Category Archives: Tearle Stories UK

From England we are able to research the history of the Tearle Family. Here we will share what we have found in our research, and our travels around England, to find Tearle sites and Tearle graves.

31May/16

Henry Charles Tearle 1887, Edlesborough, UK (327th Inf Wks Coy)

 

National Roll of the Great War said this of Henry Charles:

Tearle Henry Charles RF National Roll

This man is the brother of Horace 1893 of Edlesborough, and you are welcome to compare the military history of the two men, as well as allow the two posts to share the same story of their family history. In the 1911 census, below, we can see that Henry was already 23 years old, and married. We can also see that the family had some skills: Mary 1889 and Charlotte 1897 are machinists, Horace 1893, Henry Charles and Henry’s wife Elizabeth work in a paper mill, and William Samuel 1894 is working for a blacksmith. Unfortunately, at only 46yrs old, Ellen is already a widow. We saw the marriage of John and Ellen in the story of Horace 1893, but John had died before he turned 40 years old.

1911 Ellen Tearle nee Dyer 1865 Edles Mary 22 Horace 18 William Samuel 16 Charlotte 14 Alexander 12 Elsie Violet 10 Nellie Sarah 8 Henry Charles 23 Elizabeth DiL 22 in HH - 1

 

Henry had married Elizabeth Winter on 4 June 1910:

Henry Charles Tearle 1887 marriage Elizabeth Winter Parish Ch Hemel Hempstead 1910

In comparison with his parents, whose marriage is pictured on Horace’s post, Henry could read and write, and so could Elizabeth. The Mary Tearle at their wedding was Mary 1889, Henry’s immediately younger sister. The best he could say for his job was “Labourer,” but he had a skilled job in a paper mill, at the heart of the printing industry. Unfortunately, these days there is no Card Finisher, and whatever it meant in 1911, it was given the code 811, which means Paper Manufacture – other. It is entirely likely that Horace, Henry and Elizabeth are all working at the same paper mill.

Henry went to the recruitment centre in Watford 24 May 1916 and signed up. On 9 Apr 1917 he was called up to the 3rd Infantry Works Company. He was 29 years 10 months old. He should have been in peak form. When he turned up at the testing centre in Bedford, they were not too sure. They gave him a Category Cii – a low medical grade – and they transferred him to the 327th Inf Wks Coy, with the regimental number 176875. They also filled out several forms for the purposes of opening records in his name – his wife, his family, his disabilities (none) his physical appearance and so on. He was “Posted” to a duty unit on 24 April 1917. I can find nothing in his record that says he did anything or went anywhere, but that is true of any soldier’s record when he is serving at “Home” that is, anywhere in the UK, including Ireland.

On 15 Feb 1919 he was transferred to the army reserve on Demobilisation. He was free to go home, but could be called up at any time if required. A highly satisfied form, I think, dated 7 Jan 1919 attested that on the matter of discipline “Certified no entry while serving in this Coy.” He had served in the war, and no-one had ever shot at him. He picked up the form from the No1 Dispersal Unit that allowed him to travel home, and noted that he was prohibited to wear army uniform after 28 days from 18 Jan 1919. He was allowed to wear his greatcoat, but if he handed it in at his local Post Office, they would give him £1 for it. He was free of the army, he could go back to his family and hopefully his old job, and he could tell a nice tale of his adventures.

31May/16

Horace Tearle 1893 Edlesborough, UK (RFA)

National Roll of the Great War had this to say about Horace:

Tearle Horace RFA National Roll

Horace fought in some of the bloodiest and most brutal battles of the Great War. Look at the names. Ypres (a town in Belgium, called Wipers by the soldiers who fought there) the Somme, a beautiful, gently rolling farming countryside in Pas-de-Calais, France where more than 19,000 men on the Allied side were killed on just the first day of the battle. These were vast killing fields where upwards of 500,000 men of both sides fought each other to a standstill and poured artillery fire and machinegun spite at each other in the hope that something they were doing would finally work, while their leaders tried to find an action that would finally break the deadlock. Horace joined early in the war, and survived. We know nothing about his wounds.

Horace’s parents were John Tearle 1863 of Edelsborough and Ellen nee Dyer. Here is their marriage in 1884:JOHN TEARLE marriage to ELLEN DYER Edles 1884

You can see that John could not write, but Ellen Dyer could. Ann Maria Tearle was John’s younger sister, and in 1885 she would marry the Arthur Rollings who had joined her as a witness at her brother’s wedding.

