Category Archives: Roll of Honour WW1

Soldiers from Tearle families who died in the Great War – WW1

18Feb/17

Eaton Bray Tearle memorials

St Mary’s Church, Eaton Bray

The vicar of Stanbridge, Helen Gardiner, wrote to me to say she had seen mention of a Tearle in the Church of St Mary’s, Eaton Bray. She thought it was on the lectern. This was of great interest because Eaton Bray is one of the Tearle Valley villages, which we had visited, but on all occasions, St Mary’s was closed. This time (Feb 2017) we were lucky, a very pleasant and knowledgeable lady was arranging flowers for the coming weekend services and she was happy to have company while she did so. St Mary’s is an old and beautiful church built in the 1200s, so it is not a classic Norman design, but it is tall and of ample proportions, with a few additions that had been tidily added over the centuries of its life. Very few of its headstones are left; some are leaning against two perimeter walls, and a block of concrete had little plaques of the names of villagers who had been cremated. A war memorial took pride of place at the head of the pedestrian access to the building. We examined everything we could find for Tearle names, but there was nothing, in spite of there being Tearles in Eaton Bray since at least the early 1700s.

The first impression of the interior of the church is that it is filled with light and it is well maintained.

St Mary’s Eaton Bray interior towards the altar

A glance over your shoulder exposes the quite beautiful pipe organ attached to a wall behind which is the belfry. I asked the flower lady about the organ and she said there were recitals in the church, and they were well attended.

The pipe organ, St Mary’s Eaton Bray

Over time, some quite beautiful stained glass windows had been added.

St Mary’s Eaton Bray stained glass windows

We set about trying to find the Tearle memorial that Rev Helen Gardiner had referred to. First, though, was a complete surprise; a Roll of Honour with the name Robert Tearle.

St Mary Eaton Bray Roll of Honour

He had been born in Eaton Bray in 1887 and died in 1962. Below is the reference in closeup: “Beds” refers to his original enrollment as a private in the Bedfordshire Regiment.

Robert Tearle on St Mary Eaton Bray Roll of Honour

Then we found the lectern and the name of the Tearle we had come to find: it was Jeffrey, born in Eaton Bray in 1874, who died in 1952.

Lectern with Jeffery Tearle’s name

Here is a closeup of the memorial:

Jeffrey Tearle 1874-1952 in St Mary’s Eaton Bray

We were very touched; Jeffrey had continued his work as church verger, literally until he died.

But there was one more surprise; underneath the organ was a display which included a booklet on the Roll of Honour which, when it had been taken from its original hanging place was found to contain a note of all the villagers who had served in the Second World War, and amongst those was Jeffrey’s son Basil Jeffrey Tearle, who was born in Eaton Bray in 1921.

Basil Tearle St Mary’s WW2 Roll of Honour

Who were these men, and what do we know about them? Let’s start with Robert. He was born in 1887, so he was only 27 when WW1 started. He was always going to be drawn into that massive conflict which raged across Europe for four years at the cost of approximately 10 million military lives, and around 6 million civilian casualties.

Robert Tearle 1887, of Eaton Bray, was born to Alfred Tearle and Mary Ann nee Roe, also of Eaton Bray, on the 15 Sep 1887. His parents took a little while to baptise him, but that did take place, on 4 Sep 1890. He was the eldest of four children – Doris May in 1899, Arnott in 1900 and Aubrey in 1903 all followed him. Alfred and Mary Ann were married in 1887, in the beautiful church you can see above. In 1911, when Frederick filled in the census form, he was a bootmaker and poultry farmer, working from home. Robert was 23yrs old and he was a shoemaker and repairer, working on his “own account” presumably from the same address. The other children were at school.

In order to show you Robert’s ancestry, I need to digress for a moment and show you an outline of the Tearle tree from Alfred and backwards into history. Alfred’s father was William Tearle, born 1830, in Eaton Bray, who married Harriet Janes, of Eaton Bray, in 1851. They had three children, Hannah 1852, Tabitha 1854 and George 1856, who died in 1873. Remember Tabitha; we shall see her again.  In 1858 Harriett died, aged just 28yrs. I’m afraid I do not know why. With three small children on his hands, William married Ann Rogers of Leighton Buzzard in 1861, in the beautiful little church above, St Mary’s of Eaton Bray. At the time, she was a single mother with a son, John Rogers (named after her father) born 1857. The couple had seven children, of whom Frederick was second. Jonas, the first of their Tearle children was born and tragically died in 1861 at what cost to his parents, we cannot tell. Most of the Tearle children who were born after Alfred moved to the industrial areas of Northamptonshire, to become machinists and boot makers, and here is why: in 1849, a branch railway line was opened from Stanbridgeford to Dunstable; it was a walk of a few miles from Eaton Bray to the station, but only a few hundred yards from Stanbridge, and the people of Tearle Valley could take advantage of the opportunities in the new industrial cities to rid themselves of the sometimes intolerable grind of rural poverty.

William’s parents were George Tearle 1797, of Eaton Bray and Mary nee Hill of Hallibridge, near Spalding, in Lincolnshire. How they met is anyone’s guess, because people tended not to travel much outside their immediate countryside, if only because travel was difficult, dirty, expensive, and sometimes hazardous.

