Tag Archives: British

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.

31Mar/16

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

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

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

Charles marriage Louisa Caroline Green All Saints Walworth Southwark 1884

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

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

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

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

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

Charles E Tearle WW1 Silver War Badge

Charles E Tearle WW1 Silver War Badge

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

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

Charles E W Tearle 21622 WW1 army medal rolls

Charles E W Tearle 21622 WW1 army medal rolls.

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

03 Charles EW, a boxer

Charles E W Tearle, a boxer.

01 Charles EW (standing) date

Charles E W Tearle, standing.

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

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

21Feb/16

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

Jeffrey Parkhurst Tearle 1914, Lebong, India

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Incredibly, they sent a photograph.

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

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

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

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

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