John’s parents were George Tearle 1831 of Eaton Bray, just a few hundred metres from Edlesborough. and Hannah Maria nee Janes. George’s parents were Jabez Tearle 1792 of Northall, a hundred metres across a field, and Mary nee Green. Jabez’ parents were William Tearle 1749 of Stanbridge and Mary nee Prentice. This means that Horace is on the branch of William 1749. This branch has some of the most famous Tearle names ever, including Sir Godfrey Tearle the Shakespearean and movie actor, and a long and glorious tradition of military service. Horace was in very good company. His elder brother Henry Charles Tearle 1887 had joined the Royal Fusiliers, and his younger brother William Samuel Tearle 1894 had joined the Royal Field Artillery, although much later than Horace had. Henry and Horace had received written recognition of their efforts in the National Roll of the Great War, but for some reason, William Samuel had not.

Here is the medals card that determined the service medals that Horace received:

Horace Tearle 1421, 890597 WW1 army medal rolls - 1

He would have received the medals, in the post, during 1922.

In 1919, Horace married Ethel L Lake and so far as I know, they had one child, Herbert J Tearle 1930 in Bury St Edmonds, Suffolk. Here he is in 1933, amongst other Tearle families at addresses in Hemel Hempstead:

Hemel Hempstead Directory 1933-1

The first name is probably Alexander Tearle 1898, the second is possibly Horace, the third is most likely Henry Charles 1887, but I do not know who Daisy E is.

Horace died in Dacorum (the town of Hemel Hempstead lies in the district of Dacorum) in 1979, aged 85, and we hope that in the years after the Great War, Horace was able to piece together those parts of his character that make life worth living, for himself, and for his family.

In his own lifetime, Horace saw a grateful village honour his contribution to the effort to defeat the Germans. In Studham Church, Bedfordshire, there is a Roll of Honour. The names in gold are those who lost their lives and the names in red are those who were thankfully welcomed home. Horace is listed in red:

Studham Church Roll of Honour.

Studham Church Roll of Honour.

I have reproduced here that part of the Roll that records his name:

Horace Tearle on Roll of Honour in Studham Church.

We thank Paul and Edith Tearle of Studham for bringing this to our attention, and for taking us to the church to view this most touching of memorials.

Studham Church, Bedfordshire.

Studham Church, Bedfordshire.

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.

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.

02May/16

Sidney Thomas Tearle 1893, Willesden, UK (RASC)

Sidney Thomas Tearle was born to Zephaniah Tearle and Annie nee Buckingham on 7 March 1893 in Stonebridge, Willesden, London, and he was baptised a few weeks later. Because infant mortality rates were very high, particularly in London, parents wasted no time in getting their babies baptised. Helpfully for us, the minister has written Sidney’s birth date in the margin.

Sidney Thomas baptism in St Michael and All Angels, Stonebridge 1893

Sidney Thomas baptism in St Michael and All Angels, Stonebridge 1893

The genealogical details you need to know are that Zephaniah 1869 of Stanbridge was the son of single mother Jane Tearle 1844, of Stanbridge. She had three children: Minnie 1865 who died just a year later, Zephaniah, and Tryphena 1872, who tragically died in 1892, just 20 years old. Jane’s parents were John Tearle 1823 of Stanbridge and Eliza nee Irons. John was himself the only son of a single mother, Mary 1803 of Stanbridge, and she was a daughter of John Tearle 1770 of Stanbridge, and Mary nee Janes. And John 1770 was, of course, a son of John 1741 and Martha nee Archer.

The address, 23 Melville Rd, is the same for the 1901 census. Here, we find out that Zephaniah is a plate-layer on the railway and that both he and Annie had come directly from Stanbridge, in Bedfordshire. We will have a look much more closely at Zephaniah and Annie in another article, about them and their lives, and the other Tearle families who lived in Willesden. I thought I would show this page to help understand the neighbourhood that Zephaniah had moved to. He is working on or near the giant tangle of lines and trains that was Willesden Junction in the late Victorian and early 20th Century years. The people who live around him are decidedly working class; the one exception being the “Gentleman” Mr William Carpenter Hall, from 14 Park Rd.

In the 1911 census, Zephaniah and Annie have been married for 21 years, and have had five children, none of whom have died. Sidney is working for a butcher, as is Albert, his younger brother.

1911 Zephanaiah 1869 Annie 43 Bertram 20 Sidney 18 Albert 15 Lily 13 Stanley 11 in Harlesden

1911 census: Zephaniah 1869 and Annie, with Bertram 20 Sidney 18 Albert 15 Lily 13 Stanley 11 in Harlesden.

