11″ (very tall for the times) with a scar on his left knee, fresh complexion, 132lbs in weight, blue eyes and black hair. He gave his religious denomination as “Congregational” but he must have picked that up in London, because his father was baptised on the Dunstable Methodist Circuit. He was given the Regimental number 4021 and he was initially inducted into the 6th Battalion.

On 5 May 1915, the eve of going into battle with the B.E.F. (British Expeditionary Force) somewhere in Europe, Herbert was instructed to write his will. It is painfully short:

“In the event of my death I give £6-6-0 (six guineas) to my mother Elizabeth Tearle and I give my remaining property to my father George Tearle.
Herbert John Tearle
No. 4021
2 Company, 3rd Battlion, Royal Fusilliers
Dover.
5-5-1915”

His service record has a number of interesting highlights, but the page below tells most of the story. You can see when he became a lance corporal, lost it, then regained it, as well as his very short stint (only 14 days) on the Western Front.

Herbert John Tearle 4021 WW1 military record p9

Herbert John Tearle 4021 WW1 military record p9

Why he was returned to Home (which could have been anywhere in England, Wales, Scotland or Ireland) I cannot fathom. The Royal Fusiliers went to Egypt in October 1915 and then Salonica in December. Herbert joined them on 6 Apr 1916. He was wounded on 27 May 1917 and returned Home. You can see that he spent some time in Napsbury Hospital, near St Albans.

West Wing, Napsbury Hospital, St Albans

West Wing, Napsbury Hospital, St Albans.

I must remind you that this Napsbury is now a village of flats, but it was originally a mental asylum, sometimes housing those who were genuinely mentally afflicted, but very often a permanent prison in which families hid away their errant daughters who had children out of wedlock. In WW1 and WW2 it was a major hospital for treating wounded soldiers, and Herbert was invalided with them. Many ANZAC soldiers owed their lives to its dedicated care; those who did not survive are buried in the Hatfield Rd Cemetery, St Albans. Herbert’s wounds were so severe that on discharge from Napsbury Hospital he was declared “No longer fit for War Service” under paragraph 392, on 1 July 1917. Herbert’s part as a soldier in WW1 was over. He was awarded the Silver War Badge:

Herbert John Tearle WW1 Silver War Badge

Herbert John Tearle WW1 Silver War Badge.

In the 1920s he was sent the 1915 Star, the British Medal, and the Victory Medal. If you review the story of Arthur Walter Tearle, you will see Herbert’s Royal Fusiliers and the 2nd, 3rd and 6th battalions written on the Cornhill War Memorial.

Now, there is an odd codicil to this story. Wounded as he was, and invalided from the army, Herbert joined the YMCA and sailed for Malta, arriving there on 10 Jan 1918, still in the heat of WW1. The hospitals of Malta tended to the wounded of two major campaigns, the Dardenelles (Gallipoli) from 25 Apr 1915 to 8 Jan 1916, and then the Salonica Campaign, when the Allies gave support to Serbia in its war with Bulgaria, from 5 Oct 1915 to 30 Sep 1918.

As far as the YMCA in Malta is concerned, it is difficult to find any documentation of their activities. However, as early as 1916, a YMCA marquee was erected for the treatment of malaria and dysentery in patients from the Salonica Campaign, in the grounds of St Pauls Camp, Hutment Hospital.

The local branch of the YMCA was not started until 1974, but it has this to say about the history of the YMCA in Malta:
Although it is known that the YMCA in Malta existed during the time that Malta was a British colony, this YMCA activity stopped when Malta became independent in 1964. It is assumed that this YMCA activity was an extension of the British YMCA specifically geared to serve the military forces then stationed in Malta.

So perhaps Herbert served at St Pauls, helping wounded servicemen and even sick medical personnel to recover, since there seems to be no other documentation on the role of the YMCA in Malta during WW1. What we do know is that Mr Herbert J Tearle, of the YMCA, received the British Medal for his work. He now has two British Medals: one for Pte Herbert J Tearle, and one for Mr Herbert J Tearle, and here is the documentation for the second medal:

Herbert J Tearle YMCA WW1, British Medal, Malta, 1918.