George’s parents were Thomas 1763 of Stanbridge, and Mary nee Gurney of Eaton Bray. In this marriage, we can see the movement of one family from the ancestral home of the Tearles in Stanbridge, to a village still in the same well-defined valley, about 4 miles away. And there they stayed, until the children of Alfred heard the call to the cities not particularly far from home.

Thomas’ parents were John Tearle 1741 of Stanbridge and Martha nee Archer. They had seven children, of whom Thomas was the second. John’s parents were Thomas Tearle 1709 and Mary nee Sibley. In another essay on this site, I have explored the relationships and events that lead to the marriage of Thomas and Mary, but the Tree now goes back to John Tearle of Stanbridge born about 1560, and with a few gaps here and there, the story of the Tearles in and around Tearle Valley goes back as far as the late 1300s.

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28May/16

Horace Tearle 1892, Leeds, Yorkshire, UK (Yorks Hussars)

There really is a parish called Wortley-de-Leeds, and it was in St John the Evangelist Church of that parish, little Horace Tearle was baptised on 5 June 1892. The fear of babies dying drove Victorian parents to the the church as soon after their baby’s birth as possible. The church records show Horace was born on 28 April 1892. That is how anxious they were.

Horace Tearle 1892 baptism Wortley Leeds

At the time of Horace’s Christening, William 1859 was a miner in Fromeside, Wortley, Leeds.

To put this family in context, William Tearle 1859 of Bramley, Leeds, married Annie Lee Lavers on 21 October 1882 in Wortley, Leeds. His parents were George Tearle 1825 of Leighton Buzzard and Maria nee Franklin. George and Maria’s first child, Julia, was born in Leighton Buzzard. Their next two children, James 1852 and Edward 1855 were born in Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, and this James married Mary Abigail Ryder in Bramley, Leeds in 1875 and then emigrated to Australia in 1883. George and Maria moved to Leeds in about 1856, and the rest of their family – George 1857, William 1859, Elizabeth 1862 and Harry 1864 were all born in Leeds. George’s parents were Joseph Tearle 1803 and Mary Ann nee Smith. This is the family who moved from Leighton Buzzard to Preston and started the Preston Tearles. As you can see, George did not follow them to Preston, Lancashire; he went to Leeds, in Yorkshire. Charles 1894 of Preston and Horace 1892 are second cousins. The parents of Joseph Tearle 1803 were Richard Tearle 1778 of Stanbridge and Mary nee Pestel, and Richard’s parents were Joseph 1737 and Phoebe nee Capp. Thus, Horace is on the branch of Joseph 1737.

In the 1800s we were living in the grip of the Industrial Revolution, where some families made vast fortunes, whilst their factories blew contamination into the air, poured pollution and poison into the rivers, and allowed their workers’ conditions to be little better than slaves. No wonder their babies died. It was also a time of upheaval and mass migration. As mechanisation modernised farming, and fewer labourers were needed, so the farming life became untenable when people could no longer make a living from the land.

George and Maria moved North. William became a miner; here is his marriage:

William Tearle Annie Lee Lavers marriage 1882 Wortley Leeds -1

It is a poignant reminder of the life they left behind; far from rural Bedfordshire, William was a miner, and George, who had been an Agricultural Labourer, was now a “labourer in a brick works.” Annie, the local lass, cannot write, but William signs in a beautiful copperplate hand and one of the witnesses is his brother James’ wife, Mary Abigail nee Ryder. Within a year, they would be in Australia.

1901 William 1860 Leeds Annie 40 James 15 Maud 13 Annie 11 Horace 8 Wilfred 5 Laura 3 Edmund 11m in Potter Newton Yorks -1

The 1901 census, above, notes that William is a coal miner, and son James is working in a wool factory. You will have noticed that William and Annie’s first child was called James, no doubt after William’s favoured elder brother. Horace is eight years old.

1911 William 1860 Leeds Annie 50 James 25 Annice 21 Horace 18 Wilfred 15 Laura 13 Edmund 10 George Henry 8 Clifford 5 in Leeds -1

The 1911 census tells us (as usual) quite a lot more. But amongst all the data, William, James and Horace are “Below ground” miners. Unfortunately, William and James do not tell us their exact roles in the mine, but Horace does. He is a “hurrier.” His role was to pull heavy carts of coal along the underground pathways to exits where the cart would be winched to the surface. The hurrier was tied to the cart with a heavy chain, and usually, at the other end of the cart, there would be a girl who was the “thruster,” pushing the cart with her hands and forehead, usually while kneeling. She would lose her hair over time due to the pressure of the cart on her head. Fortunately, Annice and Wilfred are in cloth-making factories, rather than the dreadful life girls had underground. Still, working in a factory was a job of long hours, low pay and awful working conditions. It is nice to see that all the younger children are at school, because in the 1840s children as young as five years old were working underground, in mines. Also in this picture of 1911 is Horace’s immediately younger brother Wilfred Tearle 1896 of Bramley, Leeds. He would share Horace’s story.