Since Sidney was 18 in 1911, then he was the perfect age (21yrs) to be dragged into WW1. Here is his entry in National Roll of the Great War:

Tearle Sidney Thomas National Roll

The note is both interesting, and chilling. The date, November 1917 is interesting, because he married in 1917:

Sidney Thomas 1893 marriage Florence May Fuller Emmanuel Paddington Westminster 1917

Sidney Thomas Tearle 1893, marriage to Florence May Fuller, Paddington, Westminster, 1917.

But look at the date! 26 December. Since he joined in November, and was on the Western Front in the same year, then there was not much time in which to have a wedding. You can see on the form that he was already a soldier (ASC) but that the army had signed him up and was about to use his butchering skills. I gather they were not expecting him to be engaged in too much fighting, because even basic training takes six weeks to two months.

The chilling part is that he was never out of range of the artillery, because he was delivering food and ammunition to the trenches – and then there is a list of some of the vast and most violent battles of the Great War. Arras, Vimy Ridge, Cambrai “and other sectors” says National Roll airily. Sidney was not in the Great War for as long as some of the other Tearles whose stories are told in National Roll, but he was in the thick of it.

There are just two items left in my catalogue of Sidney’s life: his medals card and his address once he returned to civilian life. Firstly, his medals card. However truncated the message is, it tells us most of what we need to know. This is another card that does not record a soldier’s entry into the Theatre of War, and as a result we have only the note from National Roll to tell us where he was, when, and what he did. In about 1922, he would have received by post his Victory Medal and his British Medal.

The last tiny dot of evidence I have for the life of Sidney Thomas is his address in 1932, from the Willesden Electoral Roll; Minet Gardens, NW10. We can see from the address that Sidney has not moved far from where his parents lived at 17 Minet Avenue, where they were in 1911. And Lilian Tryphena Noyce, living at number 11, is Sidney’s sister.

You take your culture with you; Zephaniah and Annie have brought the habits of the village with them, and living closely together is part of that culture.

 

http://www.tearle.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Sidney-T-Tearle-M-380389-WW1-army-medals-record.jpg

Sidney’s medals card from the RASC.

 

Sidney Thomas Tearle, Minet Gardens, NW10.

Sidney Thomas Tearle, Minet Gardens, NW10.

16Apr/16

Edgar Tearle 1890, Stanbridge, UK (7/Beds Regt)

We have already had a look at Edgar’s brother, Frederick John Tearle 1884 of Stanbridge, who came back from WW1, wounded forever. He lived with his family in the house on Peddars Lane and finally died in 1956.

Edgar’s story is somewhat different, but it starts the same way. His parents were John Tearle 1861 of Stanbridge and Annie nee Walker. In the 1901 census, the family was living in the second house from the corner of Tilsworth Rd. John was a carter on a farm, and Frederick, the eldest son, was a “cowman” on a farm. The enumerator somewhat dismissively called John an Ag Horse, and Frederick an Ag Cattle, by way of job description. Edgar was seven years younger than Frederick, and at 10yrs old, he was still at school. Alice Agnes at 6yrs and 1yr old Mabel Edith made up the family.

In the 1911 census, there are a few changes, and we learn a little more about John and Annie. Firstly, John is now a County Council employee and he is working on the roads. Annie and John are in their late forties and they have had seven children, of which two have died. That may explain the seven-year gap between Frederick and Edgar. And there is one addition to the family, little Eric who is five years old, and he is at school.

Three years pass, and in that time cataclysmic forces rise steadily across Europe until finally what was to become the Great War fired the first shots in Sarajevo. The first months were gentle enough, not much different from previous small wars in Europe, and it appeared to many that it would all “be over by Christmas.” Edgar, caught up in the moment, volunteered. This would be quite an adventure, and not to be missed. Here is his entry in National Roll of the Great War.

Tearle Edgar National Roll

He was unbelievably lucky. He joined the war in the first few months, and was in Europe the following January, with just four months training. Professional soldiers are expensive to train, and expensive to replace. Volunteers, like Edgar and hundreds of thousands who followed him, were used in first-line positions to take the enemy fire and to probe the weak spots. How Edgar survived is a mystery. By the time he was wounded, he was a battle-hardened soldier who had a hastened return to the front line, to help show naive new troops how to fight, and stay alive.

Here is his medals card, showing his service awards, as noted above by National Roll.

Edgar Tearle 14397 and 590090 WW1 army medals record

You can see that he was in the Bedfordshire Regiment, number 14397, but interestingly, he was also in the Labour Corps. This was a huge operation to move supplies and maintain transport links.