Herbert J Tearle YMCA WW1, British Medal, Malta, 1918.

Note:

At the time of writing the above article, I had no further information on Herbert John, but recently (2017) Hazel King has sent me the text of a family history for this branch of the Tearles, beginning with Jabez Tearle 1841, of Hockliffe, Bedfordshire. Hazel’s story is here:

21Feb/16

Jeffrey Parkhurst Tearle 1914, Lebong, India (2/Kings Own Lancs)

Jeffrey Parkhurst Tearle 1914, Lebong, India

I was struggling to identify this chap, too. Here is his service record from CWGC
Name: TEARLE, JEFFREY PARKHURST
Initials: J P
Nationality: United Kingdom
Rank: Serjeant
Regiment/Service: King’s Own Royal Regiment (Lancaster)
Unit Text: 2nd Bn.
Date of Death: 21/11/1941
Service No: 3709500
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
Grave/Memorial Reference: 12. D. 23.
Cemetery: KNIGHTSBRIDGE WAR CEMETERY, ACROMA

Knightsbridge War Cemetery is located 750 metres south of the main road from Benghazi to Tobruk, about 25 kilometres west of Tobruk. Jeffrey was killed fighting Rommel’s forces in North Africa. But this did not tell me who he was. I checked Roll of Honour:

Branch at death Infantry
Branch at 1/9/39 Infantry
Regiment, Corps etc The King’s Own Royal Regt (Lancaster)
Surname Tearle
Christian Name(s) Jeffery
Initials etc. J P
Rank Serjeant
Number 3709500
Born India
Residence Cheshire
Died Date 21/11/1941
Theatre of War Middle East

I could find no Tearle born in India, so this story had to wait. Then Mavis sent me this on 05/08/2007:
“A friend found this on an Army Marriages index. Tearle, Samuel H. – Parkhurst – Station: Lebong, India. 1913. Also Jeffrey P. Tearle born 1914 Lebong. This would be the son of Samuel Tearle and Dorothy Parkhurst.”

I have not yet found where their daughter Geraldine was born but believe she was born around 1919.

Mavis then went one step further she asked the King’s Own Royal Regiment Museum, Market Square, Lancaster about Jeffrey, and his father Samuel Hugh Tearle 1899, Marlow. The response was truly remarkable:

” Samuel Hugh Tearle is listed in our records, he probably enlisted in around 1909/10. He appears to have been posted to the 2nd Battalion after basic training at the Regimental Depot at Bowerham Barracks, Lancaster. He is recorded as number 10220 with the rank of Sergeant in 1915 when he arrived in France. He is recorded as the Supply Sergeant of C Company, of the 2nd Battalion. He landed in France on 15th January 1915 and thus would have received the 1914-15 Star along with the British War and Allied Victory Medals. He was commissioned as 2nd Lieutenant, from Sergeant, on 30th March 1917 and was promoted Lieutenant on 30th September 1918. It would appear that he spent a period in 1919-20 working for the War Office. I have no further details. The records show that between 1939 and November 1944 he served with the 6th Battalion of the King’s Own.

His son, Jeffrey Parkhurst Tearle, is recorded as having enlisted into the King’s Own Royal Regiment on 16th June 1930. He appears in a 1936 photograph of the 1st Battalion ‘Sons of the Regiment’ at Wellington Barracks, India. He is recorded as having been killed in action, with the rank of Sergeant, on 21st November 1941 and is buried at Knightsbridge War Cemetery, Libya. Clearly he was killed in action at Tobruk. There is more information on our website concerning both the First and Second World Wars, including information on Tobruk and photographs of the regiment.