Goodness knows what drew Horace into The Great War, perhaps getting out from under ground to help in the developing adventure in Europe might have been a pull, or he was volunteering before he was conscripted? For whatever reason, Horace signed up on 4 Oct 1915 (the day he attested for “4 years service in the United Kingdom”) a full five months before conscription was enforced in March 1916. He was given the number 3398 and was inducted into the 3/1 Yorkshire Hussars. He was 23 years old, 5ft 6in tall, he had good vision and good physical development. He was kept on “Home” duties, meaning anywhere in the UK including Ireland, and during that time he married Annie Elizabeth Peat, on 3 June 1916. Married life came to an abrupt halt on 10 Nov 1916 when he boarded a ship in Liverpool, bound for Greece, which arrived in Salonica on the 21st. He was in the MEF, the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force. Fortunately he was a few months too late to join the action in Gallipoli, but he would have been told that his role was in warfare over Greece, the Balkans and Turkey.

I have one document that tells a great deal about how the war treated Horace. Here it is:

Horace Tearle 3393 and 643197 and 76203 WW1 army service record p8

Firstly, you can see that he has learned another skill; he is a mechanic. In a later document he is referred to as an engineer. Perhaps when he gets back home, he may not have to be a miner. On 3 Aug 1917, Horace was driven to a field hospital with an unknown condition. On the 4th, he had an extremely high temperature, and on the 12th he was diagnosed with malaria. His life had now changed forever; you do not recover from malaria, you simply get used to coping with it. In November he is returned to his unit. On the page after this one, there is a stern order stamped on his card:

“Malaria case – Not Available for a Theatre of War where MALARIA is Prevalent.”

The fact that the order is stamped on his record shows us that this was a common event. He was posted to other units – the Royal Dragoons and the Derby Yeomanry, but he was moved on – somehow he did not fit their needs. He was finally transferred to the Labour Corps. When he was well he could work, and when he was having a malaria “turn” he could rest. On 2 Nov 1918, he joined “A” Company, the Labour Corps. He would be used to move goods and clean up after the war. Armistice day arrived on 11 November 1918, and Horace’s service was reviewed. He had enlisted on 4 Nov 1915, been in the MEF from 10 Nov 1916 to 10 Jun 1918 and then on “Home” duties until 7 Nov 1918, a total of 3 years and 35 days. During that time, Horace was transferred to Aldershot Barracks, in Hampshire. In August 1918, with too much time on his hands, Horace got into a drunken state and overstayed his leave by almost half a day. He was loudly admonished, and given three days confined to barracks as a punishment, and probably sent on parade-ground cleaning duties. It was the only blemish on his military record.

On 7 Nov 1918, Horace was transferred to soldier class “P”. He was now the reserves, he could go home, but he might also be called up at any time until his four years was up. To all intents and purposes, he was free.

Horace Tearle 76203, 643197 WW1 army medal Rolls -1

Here is his medal card, which shows that the Labour Corps (his last unit) had gathered sufficient information to award him two service medals – the Victory Medal and the British Medal. In 1922, Horace signed for the receipt of his medals. With his malaria always threatening, and boiling over at times, it must have been difficult for him to accept that this is all he got for the pain he would endure for the rest of his life.

I know very little about what happened next, except that he and Annie had a girl, Joan, in 1920, and that Horace died in 1929, just 36 years old. Malaria still kills millions of people each year, and Horace’s fight with it in the 1920’s would have been difficult, and often very painful and debilitating. It is a very sad end for a man who had hoped for so much more.

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.

19Feb/16

Louisa Tearle nee Lees, 1878, Lambeth (MN)

Here is her service record from CWGC

Name: TEARLE, LOUISA Initials: L Nationality: United Kingdom
Rank: Stewardess Regiment/Service: Mercantile Marine
Unit Text: S.S. “Falaba,” Age: 37
Date of Death: 28/03/1915
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
Grave/Memorial Reference: “C.” 272. Cemetery: NEWQUAY NEW CEMETERY

Locally, this is called the Crantock Street Cemetery, Newquay, on the Cornwall coast, and it is managed by the Restormel Borough Council. In addition to her listing on CWGC, you can see more of her story here, in the Lees section of the Australian Leaver family site.

This is a sad story; Louisa married Henry James Tearle in Lambeth, London in 1902 and they had five children, of whom I can find only three; Gertrude Louisa 1906, Donald Stanley 1910 and Ivor – for whom I have no birth date. Firstly their father was killed in Lagos, Nigeria in 1914 while working for the Elder Dempster Steamship Line. I have no information on the circumstances of Henry’s death. Sue Albrecht of NZ says that Henry was himself in an orphanage from the age of 10 and his sister, Fanny 1868, lived with her grandparents Joseph and Martha Hart from at least 1881, as shown in the 1881 and later Northampton censuses. Henry James was the son of James 1835 of Leighton Buzzard and Mary Emma nee Hart. James was in the Royal Marines, along with at least three of his brothers. His grandparents were John Tearle 1780 Northall and Sarah nee Claridge, so he is a member of the Theatrical Tearles family, which includes Sir Godfrey Tearle.

Louisa also worked for the Elder Dempster Steamship Line and in 1915, while she was a stewardess on the merchant ship “Falaba,” she was killed at sea, with 103 others, when the ship was sunk by a torpedo from a German submarine.

The Leaver site says: “The ship was torpedoed with the loss of 104 lives. March 28th FALABA. Steam Liner. 38 miles W. of Smalls enroute from Liverpool to Sierra Leone. Torpedoed by Baron Von Forstner’s U.28. Grave ref. C 272.”

