Category Archives: Hertfordshire, UK

Tearle Family history from Hertfordshire

02May/16

Edward George Tearle 1896, Hemel Hempstead, UK (Labour Corps)

It is not very often, in the 20th Century, that a man and his son go to the same war, but for Edward Joseph Tearle 1874 of Watford, and his son, Edward George Tearle 1898, that is exactly what happened. I shall start with the entry in National Roll of the Great War:

Tearle Edward George National Roll

Edward George is a little bit lucky. The phrasing of the middle sentence exaggerates his importance a little bit, and “frequently in forward areas” means he was not very often in the line of fire. It is true, though, that Labour Corps men were used for replacement battalions, and often Labour Corps units were kept within the range of artillery for long periods. So we are not to downplay the danger, nor the effect that artillery, and the stench of death and disease would have on a twenty-year old fresh from the rural quietness of early Hemel Hempstead.

In the 1911 census he is living with his family in Watford, and although at 13 years old is still at school, he has an after-school job as an errand boy. At the outbreak of war, he was only 16 years old, so he would not be eligible to go to war until he was at least 18 years old. When he did so, his occupation was Cocoa Presser, he was 5feet 11in tall (which was tall for those times) and 20years 4months old, with a scar on his left knee; and he did not want to go into the navy. He enlisted on 2 March 1916, and he was called up on 19 June 1918. The war still had five months to rage, and a lot of men died in that time. On Armistice Day alone 11,000 soldiers perished, more than were killed on D-Day in WW2.

When he was eventually called up, the medics pronounced him fit for training, in spite of “an old fracture of the right elbow. Very deficient action of right forearm.” He was posted to the BEF (France) and moved three times to different Labour Corps groups. It is not possible to say where he was or what he was doing at any time, but on 18 Oct 1919, he signed a form to say “I do not claim to be suffering from a disability due to my military service.” And that is the end of Edward’s military experience. Here is the sheet that tells you where and when he went; to me it is completely obscure:

Edward George 643043 WW1 army service record p8

Edward George 643043 WW1 army service record p8

In 1921, he married Nellie Elizabeth Boultwood in Watford and there would appear to be only one child from this marriage; Donald Edward Tearle 1922, born in Watford.

Edward George died in Watford in 1948 aged only 50. I think we will always wonder if the war was even partly responsible for this. Here is the notice of the probate of his will:

Edward George Tearle National Probate 1948

Edward George Tearle, National Probate 1948

Edward’s ancestry information are the same as for his father, Edward Joseph Tearle 1874 of Watford.

18Mar/15

Edward Kefford W Tearle 1907, Lexden, UK (CMP)

Elaine and I got quite a surprise, even a shock, to see the name E TEARLE on a WW2 memorial outside St Marys Church in the pretty little village of Old Welwyn. Welwyn Garden City is close to St Albans, and you can walk to Old Welwyn from Hatfield. It took us a while to gather the information needed to tell his story, but here it is now.

The E Tearle honoured on WW2 section of the Old Welwyn memorial is Edward Kefford W Tearle, of the military police, b1907 in Essex.

WW2 names Old Welwyn

WW2 names Old Welwyn.

The memorial itself is next to St Marys, Old Welwyn.

War memorial closeup Old Welwyn

War memorial closeup, St Mary’s, Old Welwyn.

Here is the information supplied by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission:
Name: TEARLE, EDWARD KIFFORD Initials: E K
Nationality: United Kingdom
Rank: Lance Corporal
Regiment/Service: Corps of Military Police
Age:32
Date of Death:31/05/1940
Service No: 7683659
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
Grave/Memorial Reference: Plot 2. Row C. Grave 26.
Cemetery: DE PANNE COMMUNAL CEMETERY

This Edward Kefford W Tearle b1907 Lexden, Kent, was the son of Edward Kefford Tearle 1878 of Hatfield and Maud Sarah nee Micklefield, and as far as I know, he was their only son. He was the grandson of William 1857 of Soulbury and Sarah nee Kefford. He was the great-grandson of John 1831 Soulbury and Harriet nee Figg.

