Tag Archives: Frank

19Mar/15

Ewart Frank Tearle 1947, Rotorua, NZ

School Days. Glenholme Primary School, Rotorua. I’m 5th from the right, second row down. Nice school. The principal’s name was Mr Bassett. My friends and I spent an awful lot of time on our knees playing marbles in chalk circles on the asphalt, while other boys played rugby or soccer on the school fields.

School Days. Glenholme Primary School, Rotorua. I’m 5th from the right, second row down. Nice school. The principal’s name was Mr Bassett. My friends and I spent an awful lot of time on our knees playing marbles in chalk circles on the asphalt, while other boys played rugby or soccer on the school fields.

I still know the names of most of the children in the photo above. The principal encouraged gardening, and he showed us how to grow and prune roses.

I hitch-hiked to see Sadie one summer and this was the photo she took of me in her garden in Haumoana. She was so short she fitted under my arm, but she was very nice to me and I went fishing in the mouth of the Tukituki River not far away, whilst she had an afternoon nap.

I hitch-hiked to see Sadie one summer and this was the photo she took of me in her garden in Haumoana. She was so short she fitted under my arm, but she was very nice to me and I went fishing in the mouth of the Tukituki River not far away, whilst she had an afternoon nap.

A boy and his dog. I was too skinny to go sailing and couldn’t hold the yacht upright. I took my dog to obedience classes and he got quite good at it. Dad made the gates in the background.

A boy and his dog. I was too skinny to go sailing and couldn’t hold the yacht upright. I took my dog to obedience classes and he got quite good at it. Dad made the gates in the background.

My 21st. I didn’t know they were planning it and the occasion was quite a surprise. Doesn’t Mum look gorgeous - and young!

My 21st. I didn’t know they were planning it and the occasion was quite a surprise. Doesn’t Mum look gorgeous – and young!

This is the inside of Sadie’s cottage, below, exactly as I remember it when I visited her. The picture above the mantlepiece is of Leonard Adams, a Navy man (a marine) who visited her when his warship the Renown, carrying the Prince of Wales on a voyage around the Colonies, called in at Napier and Wellington and he was allowed some time off to go and see her. He says on his copy of the sailing plan “Napier – Where I left to see Auntie. May 4th 1920.” The radio was made of black bakelite and she listened to the BBC six o’clock news every day, as she had during two world wars. She knitted peggy squares for the New Zealand Red Cross. These were 6-inch squares of knitted wool, which could be multi-coloured, and were made entirely from garter stitch. Someone dropped off the wool she was to knit, and came back in a few weeks to pick up the finished squares. Other volunteers sewed the peggy squares into blankets for the needy. Thousands of New Zealand women knitted them – my mother did from time to time – and the project seemed to have its origins in the Great Depression of the 1930s. Sadie was knitting them both times I visited her, and she told me hers were going to London. She must have made thousands of them.

Sadie's cottage

Sadie’s cottage

19Mar/15

Frank Theodore Tearle 1915, Hastings, NZ

Here is the obituary I wrote for my father, who died a few months after Mum:

It is a source of great sadness to me that I should have to speak to you about my father so soon after farewelling my mother.  I had hoped to be able to speak with him and to write to him for some time yet. I shall miss him. There is no-one in the world who has had such an influence on me and on my life as Dad has.

Frank and Sadie 1925 Hastings NZ

Frank and Sadie 1925 Hastings NZ

“If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well.” My dad’s life and my dad’s guiding principle in a single sentence. There is only one way of doing something – do it right the first time, do it right every time. It didn’t matter if he was doing a small job on a model motor, or whether he was working on another project on his house, he approached every job with the same serious concentration, meticulous planning and careful execution. I have stood for hours and talked with him while he worked at his lathe and made those beautiful boats and engines for which he is justifiably famous.

I can remember many nights on the porch in Western Heights watching him work his magic on a small piece of metal, a magic I longed to weave, but had no gift for at all. I always felt close to him when I stood there and watched him work.

Frank Tearle at his lathe, Hahei.

Frank Tearle at his lathe, Hahei.

Here in Hahei, Dad made a boat for Jason and we all went down to the little stream at the end of the Hahei beach to watch this delicate little steam engine drive Jason’s new boat and to marvel at the intricacies of the remote control mechanism by which it was steered. Jason absolutely loved it and promptly christened it Genevieve, in honour of his sister. This boat is now a lovely and graceful monument to Dad’s beautiful grandson. One of the very best portraits I have taken is a photo of Dad, in his workshop in Hahei, looking over his lathe at me while he worked. I am proud of it, and he thought it was pretty good, too.