Louisa’s younger sister Margaret Lees married a John Hastings and when they went to Australia, they took Donald Stanley Tearle with them. Donald signed up with the ANZACs for WW2 and was a prisoner of war in Changi, and won the Military Medal. Ivor stayed in England and died at 16yrs. Bill Babbington of Australia tells the full story of this family in the Leaver family site. I have added Margaret and John Hastings to the Tree because of their familial relationship in the story of Donald.

They are on the branch of William 1749.

I was of the understanding that there was a memorial to Louisa and the crew of the Falaba in London, and I found it on the Merchant Navy Memorial in Tower Hill Gardens, Tower Hill, London.

Here is the crew list; Louisa is Gearle S.

DSC_1654 The crew of the Falaba including Louisa Tearle nee Lees WW1 Merchant Navy memorial Tower Hill

Merchant Navy WW1 memorial Tower Hill

Merchant Navy WW1 memorial, Tower Hill.

This view of the WW1 memorial building (above) has the Tower of London to my right, just across the road. Louisa’s memorial is on the far end, at the top of all the names.

It is indeed a shame that Louisa’s name is recorded incorrectly, but no doubt it was taken from a hand-written crew list.

In Newquay, North Cornwall, where the wind hurls huge waves at the rocks that line Fistral bay, where the surfers enjoy a long right break, and Rick Stein makes perfect fish and chips, we found the Crantock St Cemetery and within it an odd mystery. Firstly, we found it at the post code TR7 1JW and here is the gateway:

Newquay Crantock St Cemetery entrance

Newquay, Cornwall; Crantock St Cemetery entrance.

You can almost see Louisa’s headstone from this view, and it certainly did not take long to find it. Interestingly, it is a CWGC headstone with a gap in front of it. That must surely mean that there is a body, and the family have asked for the epitaph at the base.

Crantock St Cemetery Newquay Louisa Tearle nee Lees grave

Crantock St Cemetery, Newquay; Louisa Tearle nee Lees, grave.

There are no other casualties of the “Falaba” mentioned in this cemetery, and Newquay does not seem to be the closest landfall to the place where the “Falaba” was torpedoed, and where one would expect the victims to be buried. Where are the other 104 graves, or was Louisa the only casualty who was rescued, but died?

Here is the headstone itself:

Crantock St Cemetery Newquay Louisa Tearle nee Lees headstone

Crantock St Cemetery, Newquay; Louisa Tearle nee Lees, headstone.

17Jan/16

Ronald William Tearle 1897, Luton, UK (RFA)

I first saw this chap on the Luton War Memorial outside the town hall, close to the Arndale Centre, and I immediately bought some flowers and left them for him. His name was Ronald William Tearle and he was the only son of a famous Luton Methodist lay preacher, William Underwood Tearle 1864 of Luton and Mary nee Bird. This family is on the branch of Joseph 1737. Here is his record from the CWGC.

Ronald William Tearle 1897-1817

Ronald William Tearle 1897-1817

  • Name: TEARLE
  • Initials: R
  • Nationality: United Kingdom
  • Rank: Gunner
  • Regiment/Service: Royal Field Artillery
  • Unit Text: “C” Bty. 95th Bde.
  • Date of Death: 04/10/1917
  • Service No: 141935
  • Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
  • Grave/Memorial Reference: X. A. 18.
  • Cemetery: THE HUTS CEMETERY
War memorial Luton

War Memorial, Luton

WW1 inscription Luton

WW1 inscription on the Luton War Memorial.

WW1 War Memorial Luton Gunner Field Artillery RW Tearle 4 Oct 1917

WW1 War Memorial Luton. Gunner, Field Artillery, R W Tearle died 4 Oct 1917.

We visited The Huts Cemetery in Dikkebus, not far from Ypres. You can get there by bus, but you cannot come back by bus on the same day. We took a taxi there – and back.

The Huts Cem Dikkebus Ieper Ypres

Across the headstones to the Great Cross; The Huts Cemetery, Dikkebus, Ypres.

The Huts Cem Dikkebus Ieper Ypres

The Dikkebus Memorial, Ypres,

Ronald William Tearle 141935 The Huts Cem Dikkebus Ieper Ypres

Ronald William Tearle 141935 – headstone in The Huts Cemetery, Dikkebus, Ypres.

 

 

Here is the report to say Ronald has been correctly buried and recorded.

Ronald William Tearle recorded buried correctly at The Huts Military Cemetery Dikkebusch

Ronald William Tearle recorded buried correctly at The Huts Military Cemetery Dikkebusch

02Jan/16

Jeffrey Tearle 1891, Eaton Bray, UK (1/Beds Regt)

On the Roll of Honour in the Dunstable Priory Church, there are two names: Tearle G and Tearle J. The first is George Tearle, born 1876 in Dunstable; the second is Jeffrey Tearle, born 1891 in Eaton Bray. They are only distantly related.
Below is a picture of the War Memorial in the grounds of the Dunstable Priory Church.

Here is his entry in National Roll of the Great War:

Tearle Jeffrey Cpl National Roll

Here is Jeffrey’s service record from the CWGC.