We have nothing futher on Sgt J P Tearle, but is may be possible to find more by contacting the Army Personnel Centre in Glasgow. Their details are on the links page of our website. They issue information to the next of kin and charge a fee. I would suggest that if there are details of marriage and children they would hold them. We have no record of marriage or children, which for some soldiers would appear in the Regimental Journal. In this case I can confirm that there is nothing listed.”

Incredibly, they sent a photograph.

Mavis said: “Attached is a photograph of Jeffrey Parkhurst Tearle received from the King’ Own Regiment Museum, Lancaster. It was taken on St. George’s Day the 23rd April 1936 at Wellington Barracks in India.The caption reads 1st Battalion Sons of the Regiment. Jeffrey Tearle is in the middle row fifth from the left (indeed he is the middle soldier.) Jeffrey looks so much like my father.”

Sons of the Regt 1936 Jeffrey Parkhurst Tearle in Wellington Barracks India

Sons of the Regt 1936 Jeffrey Parkhurst Tearle in Wellington Barracks India

Jeffery’s parents were Samuel Hugh 1889 of Marlow and Dorothy Kate nee Parkhurst 1889 of Fulham. They were married in 1913 in Lebong, India. Samuel is featured in our WW1 Campaign Medals list:
Tearle, Samuel Hugh
Corps: Royal Lancaster Regiment
Regiment No: 10220
Rank: Serjeant.

Jeffrey Parkhurst Tearle is a son of Samuel Hugh Tearle 1889 and Dorothy Kate Parkhurst. His grandfather was Enoch 1841 of Stanbridge and Elizabeth nee Jones. Enoch’s parents were Abel 1810 Stbg and Martha nee Emmerton and you can see their banns on 9 Jul 1833 in Stanbridge. Abel’s parents were  William 1769 of Stanbridge and Sarah nee Clark. So this family is on the branch of Joseph 1737.

21Feb/16

Alfred John Carter Tearle 1901, Cuerdley, Lancashire, UK (CMP)

Alfred John Carter Tearle 1901, Cuerdley, Lancs.

Here is Alfred’s military record from the CWGC
Name: TEARLE, ALFRED JOHN
Initials: A J
Nationality: United Kingdom
Rank: Lance Corporal
Regiment/Service: Corps of Military Police
Age: 40
Date of Death: 16/09/1941
Service No: 2689215
Additional information: Son of George and Minnie Tearle; husband of Kathleen Violet Tearle, of Harwell, Berkshire.
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
Grave/Memorial Reference: 1. A. 6.
Cemetery: MALBORK COMMONWEALTH WAR CEMETERY

Here is a note from CWGC: “Malbork (formerly Marienburg) is a town on the River Nogat located in the north of Poland to the south-east of the city of Gdansk (Danzig), on the main road 50, and the cemetery is located to the west of the town.” And sadly –  “The cemetery also contains the MALBORK MEMORIAL, commemorating 39 First World War casualties buried in Heilsberg Prisoners of War Cemetery.”

It took me a  long time to find Alfred’s story because his parents – George and Minnie – didn’t mean anything to me. Quite by chance I saw his marriage on Ancestry I and sent off for the certificate.

Marriage to Kathleen V Wood
Name: Alfred J C Tearle
Year of Registration: 1925
Quarter of Registration: Jan-Feb-Mar
Spouse’s Surname: Wood
District: Hertford
County: Hertfordshire
Volume: 3a, Page: 1021

His father was Alan George Tearle and that meant a lot, plus of course Kathleen Violet Tearle was mentioned on Alfred’s military record. Now I knew exactly who he was. Alan George was a son of Jabez 1836 Dagnall and Elizabeth nee Brown. John L Tearle tells the story of Jabez in his book Tearle, A Bedfordshire Surname, so Alan George, and Alfred, are related to him.  All are descended from Fanny 1780, so they are on the branch Thomas 1737. Alfred is also the uncle to a family of Canadian Tearles.