I remember a few things very vividly from my childhood about Dad. The first thing was that he knew everything. There was no subject brought up at the table – and we had dinner as a family every day – that he couldn’t teach us things about. While he wasn’t very educated, he always read very widely and thus he was very knowledgeable. No man I have ever met, then or since, was as knowledgeable as Dad.

He always had a vegetable garden. He could never see any reason for growing flowers, but he had the biggest vege garden that would fit onto any back lawn he was allowed dig up. And he grew the most beautiful vegetables; fat potatoes, huge and perfect carrots, beetroot, parsnips, cabbages, cauliflowers, rhubarb and in Rotorua he had this 15 feet high trellis for the chinese gooseberries, as they were called then, right at the front of the garden. They are called kiwifruit now. He had a thing about the soil in Rotorua being too porous and he wanted lots of organic material in the soil to give it some body and retain the water properly. He dug in people’s old hay and he grew lupines and dug them in, too.

I went with him one afternoon to a fishmonger in Rotorua whose freezers had failed overnight and after Dad had fixed the freezers, the man gave him the contents; some sharks, barracudas, groupers, mostly big fish, which Dad heaved onto the back of the truck. When he got home, he dug some trenches through the garden and dumped these fish into the trenches. For years we dug up fish scales. It took the neighbour fully five years to get to know Dad well enough to ask him the burning question, “What were you trying to grow when you sowed the fish?”

Frank and Peter at Sadie’s 1958.

Frank and Peter at Sadie’s 1958.

Dad wasn’t a big man – I suppose five feet eight – but he always had physical jobs and so kept very fit. You know he built his mother’s house in Haumoana when he was only 15, don’t you? In Hyla Rd. It was originally a shed on a section his mother bought with £100 her brother sent her. Levi Tearle, her father-in-law sent her £80 and with that she dug a well. The house Dad built is still there and the well is still there. He left school and went to work for an apiarist, so he knew a lot about bees and how different honeys are made. Then he went to work for a builder and during World War II he was building houses in Wellington.

He wasn’t allowed into the army because he had had rheumatic fever as a boy and it had left his heart with an irregular beat. He had also had mumps at fifteen and that left him deaf in one ear. He met Mum in Wellington and after they were married he had work as a builder in Whakatane, a farmer in Te Aroha, a refrigeration engineer and a joiner/fitter in Rotorua so he knew his way around wood and metal. That’s well documented – everyone here will know what a lovely job he made of building his own house in Hahei and how talented he was with his lathe – what you may not know is how unbelievably strong he was.

He and Mum used to gather strays and one of them was a lady called Marlene and her boyfriend. Now, he was a weightlifter, bigger than Dad, with muscles on muscles that he liked to display. One day he and Dad replaced the big ends on this chap’s car, filled the motor with oil and tried to start the car. The starter motor did nothing, just growled, so Marlene’s boyfriend took the crank handle and gave the starter motor a hand. Still nothing. I can see him in his singlet, sweating in the warm autumn sun, muscles bulging as he strained to turn the motor over. Still nothing. “I’ll have a go,” said Dad, stepped forward, set his feet, grabbed the crank handle in both hands, and turned it over, just like that. But the motor hadn’t made a sound. Dad pulled the crank out of the hole and we saw that he had made a very tidy 360-degree worm in the middle of the crank handle. “You don’t have to have lots of muscles to be strong, you know,” he murmured to me later.

Frank and Sadie, Haumoana 1967

Frank and Sadie, Haumoana 1967

The third thing that stands out so powerfully about my dad is that he was so generous. He gave so willingly of his time and of his patience and of his considerable talents. He was kind, outgoing and friendly. You know all the work he did here in Hahei for the fire brigade and for his local water supply. You know that he did the work only because it needed to be done; he never asked for recognition and he never asked for pay. He did the work because one day he put his hand up and said, “I can do that,” and he did, not just for that day, but for years and years and years. My dad didn’t do things by halves; if a job’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well.

When you think of him today, think of his family here in England also grieving for a lost cousin and friend. He was very, very moved when they came to see him and to correspond with him over these past few years. Thelma Shepherd, Sheila Leng, John Wallace, Jenny Pugh, Norah Lowe, Ivor and Iris Adams and lastly Roland Adams, his cousin who sent him his first lathe in about 1930 – the very one he worked his magic on for me, for his model motors and for the people in Hahei. I have spoken to all his English family, many more than just the list above, and each of them wishes to send you their heartfelt greetings and their deepest sympathy.