  • Name: TEARLE, JEFFREY Initials: J   
  • Nationality: United Kingdom
  • Rank:Corporal   Regiment/Service: Bedfordshire Regt Unit Text:1st Bn.
  • Age: 24  Date of Death: 31/10/1914
  • Service No: 3/6459
  • Additional information: Son of Mrs Sarah Jane Tearle of 9 Alfred St, Dunstable, Beds
  • Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead Grave/Memorial Reference:Panel 10 and 11.
  • Memorial: LE TOURET MEMORIAL
War memorial inside the gates of Dunstable Priory Church.

War memorial inside the gates of Dunstable Priory Church.

Jeffrey was born 1891 in Eaton Bray and his parents were George 1861 of Edlesborough and Sarah Jane nee Horn. He was the brother of Frank Tearle 1898 also of Eaton Bray. George 1861 was the son of George 1831 and Hannah Maria nee Janes. George 1831 was the son of Jabez 1792 and Mary nee Green and his parents were William 1749 and Mary nee Prentice. Thus Jeffrey is of the branch William 1749. George 1876, the other Tearle man on the memorial, descends from Joseph 1737 and Phoebe nee Capp, via Charles Bowler Tearle and Constance Cleaver nee Dickens. Jeffrey and George are 4th cousins.

Panel of WW1 casualties on Dunstable Church war memorial

Panel of WW1 casualties on Dunstable Church war memorial.

Steve Fuller, historian of the Bedfordshire Regiment says of Jeffrey:

“His death – on the 30th October – two companies of the Bedfords retook trenches the Ghurka’s had vacated as a result of all their Officers being killed or wounded and them not knowing what else to do under a heavy bombardment. That day was a confusing minor engagement that is not really listed or included in the diary. The Germans caused even more hassle as they were shouting “We are Ghurka’s” at the Bedfords, making them hesitate and allowing the Germans to pick those who paused within sight of them. Nasty little **&@##’s. The following day saw the Beds split in 2 and both portions in the trenches supporting other units who were hard pressed by localized attacks and bombardments. The entire 15th Brigade was having a horrible day but they simply clung to their posts and put up with it despite the dwindling Officer supply. Although the diary does not record it, several men were killed.”

Roll of Honour inside Dunstable Priory Church.

Roll of Honour inside Dunstable Priory Church.

“Jeffrey being on the Le Touret Memorial would be down to his being buried in the field and his grave being lost in the four years of fighting that raged over the area before the Imperial War Graves Commission began the process of collecting the dead from all over the battlefields and condensing them into the cemeteries we know today. The chances are that he is buried in a cemetery as an unknown soldier, bless him. When men were killed outright on the spot they were buried where they fell, left there until it was possible to do something abut their corpse or moved to a small collection area, usually behind the trench lines somewhere. All these kind of graves were condensed in the 1920’s but they are still finding men even today, as you may well know.”

Closeup of Roll of Honour inside Dunstable Priory Church

Closeup of Roll of Honour inside Dunstable Priory Church.

The massed graves at Le Touret Military Cemetery

The massed graves at Le Touret Military Cemetery

Jeffrey does not have a headstone at Le Touret Military Cemetery, he is remembered by inscription on the Bedfordshire Regiment section of the Le Touret Memorial.

Corporal Jeffrey Tearle Bedfordshire Rgt Le Touret Memorial

Corporal Jeffrey Tearle Bedfordshire Rgt Le Touret Memorial

Here is Le Touret Memorial it remembers the names of more than 13,000 soldiers “who have no known grave” and were killed in the Le Basse – Bethune area of Pas de Calais.

Le Touret Memorial

Le Touret Memorial.

Jeffrey Tearle in the Book of Remembrance

Jeffrey Tearle in Le Touret Book of Remembrance.

01Jan/16

James Tearle 1862, Preston, UK (Welsh Regt)

Here is his service record from the CWGC:

Name: TEARLE Initials: J
Nationality: United Kingdom
Rank: Private
Regiment/Service: Welsh Regiment
Secondary Regiment: Royal Defence Corps
Secondary Unit Text: transf. to (3711)
Age: 36
Date of Death: 16/04/1918
Service No: 20724
Additional information: Husband of Alice Maria Tearle.
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
Grave/Memorial Reference: A2. 12. 16.
Cemetery: WHITCHURCH (ST. MARY) CHURCHYARD, GLAMORGANSHIRE

I had wondered for a very long time who this was, but Lost Generation told me he was James and I had a James 1862 of Preston married to an Alice M… Was the CWGC wrong about his age? Ancestry gave me the medical records for a soldier whose military service began in 1880 and this lead me to be increasingly certain we had this chap already on the Tree. His parents were Thomas 1836 of Leighton Buzzard and Emma nee Ayres who moved up to Preston around the time Thomas’ brother Joseph 1838 of Leighton Buzzard (LB) did, closely followed by their father, Joseph 1803 Tebworth. Young James had brothers George 1868 Preston, and Robert 1871 Preston, both of whom died in 1873. Their father Thomas died in 1871, close to the birth of his youngest son, and their mother Emma died in 1879. In the space of eight years, James had become an orphan, with no family at all that he knew about. At 18yrs he joined the Loyal North Lancashire Regt, renewing several times. I can’t find any record of his serving anywhere overseas except for one year and 196 days on Gibraltar, in 1884. At this time he gave his next of kin as Sarah and Robert Gaunt of Preston. I have looked for a Sarah Tearle in Preston, but I can’t find one, so it is likely they were his foster parents. Around 1891 (I can’t find the marriage certificate) James married Alice Maria Edwards of Sipton, Staffs. In the 1891 census of Burnley, Lancs, they were newly married and living in 28 Aqueduct St, James describing himself as a Herbalist’s Assistant. Between 1892 and 1899 they registered four children in Colne, Lancs; Emmeline 1892, Alice 1894, Reginald 1896 and Minnie Louisa 1898. In the 1901 Colne census we can see James, Alice and their children living in 70 Market St, which is also the business address. James is a Herbalist (Shopkeeper) and the census enumerator categorises him as a SubMed.

