Tag Archives: RAFVR

21Feb/16

Raymond John Tearle 1916, Luton, UK (RAFVR)

On the War Memorial outside the Town Hall in Luton are the memorials to two Luton men who were killed in early 20th Century wars.Luton Town Hall and War Memorial

John Tearle 1849 and William Underwood Tearle were two well-known 19th Century Luton Wesleyan preachers: John was also a very successful businessman. William Underwood’s son, Ronald William Tearle 1897, is in the WW1 section, and John’s grandson, Raymond John Tearle 1916, is in the WW2 section.

WW2 names War Memorial Luton RJ Tearle

WW2 names on War Memorial, Luton: R. J. Tearle.

Here is Raymond’s service record from the CWGC:
Name: TEARLE, RAYMOND JOHN
Initials: R J
Nationality: United Kingdom Rank: Pilot Officer (Pilot)
Regiment/Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Unit Text: 206 Sqdn.
Age: 25 Date of Death: 17/05/1941
Service No: 84945
Additional information: Son of Ralph Grenville Tearle and Clarissa Jeanie Tearle, of Luton. Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
Grave/Memorial Reference: Sec. 4. Row L. Grave 1. Cemetery: LUTON CHURCH BURIAL GROUND

This is called St Marys Cemetery by the locals.
Here is Raymond John’s headstone on a grave he shares with his parents, Ralph Grenville Tearle 1884 and Clarissa Jeanie nee Pearson.

Raymond John Tearle headstone in St Mary Luton cemetery

Raymond John Tearle headstone in St Mary Luton cemetery

Raymond died on 17/05/1941 – on 10 May that year, the House of Commons was bombed – and Dorothy Chapman of Luton said that he died while trying to force-land in Sheerness Harbour. The plane had lost its radio and was 80 miles off course when it hit the breakwater (they called it the boom) late at night, killing at least two of the crew. She says he was flying out of RAF Bircham Newton, Norfolk. He was engaged, and would have been married the following month.

The British War graves site notes this about 206 Sqdn:
“In early 1940, the unit converted to Hudsons and moved to St Eval to patrol the south-west approaches. Two years later, Fortress IIs arrived and No 206 moved to the Azores to provide convoy protection over a much greater area than had previously been available.”

I wrote to RAF Bircham and Neil Grant replied:
We do have a record of Plt Off Tearle: he is shown in Peter Gunn’s book (Bircham Newton – A Norfolk Airfield in War and Peace) as having piloted Hudson aircraft T9324 VX-N on a ‘Pirate’ patrol which failed to return and came down in the Thames Estuary on 16 May 1941. The other members of the crew are listed as Plt Off L Cooper and Sgt A G Knight. All were reported as killed.

Raymond John Tearle is the grandson of John Tearle 1849 and Louisa Cooper nee Partridge and the g-gson of George 1823 and Sophia nee Underwood. The Underwoods are a well-known business family in Luton. The parents of George 1823 were George 1785 and Elizabeth nee Willison, and the parents of George 1785 were Joseph 1737 and Phoebe nee Capp.