Frank and Genevieve, NZ 1994

Frank and Genevieve, NZ 1994

Is it too much to say that for all my life Dad has been my hero, the one person I never wanted to let down, the one man I always hoped would be proud of what I do? I shall miss him. I shall miss his presence in the back of my mind as I walk around London and get to know the world so familiar to his parents, composing the letter that I write to him each month about what I have seen and what I have discovered. I shall really, really miss him.

Ewart Tearle

St Albans 2002

18Mar/15

Peter Frank Tearle 1927, Edlesborough, UK

This headstone belongs to Peter Frank 1927 of Edlesbrough. He married Iris Patricia Galpin in Luton in 1948. His father was Frank 1898 of Eaton Bray who married Selina Gore in 1921. His grandfather was George 1861 Edles and his g-grandparents were George 1831 EB and Hannah Maria nee Janes. George’s parents were Jabez 1792 of Northall  and Mary nee Green and that means Peter is on the branch William 1749 (and Mary nee Prentice).

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Frank was the brother of Jeffery 1891 EB who was killed in France in 1914. This makes Peter Jeffery’s nephew.

18Mar/15

Reginald Frank Tearle 1908, Watford, UK (RAFVR)

Reginald Frank Tearle 1908, Watford

Name: TEARLE, REGINALD FRANK
Initials: R F
Nationality: United Kingdom
Rank: Sergeant (Obs.)
Regiment/Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Age: 35
Date of Death: 27/04/1944
Service No: 1379571
Additional information: Son of Frank and Margaret Tearle of Watford; husband of Eleanor Tearle, of Watford.
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
Grave/Memorial Reference: Sec. A. Cons. Grave 158.
Cemetery: WATFORD NORTH CEMETERY

I’m afraid the CWGC is silent on the circumstances of Reginald’s death.

His father was Frank Tearle 1881 of Cambridge who married Margaret May Warr in Watford in 1905 and died in 1927. His grandparents were Abel 1850 of Dagnall and Alice Gray nee Collier, while his g-grandparents were Thomas 1830 Dagnall and Jane nee Draper.

Thus, he is on the branch of Thomas 1737.

Below is his headstone in Watford North Cemetery:

Reginald Frank Tearle CWGC headstone Watford North Cemetery

Reginald Frank Tearle CWGC headstone Watford North Cemetery

And here is a closeup of the text:

Sgt RF Tearle Watford North Cemetery

Sgt RF Tearle Watford North Cemetery

18Mar/15

Frank Tearle 1898, Eaton Bray, UK (RASC)

Tearle, F  Private, RASC

This is Jeffrey’s brother, Frank, born in Eaton Bray in 1898, son of George 1861 of Edlesborough and grandson of George 1831 of Eaton Bray and Hannah Maria nee Janes. The parents for George 1831 were Jabez 1792 and Mary nee Green and Jabez’ parents were William 1749 and Mary nee Prentice.

Here is what National Roll of the Great War  says:

Tearle Frank RASC National Roll

Below is his army medals card:

Frank Tearle M279390 WW1 army medal rolls

Frank Tearle M/279390 record card from the WW1 army medal rolls

You can see that it is woefully thin. He has served in the army from 3 Aug 1916 until 12 Sep 1919 and he gets no recognition at all. He will have been separated from his family for some time, on army duty, but because he was never posted overseas, all of this counts for nothing. Now, what I cannot do, is guess what his sickness was, but we know from this card that he was given a Para 392 discharge as “Not fit enough to be an efficient soldier.” He will have been sent to England, and possibly his own home, some time before 12 Sep 1919, because when it was determined that a Para 392 discharge was applicable, he would probably have been allowed to return to his own home, but still tied to army regulations until his discharge date.

What National Roll does not say was that Frank was the recipient of the Silver War Badge, which was given to those who, through injury or sickness, caused by active service, were unable to continue in active service. This is what the army recorded:

  • Name:  Frank Tearle
  • Discharge Unit:  R.A.S.C
  • Regiment Number:  M/279390
  • Rank:  Pte
  • Badge Number:  B307103
  • Unit: Royal Army Service Corps (Woolwich)
  • Piece:  3226
  • List Number:  RASC 4351-4600
  • Record Group:  WO
  • Record Class: 392
Frank Tearle WW1 Silver War Badge

Frank Tearle 1898 WW1 Silver War Badge

The central column in blue ink records the serial number of the War Badge that was awarded to him, and the right-most column reinforces the clear inference from his army medals card that he never served “overseas”. Ireland was counted as Home, not overseas, so it never counted as war service.

Frank married Selina Gore in 1921 and they are the parents of Peter Frank Tearle, whose headstone is in the graveyard of Edlesborough Church.