James 1862 Preston 3711 and 2763 and 20724 ex-Lancs attestation 1914 in Wales.

James 1862 Preston 3711 and 2763 and 20724 ex-Lancs attestation 1914 in Wales.

WW1 started in June 1914 and James signed his attestation form, for 1 years service, in Cardiff on 16 Nov 1914. He said he was aged 45, but you can see that CWGC has this transfer at age 36. He transferred from the Loyal North Lancashire Regt to No 4 Supernumerary Co, 5th Battn Welch Regt, presumably because he was still a reservist, but now living in Cardiff. I have attached the two documents crucial to establishing who he was and to show his original attestation to the army in 1880 and again in Cardiff in 1914.

James 3711 and 2763 and 20724 army record p1

James 3711 and 2763 and 20724 army record p1

You can see his Loyal North Lancashire number (20724) in the lower document. It’s difficult to read because it’s scribbled out, but subsequent documents clarify it.

St Mary Whitchurch, Cardiff.
Above: St Mary, Whitchurch. On 19 Apr 1916, James transferred to the 24th Protection Coy of the Royal Defence Corps. He was living at 3 Hazelhurst Rd, Llandaff North, West Cardiff.He was described as a Shopkeeper, 5ft 7in tall, blue eyes, fair hair. In a medical report dated 22 Mar 1917, he was said to have been on leave in Preston from Fairweather Hospital, Cardiff when he contracted diarrhoea. He was operated on in Worley Hospital on 26 Feb 1916. He was certified “No longer physically fit for War Service” on 16 Apr 1917, and died on the very same day one year later. He was just 56 years old. Here is a copy of the record the army used to ensure he was correctly awarded the Silver War Badge.

James Tearle WW1 Silver War Badge

James Tearle 1862 Preston CWGC headstone in St Mary Whitchurch, Cardiff.

James Tearle 1862 Preston CWGC headstone in St Mary Whitchurch, Cardiff.

On 17 Apr 1918, his widow was awarded a pension of 15/- a week.

The fact that James was in Preston when he fell ill means to me that he still kept in touch with his family. The trip to Preston from Cardiff is a major undertaking and indicates the depth of the relationship he still enjoyed with his far-off family.

I wonder sometimes if James knew Charles 1894 Preston, above? It’s possible that in being an orphan he didn’t, but they are closely related, and in the same Lancashire regiment. James did receive a medal, but the record is unclear as to which one.

I have no clue as to why James should move all the way from Colne, Lancs to Cardiff, but his wife’s name might be Welsh and perhaps she felt the need to go to her family.

As with all the Preston Tearles, he is on the branch Joseph 1737.

18Mar/15

James Harry Tearle, 1891, Willesden, UK (Rifle Brigade)

Here is his service record from the CWGC

Name: TEARLE, Initials: J H
Nationality: United Kingdom Rank: Rifleman
Regiment/Service: Rifle Brigade Unit Text: 12th Bn.
Age: 26 Date of Death: 16/03/1917
Service No: S/21464
Additional information: Son of John and Alice Tearle, of Willesden, London; husband of Dorothy Amelia Tearle, of 123, Malvern Rd., West Kilburn, London.
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead Grave/Memorial Reference: V. A. 2.
Cemetery: SAILLY-SAILLISEL BRITISH CEMETERY
James was born in Paddington, says SDGW. The CWGC adds that he was 26 when he died, hence b1891.

National Roll of the Great War says:

Tearle, J H, Rifleman,

Tearle James Harry National Roll

It took me a while to find out the story of this family, but Barbara Tearle of Oxford reminded us that John and Alice are actually Jonathan and Alice nee Kearns, and that Jonathan 1862 of Stanbridge was a son of William 1832 of Stanbridge and Catharine nee Fountain. Here are two brothers, members of my own family, who have gone to Willesden. So I have a common ancestor for them. William’s father and Jonathan’s grandfather is my gg-grandfather, Thomas Tearle 1807 of Stanbridge who married Mary Garner of Toddington.

The army notes (below) that he was killed “In Action”, and that one small gratuity was sent to his parents, and one small gratuity was sent to his wife.

James Harry Tearle UK Army Effects

James Harry Tearle UK Army Effects.

Here is Sailly Saillisel British Cemetery in the Somme Valley, Pas-de-Calais, France.

The gate Sailly Saillisel British Cemetery

The gate, Sailly-Saillisel British Cemetery.

Massed graves Sailly-Saillisel British Cemetery

Massed graves – Sailly-Saillisel British Cemetery.