 Both these families are descended from Richard 1805 and Martha nee Walker, the parents of all the Soulbury Tearles. Leslie James T, John Henry T and Edward Kefford W Tearle are all descended from John Tearle 1830 and Harriet nee Figg, while Norman is descended from Richard 1843 (John’s brother) and Elizabeth nee Ellingham. All the Soulbury Tearle families are on the branch of John 1741.

WW2 names detail Old Welwyn

Detail of the WW2 names, Old Welwyn.

The CWGC said of Edward’s last hours: “The British Expeditionary Force was involved in the later stages of the defence of Belgium following the German invasion in May 1940, and suffered many casualties in covering the withdrawal to Dunkirk. De Panne village was the site of the final General Headquarters of the BEF in 1940, and there was a Casualty Clearing Station on the beach, which was an embarkation beach for the evacuation. From 27 May to 1 June 1940, the Germans strove to prevent the embarkation of the troops by incessant bombing, machine-gunning and shelling. The first German troops reached the village between 14.00 and 15.00 hrs on 31 May, and after heavy fighting, the commune was completely occupied by about 9.00 hrs on 1 June.”

Jonathon Tearle wrote to me on 20 Sep 2006

“This is my grandfather who was killed at Dunkirk in WW2. Although the evacuation was considered a great success, some poor souls got left behind to slow down the German advance. Edward was one of these brave men, and he wasn’t even a regular.”

Here are the results from our visit to the De Panne Communal Cemetery. We took the bus from Ypres to De Panne and a tram trip from De Panne to the cemetery below.

The Great Cross De Panne Communal Cemetery

The Great Cross; De Panne Communal Cemetery.

Edward Kefford William Tearle 7683659 De Panne Communal Cem

Edward Kefford William Tearle 7683659; De Panne Communal Cemetery.

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John Tearle and Harriett nee Figg were shockingly poor – they lived in cottages in Simonsyde (off the Coopers Green Lane to Stanborough) and they spent time in the Hatfield Union Workhouse. To compound their tragedies caused by poverty, John and Harriet’s grandsons were killed in WW1: Leslie James Tearle was killed in France and John Henry Tearle was killed in Gallipoli. Then, in WW2 this man, their g-grandson, was tragically killed defending the beaches of Dunkirk as the British and French armies made their escape, on the very same day that his second cousin, Norman Tearle, was killed trying to ferry men from the beaches to the waiting warships. Norman went to war from Soulbury, while Edward’s family had left the village two generations earlier.

We went to see Norman’s grave in Oostende, by tram, later on the same day that we visited De Panne.

Edward Kefford W Tearle, above, died in May 1940, but his father, Edward Kefford Tearle (John Henry’s brother) died in September the same year. So poor Maud Sarah Tearle nee Micklefield lost both her son and her husband within six months.

18Mar/15

Leslie James Tearle, 1915, St Albans, UK (1st Herts Rgt)

The War Memorial, St Albans.

The War Memorial, St Albans.

 

Name: TEARLE, LESLIE JAMES
Initials:L J    Nationality: United Kingdom
Rank: Private    Regiment/Service: Hertfordshire Regiment
Unit Text:1st Bn.    Age: 19    Date of Death: 11/07/1915
Service No:2007
Additional information: Son of Edward and Emma Tearle, of 49, Culver Rd., St. Albans, Herts.
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead    Grave/Memorial Reference: I. B. 9.
Cemetery: WOBURN ABBEY CEMETERY, CUINCHY

His parents were Edward Joseph, b 1869, Simonshyde, Hatfield and Emma Warner b1872, Hatfield. Edward was the son of John b1831 Soulbury and Harriet nee Figg. John was the son of Richard 1805, Stanbridge and Martha nee Burnard. Richard was one of the many sons of Richard 1773, Stanbridge and Elizabeth nee Bodsworth – my ggggg-parents. And this Richard was the son of John 1741. Thus Leslie is of the branch John 1741.