Here he is, below, in his army uniform: this is a much-loved picture.

Edgar 1890 Stbg

He was always in danger. The battles he was involved in are legendary for slaughter and the waste of men’s lives. Loos. The Somme. Passchendaele. Cambrai. These battles, even today, are the stuff of nightmares. How he stayed alive is the first mystery; how he kept his sanity is another.

But somehow or other, he did both and in 1922 he married Louisa Jane Abraham, in Leighton Buzzard, and they had four children. Here is Louisa Jane with her second daughter, Daphne, taken in about 1930.

Louisa Tearle nee Abraham and Daphne

At the end of his working life, Edgar received the Imperial Service Medal, for his work in the Post Office.Notice of Imperial Service Medal to Edgar

On the next page is the medal he would have received with the note, above:

Edgar 1890 Imperial Service Medal

Edgar was living in a house at 12 Lamas Walk, Leighton Buzzard, when he was struck so sick he was moved to Churchill Hospital in Oxford, where, unfortunately, he died, aged only 60yrs.

Here is his entry in the National Probate Register:

Edgar Tearle entry in National Probate Register 1952

He was a fine man, and we can be proud that he was one of us.

15Apr/16

Frederick John Tearle 1884 (8/Beds Regt) and the last Tearles in Stanbridge

At the end of WW1, a private initiative began that tried to tell the stories of the soldiers of WW1. It was called National Roll of the Great War and while volumes were written, the work could hardly be called comprehensive. However, of the seventeen Tearle men whose stories are in the Roll, one volume does include the stories of two Stanbridge men, who were lucky enough to survive the war. The first is Frederick, and the second is Frederick’s younger brother, Edgar Tearle 1890.

Here is Frederick’s entry in National Roll:

Tearle, F J, Private, 8th Bedfordshire Regiment, who gave his address as Tilsworth Rd, Stanbridge. Below is his entry in National Roll:

Tearle Frederick John National Roll

This man was Frederick John Tearle, 1884 of Stanbridge, regimental number 27560 Bedfordshire Regiment and 59749 Suffolk Regiment.

It is a little odd that National Roll says that Frederick earned the 1914-15 Star, because his service medal record leaves this off.

Frederick J 27560, 59749 WW1 army medal rolls

Frederick J Tearle 27560, 59749 WW1 army medal record.

Mind you, they do not mention which Theatre of War Frederick joined (France) and when, so perhaps the card is incomplete.

Frederick was a son of John Tearle 1862 of Stanbridge and Annie nee Walker. John’s parents were James Tearle 1823 and Hannah nee Philips. James’ parents were Richard and Elizabeth nee Bodsworth, and that means that Frederick was on the branch of John 1741.

In the 1901 census Frederick was 17, Edgar was 10yrs old and at school and there were Alice Agnes, 6yr, and Mabel Edith only 1yr. John was a carter on a farm and Frederick was a cowman. The 1911 census, as usual, is a little telling. The form is filled out by Annie, and that reminded me that on their wedding certificate in 1884, John made his mark, but Annie signed her name. It tells us that although in their late 40s, the marriage  had already run for 28yrs, that they had 7 live births, but that two had since died. John is a roadman for the County Council, and I think that would be a good step up, and would pay better, and more reliably, than carting farm produce. Frederick (27yrs) was still a farm labourer, and younger brother Edgar, now 20yrs old, was working at a plant nursery. Alice Agnes is 15yrs and still at home.

In 1914 the entire land mass of Europe shook with the oncoming rush of war. Britain’s treaties caused her to take sides, and she dived headlong into a disaster on a global scale. Edgar signed up first (it was going to be over by Christmas, remember) in September 1914, and Frederick, who was but a grain of sand on a beach pounded by mighty waves, signed up too. It was March 1915.

Three of the battles mentioned in National Roll were vast slaughterhouses over months of war. The gently rolling lands of southern Belgium and Pas-de-Calais in northern France, where the River Somme winds lazily to the sea, were battlefields carved deeply with dugouts, underground headquarters and trenches. Disease was rife supplies ran out, and often the enemy trenches were as close as 100m. In this terrain, men fought for days for no gain, and in that endeavour they died in their tens of thousands. Frederick was unbelievably lucky to survive. It looks as though his injury in the Battle of the Somme was sufficiently serious for him not to be sent back to the battlefield. He was also, I think mostly for administrative reasons, transferred to the 8th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment, which reviewed his documentation and approved the awarding of his service medals. This also explains how he was given two army numbers. He was finally free to go home.