J H Tearle in Book of Remebrance Sailly Saillisel British Cemetery

J H Tearle in the Book of Remebrance, Sailly-Saillisel British Cemetery.

James Harry Tearle Sailly Saillisel British Cemetery

James Harry Tearle headstone. “God’s finger touched him and he slept.”

18Mar/15

Sydney Thomas Tearle, 1895, Hammersmith, UK (Royal Scotts)

Here is his service record from the CWGC:

Name: TEARLE, SYDNEY THOMAS Initials: S T
Nationality: United Kingdom
Rank: Lance Serjeant Regiment/Service: Royal Scots
Unit Text: 1st/9th Bn.
Age: 21 Date of Death: 09/04/1917
Service No: 350354
Additional information: Son of Thomas and Pamela Tearle, of 47 Goodhall St., Willesden, London.
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
Grave/Memorial Reference: V. A. 6.
Cemetery: NINE ELMS MILITARY CEMETERY, THELUS.

Almost all the British casualties in this cemetery died in April 1917, says the CWGC. Given the date and the place, it is likely that Sydney was fighting for Bapaume with the ANZACs and the Canadians, not far from Calais, in Flanders. He was in the Lothian Regiment (!) says SDGW (Soldiers Died in the Great War) because he was working in Glasgow at the time he signed up. He was a railway employee, and he had done well to be promoted to Lance Sergeant in such a short time.

Given the family’s address – Willesden – I have discovered and written up the story of the relationship of Sydney’s parents with Elizabeth, the mother of Rowland Grigg Tearle, who was also a WW1 casualty and close in age to Sydney. Sydney’s parents were Thomas 1859 of Stanbridge and Pamela. nee Andrews 1860 Eggington. His grandparents were William 1832 of Stanbridge and Catherine nee Fountain. The parents of William 1832 were Thomas 1805 and Mary nee Garner, so you can see William is the brother of James (my gg-grandfather) and John the sexton, of the side-by-side headstones in Stanbridge.

John 1840 and James 1827 headstones in Stanbridge

John 1840 and James 1827 headstones in Stanbridge

Thomas’ parents were Richard 1772 and Elizabeth nee Bodsworth and Richard’s parents were John 1741 and Martha nee Archer. Thus Sydney is of the branch John 1741. Here are the census summaries for Thomas. You can see that in 1871, at 13yrs he is a servant for John Olney, a farmer on the Tilsworth road very close to the intersection with the Eggington Rd, almost opposite the church, so he is not living on the farm itself, I shouldn’t think.

1871 = Thomas 1858 Stbg servant in Stbg

In 1881 we find out that the newly-married Thomas is a Railway Labourer and living in Linslade. This probably means he was working on the Leighton Buzzard railway, which goes to Euston Station in London. We see that Pamela is from Eggington; we can assume that he has met her while he worked for John Olney, living so close to Eggington.

1881 = Thomas 1859 Stbg Pamela 21 in Linslade

In 1891 Thomas and Pamela are in Letchfold Gardens, Hammersmith, London. They have had two children in Leighton Buzzard (Linslade is 200m from Market Sq, LB) and two children in Hammersmith. They are living next door to John Backhouse from Leighton Buzzard and they may have followed him down to London, because their youngest children are close in age, and all born in Hammersmith. Unfortunately, they are listed only as Labourers, so there is no telling if he is still working on the railways.

1891 Thomas 1859 Stbg Pamela 31 Maud 7 Dora 5 Emily 8m in Hammersmith LON

In 1901 we can see young Sydney. Thomas and Pamela are living in the Railway Cottages, Hammersmith, not far from Hythe Rd. Thomas is definitely working on the railways – he is a Railway Engine Driver.

1901 = Thomas 1860 Stbg Pamela 40 Maude 17 Dora 12 Emily 10 Horace 8 Sidney 5 Mabel 4 Harold 5m in Hammersmith.

This looks like his birth certificate:

Name: Sidney Thomas Tearle Year of Registration: 1895 Quarter of Registration: Oct-Nov-Dec District: Fulham County: Greater London, London, Middlesex Volume: 1a Page: 191

There is a memorial to Sydney  on the World War 1 memorial to Caledonian Railway Employees at the Glasgow Central Station. Richard says the line ran from Glasgow to Carlisle.

And, of course, there is his memorial in the Nine Elms Cemetery.

The gate - Nine Elms Military Cemetery

The gate – Nine Elms Military Cemetery.

Towards the Gt Cross Nine Elms Cemetery

Towards the Great Cross, Nine Elms Cemetery.

Lance Sergeant Sydney Thomas Tearle in the Book of Remembrance Nine Elms Cemetery

Lance Sergeant Sydney Thomas Tearle in the Book of Remembrance Nine Elms Cemetery

Lance Sergeant S J Tearle Nine Elms Cemetery

Lance Sergeant S J Tearle headstone in the Nine Elms Cemetery.

The inscription at the base of the headstone would have been written as his epitaph, by his parents:

Inscription at base of headstone for LSgt Sydney Thomas Tearle Nine Elms Cemetery

Inscription at base of headstone for LSgt Sydney Thomas Tearle at Nine Elms Cemetery.