LJ Tearle on the St Albans War Memorial. Leslie James Tearle

LJ Tearle on the St Albans War Memorial. Leslie James Tearle

WW1 memorial St Albans Town Hall

Leslie is remembered on the Honours Board in the Old Town Hall.

Here is a closeup of Leslie's name on the board.

Here is a closeup of Leslie’s name on the board.

 

Leslie is also remembered on the Roll of Honour in All Saints Church, Hertford.

Leslie is also remembered on the Roll of Honour in All Saints Church, Hertford.

Here is the header section of the memorial.

Header section of the memorial.

 

Leslie and Alfred Tearle on the Hertford War Memorial.

Leslie and Alfred Tearle on the War Memorial in All Saints, Hertford.

The first Tearle name on the list above in All Saints, Hertford is Alfred Edward Tearle 1897, of Watford.

Leslie James was killed on 11 July 1915. The Long Long Trail says of that time: “there was no general change in the situation on the Western Front. It was a period of static warfare, where the army suffered average losses of 300 men a day from sniping and shellfire, while they continued to gradually improve and consolidate the trenches.” and “The army continued to suffer from a shortage of material, notably heavy artillery and machine guns (although Lewis guns were officially issued from 14 July onward).”

He is buried in Woburn Abbey Cemetery, Cuinchy, a village on a canal (with a lock) in Pas de Calais, with a four-hourly train connection.

Below is the view from the road of Woburn Abbey Cemetery, Cuinchy. There was no one battle here; the area was always in range of German guns as was Woburn Abbey, the name given to a house nearby, which was used as a battalion headquarters and dressing station. No details are given by CWGC about the circumstances in which young Leslie died.

Woburn Abbey Cemetery Cuinchy

Woburn Abbey Cemetery, Cuinchy.

Leslie James Tearle in the Book of Remembrance; Woburn Abbey Cemetery, Cuinchy

Leslie James Tearle in the Book of Remembrance; Woburn Abbey Cemetery, Cuinchy.

His parents would have written the epitaph for his headstone, pictured below:
“He died a noble death fighting for his country.”

Leslie James Tearle Woburn Abbey Cemetery Cuinchy

Leslie James Tearle headstone, Woburn Abbey Cemetery, Cuinchy.

18Mar/15

John Henry Tearle 1887, Hatfield, UK (Inniskilling Fusiliers)

Here are the details supplied by the CWGC

Name: TEARLE, JOHN HENRY
Initials:J H
Nationality: United Kingdom
Rank:Lance Serjeant
Regiment/Service: Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers
Unit Text:1st Bn.
Age:28
Date of Death: 29/06/1915
Service No:9054
Additional information: Son of Mrs. Sarah Tearle, of 71, Port Hill, Bengeo, Hertford.
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
Grave/Memorial Reference: Panel 97 to 101.
Memorial: HELLES MEMORIAL

The parents of John Henry Tearle 1888 Hatfield, were William Francis Tearle 1857 Soulbury and Sarah nee Kefford. Bengeo is a suburb of Hertford. I have a special affinity for John – he died in Gallipoli. The CWGC says of the Helles Memorial: “The Helles Memorial stands on the tip of the Gallipoli Peninsula. It takes the form of an obelisk over 30 metres high that can be seen by ships passing through the Dardanelles.”

The Helles Memorial.

The Helles Memorial, Gallipoli.

 

There is no memorial in Hertfordshire for John Henry, but the “Helles Memorial for the English” gives John Henry full benefit for his sacrifice.

John Henry Tearle on Helles Memorial.

John Henry Tearle on Helles Memorial.

There is a section on John Henry Tearle in the article and booklet “A Visit to Gallipoli”.

William’s parents were John 1831, Soulbury and Harriet nee Figg. William and Edward Joseph, were brothers, so John Henry of Hatfield and Leslie James of St Albans were first cousins. Thus John Henry is also of the branch John 1741.