Tag Archives: casualty

21Feb/16

Francis Joseph Myerscough Tearle 1923, Preston, UK (REME)

Francis Joseph Myerscough Tearle 1923, Preston, UK

Here is Joseph’s service record from the CWGC
Name: TEARLE, FRANCIS JOSEPH MYERSCOUGH    Initials: F J M
Nationality: United Kingdom
Rank: Craftsman
Regiment/Service: Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers
Age: 21   Date of Death: 28/06/1944
Service No: 5124306
Additional information: Son of James and Fanny Tearle, of Preston, Lancashire.
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War DeadGrave/Memorial Reference: VIII. J. 4. Cemetery: LA DELIVRANDE WAR CEMETERY, DOUVRES

CWGC says, “The Allied offensive in north-western Europe began with the Normandy landings of 6 June 1944. The burials in La Delivrande War Cemetery mainly date from 6 June and the landings on Sword beach, particularly Oboe and Peter sectors.” This is during Operation Overlord – the landings of D-Day and the beginning of the end of WW2. Since Joseph was killed on 28 June and the Douvre Cemetery is near Caen, then we can assume that he was in the area, helping the Allied landings. Michael Tearle of NZ wrote to me about the kinds of tasks an REME would do: “It’s highly unlikely that Francis would have worked on bridges or laying cables. The Royal Engineers were the bridge people and the Royal Corps of Signals did the telecommunications. The REME did vehicles, guns, firearms, and radio repairs in the field, and welding, fitting and turning etc at base.” He also pointed out that craftsman (Cfn) in the REME was equivalent to private in the infantry.

It seems to me that Joseph is the son of James 1883 Preston, the son of Charles and Jane nee Swarbrick and grandson of Joseph 1803 Tebworth, the founder of the Preston Tearles. This means he is on the branch Joseph 1737. My first guess was that James has married a Frances (Fanny) Myerscough, but I can’t find the marriage – or any other evidence. I sent a birth registration to the GRO, but they sent it back with a “document not found” notice.

Barbara drew my attention to the Wills index:

“Francis Joseph Myerscough Tearle or Myerscough of 14 Redmayne Street, Preston, Lancs, died 28 June 1944 on war service. Probate 6 July to James Tearle, railway employee. Estate = £933 12s 4d

When I read the surname, Tearle or Myerscough, I checked under Myerscough in the Wills indexes as well and found an interesting entry – Charles Myerscough of 230 New Hall Lane, Preston, died 18 June 1940. Admon granted on 4 Sept. 1940 to James Tearle, railway employee. Estate = £900.

Unless I’ve missed it somewhere, I cannot find a birth registration for Francis Joseph, except that he could possibly be …. Francis Myerscough registered in March 1904 in Preston.”

If Charles Myerscough had asked James to look after young Francis, then perhaps he has been adopted.

I found the marriage in Preston 1916 of James and Fanny nee Ainsworth

Name: James Tearle
Year of Registration: 1916
Quarter of Registration: Apr-May-Jun
Spouse’s Surname: Ainsworth
District: Preston
County: Lancashire
Volume: 8e
Page: 1221

These are most likely Francis’ parents as cited on his CWGC entry above, James and Fanny Tearle of Preston. What seems to have happened here, as indicated by the two wills that Barbara found, is the following: James’ friend, Charles Myerscough has asked James to look after his son, Francis, and has left £900 for James to administer on Francis’ behalf. Francis may have been formally adopted by James, but I have no evidence for this. What is certain, is that Francis has added Tearle to his name, and perhaps even Joseph as a middle name, in honour of the founder of the Preston Tearles. When Francis signed up for WW2, he has left this money in his will to James.

In 1922, James was 39yrs, so it is quite likely that his maturity would have made Charles Myerscough comfortable with leaving the affairs of his son to such a man.

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.

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.