We organised a trip to Glasgow Central Railway Station to find the plaque of the names of those who had been killed in the Great War. It is a large plaque, just inside the Gordon St entrance of the ornate Victorian station.

The impressive Victorial interior of Glasgow Central Station

There are 712 names on this most impressive monument.

Great War memorial Glasgow Central Station

Great War memorial Glasgow Central Station

The stone inscription to those who were killed in WW2 was added recently, but no names are listed. The header section of the monument is ornately carved stone.

Great War memorial Glasgow Central Station headpiece
We soon found the name of Sydney Thomas Tearle, in the middle of the last column.

Sydney T Tearle on Glasgow Central Station Great War memorial

Sydney T Tearle on Glasgow Central Station Great War memorial

18Mar/15

George Tearle, 1876, Dunstable, UK (1/Beds Regt)

On the Roll of Honour in the Dunstable Priory Church, and the War Memorial near the gates, there are two names, Tearle G and Tearle J. The first is George Tearle, born 1876 in Dunstable; the second is Jeffrey Tearle, born 1891 in Eaton Bray. At fourth cousins, they are only distantly related.

Panel of WW1 casualties on Dunstable Church

Roll of Honour at Dunstable Priory Church.

Here is George’s service record from the CWGC:
Name: TEARLE  Initials: G
Nationality: United Kingdom
Rank: Private
Regiment/Service: Bedfordshire Regiment
Unit Text: 1st Bn.
Date of Death: 18/01/1920  Service No: 4967
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead Grave/Memorial Reference: E. 471.
Cemetery: DUNSTABLE CEMETERY

Those details are from Roll of Honour.
TEARLE G Private 4967. 1st Bn., Bedfordshire Regt.
Died Sunday 18 January 1920.
Buried: DUNSTABLE CEMETERY, Bedfordshire, United Kingdom. Ref. E. 471.

This, is George Tearle’s WW1 CWGC headstone in the Dunstable public cemetery. Born in Dunstable in 1876, he joined the army at 18yrs and caught rheumatism in the trenches in France. He was also in India and Gibraltar.

George Tearle headstone.

Steve Fuller says:
“George Tearle is a strange one as it happens! I have been pondering him for some time and have finally understood his position in it all but he seems to have followed an unusual sequence that I have not come across before. His service number is that of the 5th Battalion (Territorials) and should not have been allocated until late 1914 / early 1915 according to the “normal” flow of things … BUT … he entered France with the 1st Btn 3rd December 1914 and was discharged 1st March 1919. This implies he served the entire war and survived, only to die of illness in 1920 (the Spanish Flu perhaps?). Maybe he was a Regular whose service had only just come to a close when war was declared but that would usually mean he would have kept his original number which would not have been in the 49.. area!

George 4967 army record p1

George Tearle attestation for the army, 1894.

George enlisted in the 3rd Bedfordshire Regiment on 20 June 1894, aged just 18yr 7m. He already had experience in the militia so that is probably the reason he went into the 3rd Battalion, the Bedfordshire Regiment, where he was given the regimental number 4967, which he kept for the rest of his life. He was 5” 5in and weighted 112lb; a Wesleyan, a labourer with hazel eyes, brown hair and a scar on the right side of his head. He signed up for a term of “7yrs with the Colours and 5ys in the Reserve.” I think this means 7yrs active service. The term was extended in 1901 when he was given an “unpaid” Lance Cpl rank.This was “deprived” a year later. He was re-engaged in 1906 and he passed his corporal’s exam in Nov that year. He was given a “paid” Lance-Cpl rank in Aug 1907 but he must have been a bit unruly because it was deprived again that Christmas and he stayed a Pvt for the rest of his service. 18 months after joining, George was sent to India for about 2 years, then after a spell at home he was in Gibraltar for 12 months in 1907 and 8. He was “Invalid to England” from Gibraltar Hospital with an eye contusion on 15 Oct 1908. The injury, he attested, was “not caused by active service.”

I cannot find any records about George until he embarked for France on 2.12.1914. There are no records that say where he went or what action he saw, but in April 1915 he was transferred to the 2nd  Field Survey Coy, 2nd Army as a “servant” for Lieut Lightfoot, and he stayed with the Field Survey Coy in France until he was finally sent home in January 1919. His WW1 medals card says he earned the British Medal, the Victory Medal and the Star, and that the Theatre of War was France.

George Tearle army medals card.

George Tearle army medals card.

George filled out a disability statement, and while we find out how his injuries feel, he gave us the crucial hint as to his identity – his home address was 14 Church Walk, Dunstable.

George 4967 army record p26aGeorge 4967 army record p26b

I had to cut the document in half to fit it on the page…

In the 1901 Dunstable census, this was the address of Charles Bowler Tearle and Constance. Finally, I knew who he was. On 2 Aug 1919, George was given his final discharge from the army because of rheumatism and a single page with a large Z on it shows his pension being paid. It says “Died 18.1.20.” George had gone through turbulent times and had served his country as a professional soldier.  His parents were Charles Bowler Tearle 1849 of Dunstable and Constance nee Dickens. Charles’ parents were James Tearle 1806 and Mary Ann nee Webb. James’ parents were Richard Tearle 1778 and Mary nee Pestel, and Richard’s parents were Joseph 1737 and Phoebe nee Capp. Thus, he is of the branch Joseph 1737.