Here is his birth certificate:
Name: Alfred John C Tearle Year of Registration: 1901  Quarter of Registration: Jan-Feb-Mar  DISTRICT: Prescot  County: Lancashire  Volume: 8b  Page: 691

Just to give you a flavour of the events, here is the family through the Victorian censuses.
1871 = Jabez 1836 Dagnall Elizabeth 38 William Brewer 8 Allan George 6 John Henry 3 in Hindley Lancs
Jabez has married a Wigan girl and she is working as a DressMaker.

1891 = Alan George Tearle 1864 Wigan Amelia 27 William Brewer 18m in Stockton on Tees
We know from Alfred’s military record that Alan George is usually called George, and his wife is referred to as Minnie.

1901 = Allan George 1865 Wigan Amelia 37 William Brewer 10 John Lawrence 9 Elsie May 5 Allan Brown 2 Alfred John Caster 3m in Cuerdley Lancs
We now meet Alfred John and find out that his full name is Alfred John Carter Tearle. I know nothing of his military record, but we have uncovered a terrible story – Alfred died as a prisoner of war in a POW camp near Gdansk, in Poland.

When we visited Malbork, this is what we found:

Malbork Commonwealth War Cemetery general layout

Malbork Commonwealth War Cemetery general layout

Malbork Commonwealth War Cemetery showing page from Cemetery Register

Malbork Commonwealth War Cemetery showing page from Cemetery Register.

Malbork Commonwealth War Cemetery headstone of A J Tearle

Malbork Commonwealth War Cemetery headstone of A J Tearle.

Malbork Commonwealth War Cemetery inscription on headstone of A J Tearle

Malbork Commonwealth War Cemetery inscription on headstone of A J Tearle.

A little further out of town was the sobering memorial to the inmates who were victims of the POW camp:

The memorial to the - unnamed - WW2 victims of Stalag XXB POW camp Malbork

The memorial to the – unnamed – WW2 victims of Stalag XXB POW camp Malbork.

And a plate from the wall of the camp itself:

Plate for Stalag XXB POW camp Malbork

Plate for Stalag XXB POW camp, Malbork.

21Feb/16

Raymond John Tearle 1916, Luton, UK (RAFVR)

On the War Memorial outside the Town Hall in Luton are the memorials to two Luton men who were killed in early 20th Century wars.Luton Town Hall and War Memorial

John Tearle 1849 and William Underwood Tearle were two well-known 19th Century Luton Wesleyan preachers: John was also a very successful businessman. William Underwood’s son, Ronald William Tearle 1897, is in the WW1 section, and John’s grandson, Raymond John Tearle 1916, is in the WW2 section.

WW2 names War Memorial Luton RJ Tearle

WW2 names on War Memorial, Luton: R. J. Tearle.

Here is Raymond’s service record from the CWGC:
Name: TEARLE, RAYMOND JOHN
Initials: R J
Nationality: United Kingdom Rank: Pilot Officer (Pilot)
Regiment/Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Unit Text: 206 Sqdn.
Age: 25 Date of Death: 17/05/1941
Service No: 84945
Additional information: Son of Ralph Grenville Tearle and Clarissa Jeanie Tearle, of Luton. Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
Grave/Memorial Reference: Sec. 4. Row L. Grave 1. Cemetery: LUTON CHURCH BURIAL GROUND

This is called St Marys Cemetery by the locals.
Here is Raymond John’s headstone on a grave he shares with his parents, Ralph Grenville Tearle 1884 and Clarissa Jeanie nee Pearson.

Raymond John Tearle headstone in St Mary Luton cemetery

Raymond John Tearle headstone in St Mary Luton cemetery

Raymond died on 17/05/1941 – on 10 May that year, the House of Commons was bombed – and Dorothy Chapman of Luton said that he died while trying to force-land in Sheerness Harbour. The plane had lost its radio and was 80 miles off course when it hit the breakwater (they called it the boom) late at night, killing at least two of the crew. She says he was flying out of RAF Bircham Newton, Norfolk. He was engaged, and would have been married the following month.