Frederick John Tearle 59749 record of service medals

But in what condition did he return home? The noise, the carnage, the friends he lost, all of these would have taken an enormous toll on him. In the battle of Cambrai, it was noted that large rats ate the bodies of dead soldiers. That the daily toll of men was about 300, even when the artillery was not firing. And Cambrai, remember, was when tanks were first used on a large scale. The battle of Cambrai was also where Charles Tearle 1894 of Preston was killed, and Ernest John Tearle 1898 (on the same page, above) was gassed.

I mention this, because Richard Inns, a Stanbridge villager, told me that Frederick returned to his parents’ house, closed the curtains, and was seldom seen outside the house for the rest of his life.

Over time, this house saw sad events:

John 1862 died in 1927

Annie nee Walker, John’s wife, died in 1931

Alice Agnes died in April 1956

Frederick died in September 1956.

So far as I know, Frederick was the last person living in the house; I suspect that the loss of his sister would have hastened his death.

Four houses from the intersection of Pedders Lane and Tilsworth Road is the house where the last Tearles in Stanbridge lived. It has been added to, but it still exists:

Pedders Lane - the last Tearle house in Stanbridge

Pedders Lane – the last Tearle house in Stanbridge

When you read the service that Frederick did for his country, and the horrific battles he fought in, there can be no wonder that he could not (or would not) marry on returning to Stanbridge. It is also little wonder that his entire world was reduced to the interior of the last place where he had felt affection and security.

Edgar died in Churchill Hospital in Oxford in 1950, but he had been living in Leighton Buzzard until then; I am not certain where Eric was living at the time, but when he died in September 1968, he was the last person born in Stanbridge to carry the Tearle name. A name which had lived in this village since at least 1580, was gone.

03Apr/16

Joseph Tearle 1878, Preston (4/Loyal Nth Lancs)

The Preston Tearles are all descended from one marriage in Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire, between Joseph Tearle 1803 and Mary Ann nee Smith. They had (amongst many children) a son called Joseph, born in 1838, who married Sophia Kibble in Preston, Lancs, in 1858. Other members of the family drifted up to Preston on the Euston-Dunstable-Preston railway line and became part of the Lancashire business culture that Joseph had joined. Unsurprisingly, the parents of Joseph 1803 were Richard 1778 and Mary nee Pestel, and Richard’s parents were Joseph 1737 of Stanbridge, and Phoebe nee Capp.

Now, the son of Joseph 1838 (of interest to us militarily) was Joseph 1878, who had married Rachel Elizabeth Parker in 1900, in Preston. In the 1901 census, they were living in the house of Rachel’s parents and Joseph was working as a drysalter – basically, as a chemist. You would have thought that a man with three children in 1911, and 34yrs old in 1914, would be safe from the recruiters, working busily to send men to WW1. Not so for Joseph. I have precious little documentation, but his medals card speaks volumes:

Joseph 4029 WW1 army medal rolls

Joseph Tearle 4029 WW1 army medal rolls.

Firstly, on 31 June 1915 he joined the 4th Battalion, Loyal North Lancashire Regiment and was given the number 4029 and the rank of private. His discharge date is odd – in the middle of 1916, fully two years before the armistice of 11 Nov 1918. In the next column is the reason for his early release – he was given a Para 392 discharge. Paragraph 392 of the King’s Regulations refers to a medical or physical condition (eg wounds) so serious that he “is not fit enough to be an efficient soldier.” I cannot find the Chelsea records that would document the process of this decision, but I do have the document that grants him the Silver War Badge. This badge would allow him to go home and wear it on his civilian clothes to indicate that he did everything he could to go to war, that he had caught a dreadful sickness caused by active service, and to the highest standards of the British army, he was in no condition to fight.

Here is his record in the awarding of the Silver War Badge, as well as the document itself:

WW1 Silver War Badge
Name:    Joseph Tearle
Discharge Unit:    4th L.N. Lancs.
Regiment Number:    4023
Rank:    Pte.
Badge Number:    117528
Unit:    Infantry (Preston)
Piece:    3085
List Number:    TH 0401-0800
Record Group:    WO
Record Class:    329

Joseph Tearle WW1 Silver War Badge

Joseph Tearle 4023, WW1 Silver War Badge.

The hand-written numbers in the central column are the serial numbers of the badges awarded to each soldier. You can see that he was given a Para 392 discharge, and that he had not fought overseas.

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
West Wing, Napsbury Hospital, St Albans

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: