Albert Ernest Tearle, 1889, Sutton, Surrey, UK (RFA)

Died 16 Apr 1917, Mesopotamia.

Mesopotamia is not a country, or even a region, it is a Theatre of War. Since he is buried in the CWGC Baghdad War Cemetery, this points to Albert being killed in Iraq.

Here is his service record from CWGC:

Name: TEARLE Initials: A E     Nationality: United Kingdom
Rank: Acting Bombardier
Regiment/Service: Royal Field Artillery
Unit Text: 8th Bty. 13th Bde.
Date of Death: 16/04/1917
Service No: 46587
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
Grave/Memorial Reference: XIV. G. 8.
Cemetery: BAGHDAD (NORTH GATE) WAR CEMETERY

Rosemary Tearle of NZ found out about this chap, whom I had found in “Soldiers died in the Great War”. This is what she told me:
I did know about Albert Ernest Tearle, although with a slightly different place of death. Michael’s Aunt Evie (Evelyn Mary West nee Tearle) sent me some family history info before she died. She had Albert Ernest “Killed in action in India 1917 – He was single”. I will amend my records here accordingly.

For the record here is what I know of Albert Ernest.:
Albert Ernest Tearle, born 2 Jan 1889 at Sutton Surrey. Parents: William James Tearle 1860 and Lucy Ann nee Laine. (Tearle Grandparents, James 1834 and Sarah Ann nee Jones; great-grandparents, George Tearle 1808 and Elizabeth Tearle 1810)

Siblings: William Charles 1885, Reginald Arthur 1893 (who married Edith Maud Tanner and is in the wills section) and Grace Ellen 1900.

His brothers were butchers and his sister married a butcher, (he also had an uncle, John Thomas Tearle 1871, who was a butcher in the 1901 Sutton census) so perhaps he may have done a bit of butchering before he went to the War. William Charles Tearle also went to the War – he was a driver in the Service Corps and was mustard gassed. I don’t know if Reginald Arthur Tearle was in the War.

Enlisted Kingston-Upon-Thames, died Mesopotamia 16 April, 1917. He is listed on the Sutton Memorial in Manor Park, Carshalton Rd, Sutton.

I think the cause of the error in Aunt Evie’s report to Rosemary was because the 13th Brigade of the Royal Field Artillery, of which the 8th Battery was a member, fought with the 14th (Indian) Division in Iraq.* It was composed of battalions of the regular British Army, the British Territorial Force and the British Indian Army.  This does not mean that Albert ever lived or served in India. The 14th Division was engaged in battle in Iraq from 14 Dec 1916. In March 1917, the 14th Division had fought the Second Battle of Kut, and then captured (or freed from the Ottomans, depending on your viewpoint) Baghdad, under the leadership of Major-General Sir Frederick Stanley Maud. On 30 April 1917, the 14th Division fought in the Action of the Shatt Al Adhaim, but Albert never saw this. His record of Army gratuities, below, shows that on 16 Apr 1917, he was killed in or near Basra, and at a later date his body was removed to the GWGC cemetery near Baghdad. I shall let you make what you will of this document. It is very interesting. I ought to point out, too, that a Bombardier in the artillery was the equivalent of a Lance Corporal elsewhere in the army during WW1. So in this case he was an Acting Lance Corporal. Even so, he had responsibilities and duties to go with his new rank.

* Moberly, Brig Gen F. J. , The Campaign in Mesopotamia 1914-1918, 1923, London, HM Stationery Office.

Albert Ernest Tearle UK Army Effects

Albert Ernest Tearle UK Army Effects.

Rosemary was absolutely correct; Albert is remembered on the Sutton War Memorial. Here is the memorial itself, in the 4-acre grounds of Manor Park that have been set aside for it “For ever.”

Sutton War Memorial Manor Park Carshalton Rd

Sutton War Memorial Manor Park Carshalton Rd

Here is the dedication of the memorial for the casualties from Sutton:

Dedication of the Sutton Memorial to the war casualties.

Dedication of the Sutton Memorial to the war casualties.

And finally, here is that part of one of the many panels on the memorial that contains Albert’s name:

Bom Albert Earnest Tearle on Sutton War Memorial closeup

Bombardier Albert Earnest Tearle on the Sutton War Memorial, closeup.