The British War graves site notes this about 206 Sqdn:
“In early 1940, the unit converted to Hudsons and moved to St Eval to patrol the south-west approaches. Two years later, Fortress IIs arrived and No 206 moved to the Azores to provide convoy protection over a much greater area than had previously been available.”

I wrote to RAF Bircham and Neil Grant replied:
We do have a record of Plt Off Tearle: he is shown in Peter Gunn’s book (Bircham Newton – A Norfolk Airfield in War and Peace) as having piloted Hudson aircraft T9324 VX-N on a ‘Pirate’ patrol which failed to return and came down in the Thames Estuary on 16 May 1941. The other members of the crew are listed as Plt Off L Cooper and Sgt A G Knight. All were reported as killed.

Raymond John Tearle is the grandson of John Tearle 1849 and Louisa Cooper nee Partridge and the g-gson of George 1823 and Sophia nee Underwood. The Underwoods are a well-known business family in Luton. The parents of George 1823 were George 1785 and Elizabeth nee Willison, and the parents of George 1785 were Joseph 1737 and Phoebe nee Capp.

21Feb/16

Francis Joseph Myerscough Tearle 1923, Preston, UK (REME)

Francis Joseph Myerscough Tearle 1923, Preston, UK

Here is Joseph’s service record from the CWGC
Name: TEARLE, FRANCIS JOSEPH MYERSCOUGH    Initials: F J M
Nationality: United Kingdom
Rank: Craftsman
Regiment/Service: Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers
Age: 21   Date of Death: 28/06/1944
Service No: 5124306
Additional information: Son of James and Fanny Tearle, of Preston, Lancashire.
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War DeadGrave/Memorial Reference: VIII. J. 4. Cemetery: LA DELIVRANDE WAR CEMETERY, DOUVRES

CWGC says, “The Allied offensive in north-western Europe began with the Normandy landings of 6 June 1944. The burials in La Delivrande War Cemetery mainly date from 6 June and the landings on Sword beach, particularly Oboe and Peter sectors.” This is during Operation Overlord – the landings of D-Day and the beginning of the end of WW2. Since Joseph was killed on 28 June and the Douvre Cemetery is near Caen, then we can assume that he was in the area, helping the Allied landings. Michael Tearle of NZ wrote to me about the kinds of tasks an REME would do: “It’s highly unlikely that Francis would have worked on bridges or laying cables. The Royal Engineers were the bridge people and the Royal Corps of Signals did the telecommunications. The REME did vehicles, guns, firearms, and radio repairs in the field, and welding, fitting and turning etc at base.” He also pointed out that craftsman (Cfn) in the REME was equivalent to private in the infantry.

It seems to me that Joseph is the son of James 1883 Preston, the son of Charles and Jane nee Swarbrick and grandson of Joseph 1803 Tebworth, the founder of the Preston Tearles. This means he is on the branch Joseph 1737. My first guess was that James has married a Frances (Fanny) Myerscough, but I can’t find the marriage – or any other evidence. I sent a birth registration to the GRO, but they sent it back with a “document not found” notice.

Barbara drew my attention to the Wills index:

“Francis Joseph Myerscough Tearle or Myerscough of 14 Redmayne Street, Preston, Lancs, died 28 June 1944 on war service. Probate 6 July to James Tearle, railway employee. Estate = £933 12s 4d

When I read the surname, Tearle or Myerscough, I checked under Myerscough in the Wills indexes as well and found an interesting entry – Charles Myerscough of 230 New Hall Lane, Preston, died 18 June 1940. Admon granted on 4 Sept. 1940 to James Tearle, railway employee. Estate = £900.

Unless I’ve missed it somewhere, I cannot find a birth registration for Francis Joseph, except that he could possibly be …. Francis Myerscough registered in March 1904 in Preston.”

If Charles Myerscough had asked James to look after young Francis, then perhaps he has been adopted.

I found the marriage in Preston 1916 of James and Fanny nee Ainsworth

Name: James Tearle
Year of Registration: 1916
Quarter of Registration: Apr-May-Jun
Spouse’s Surname: Ainsworth
District: Preston
County: Lancashire
Volume: 8e
Page: 1221

These are most likely Francis’ parents as cited on his CWGC entry above, James and Fanny Tearle of Preston. What seems to have happened here, as indicated by the two wills that Barbara found, is the following: James’ friend, Charles Myerscough has asked James to look after his son, Francis, and has left £900 for James to administer on Francis’ behalf. Francis may have been formally adopted by James, but I have no evidence for this. What is certain, is that Francis has added Tearle to his name, and perhaps even Joseph as a middle name, in honour of the founder of the Preston Tearles. When Francis signed up for WW2, he has left this money in his will to James.

In 1922, James was 39yrs, so it is quite likely that his maturity would have made Charles Myerscough comfortable with leaving the affairs of his son to such a man.

21Feb/16

Sidney Tearle 1891, Dunstable, UK (17/Field Bakery)

Here are his details from the CWGC.
Name: TEARLE Initials: S    Nationality: United Kingdom
Rank: Private Regiment/Service:
Army Service Corps Unit Text: 17th Field Bakery
Age: 26 Date of Death: 13/08/1917    Service No: S4/090768
Additional information: Son of William Tearle, of 2A, Portland Rd., Luton.
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead    Grave/Memorial Reference: A. 61.
Cemetery: ALEXANDRIA (HADRA) WAR MEMORIAL CEMETERY

This cemetery is very close to the University of Alexandria. Sidney enlisted for the RASC in Rothwell, Northants, not far from Hinkley, where he was living at the time, but I know nothing of the circumstances of his death. CWGC says that most of the burials were of casualties who died in the Alexandria hospitals from action in Egypt and Palestine. I found that two old boys of the Edward Alleyn Club died in the same month and are buried in the same cemetery as Sidney, so I wondered what was happening in Egypt at the time. According to the CWGC, two troopships were torpedoed in Alexandria Harbour in Dec of 1917, so clearly the action was ongoing.

Wikipedia summed it up thus:
The Sinai and Palestine Campaign during the Middle Eastern Theatre of World War I was a series of battles which took place on the Sinai Peninsula, Palestine, and Syria between January 28, 1915 and October 28, 1918. British, Indian, Australian and New Zealand forces opposed the German and Turkish forces.

This area was known as the Middle Eastern Theatre of war, and Sidney has followed John Henry Tearle 1887 of Hatfield into it – not necessarily knowingly. But it is probable, that, like John Henry, Sidney fought alongside the ANZACS. When attempting to find some history of the 17th Field Bakery, there is simply nothing at all. The medals card below says that Sidney was in the Egypt theatre of war, but this included the Dardanelles, so it was a huge area, whatever the actual Theatre may have been called. Without a detailed dairy account of the activities of the 17th Field Bakery, we won’t know where Sidney was when he was killed or wounded.

The Long Long Trail, a very authoritative source for WW1, in discussing the ASC (the R for royal was added in 1918) had only this to say about the Field Kitchens:

The Supply section, Field Bakeries and Butcheries.
“The ASC provided an important service in the production of bread and meat for the troops in the field. Details to be added shortly.”

If Sidney was wounded, he would have been transported to one of the Alexandria hospitals. If killed, and buried immediately, the site of his body would have been noted and after hostilities ended, he would have been moved to the Alexandria CWGC cemetery. Since this kind of movement of the bodies of casualties was very local, we can assume at the very least that Sidney was killed in Egypt. One thing we do know is that the 17th Division was in Egypt on that day, but I do not know if that actually tells us much.

Sidney Tearle S4-090768 WW1 army medals record

You can see from the above medals card, that Sidney has been awarded the the 1914-15 Star, the British Medal and the Victory Medal.

Sidney’s parents were William 1869 of Eaton Bray and Ellen nee Rollings. His g-parents were William 1830 of Eaton Bray and Ann nee Rogers. This means he is descended from Thomas 1763 and Mary nee Gurney and that places him squarely on the branch of John 1741.