Tag Archives: Somme

31May/16

Horace Tearle 1893 Edlesborough, UK (RFA)

National Roll of the Great War had this to say about Horace:

Tearle Horace RFA National Roll

Horace fought in some of the bloodiest and most brutal battles of the Great War. Look at the names. Ypres (a town in Belgium, called Wipers by the soldiers who fought there) the Somme, a beautiful, gently rolling farming countryside in Pas-de-Calais, France where more than 19,000 men on the Allied side were killed on just the first day of the battle. These were vast killing fields where upwards of 500,000 men of both sides fought each other to a standstill and poured artillery fire and machinegun spite at each other in the hope that something they were doing would finally work, while their leaders tried to find an action that would finally break the deadlock. Horace joined early in the war, and survived. We know nothing about his wounds.

Horace’s parents were John Tearle 1863 of Edelsborough and Ellen nee Dyer. Here is their marriage in 1884:JOHN TEARLE marriage to ELLEN DYER Edles 1884

You can see that John could not write, but Ellen Dyer could. Ann Maria Tearle was John’s younger sister, and in 1885 she would marry the Arthur Rollings who had joined her as a witness at her brother’s wedding.

John’s parents were George Tearle 1831 of Eaton Bray, just a few hundred metres from Edlesborough. and Hannah Maria nee Janes. George’s parents were Jabez Tearle 1792 of Northall, a hundred metres across a field, and Mary nee Green. Jabez’ parents were William Tearle 1749 of Stanbridge and Mary nee Prentice. This means that Horace is on the branch of William 1749. This branch has some of the most famous Tearle names ever, including Sir Godfrey Tearle the Shakespearean and movie actor, and a long and glorious tradition of military service. Horace was in very good company. His elder brother Henry Charles Tearle 1887 had joined the Royal Fusiliers, and his younger brother William Samuel Tearle 1894 had joined the Royal Field Artillery, although much later than Horace had. Henry and Horace had received written recognition of their efforts in the National Roll of the Great War, but for some reason, William Samuel had not.

Here is the medals card that determined the service medals that Horace received:

Horace Tearle 1421, 890597 WW1 army medal rolls - 1

He would have received the medals, in the post, during 1922.

In 1919, Horace married Ethel L Lake and so far as I know, they had one child, Herbert J Tearle 1930 in Bury St Edmonds, Suffolk. Here he is in 1933, amongst other Tearle families at addresses in Hemel Hempstead:

Hemel Hempstead Directory 1933-1

The first name is probably Alexander Tearle 1898, the second is possibly Horace, the third is most likely Henry Charles 1887, but I do not know who Daisy E is.

Horace died in Dacorum (the town of Hemel Hempstead lies in the district of Dacorum) in 1979, aged 85, and we hope that in the years after the Great War, Horace was able to piece together those parts of his character that make life worth living, for himself, and for his family.

In his own lifetime, Horace saw a grateful village honour his contribution to the effort to defeat the Germans. In Studham Church, Bedfordshire, there is a Roll of Honour. The names in gold are those who lost their lives and the names in red are those who were thankfully welcomed home. Horace is listed in red:

Studham Church Roll of Honour.

Studham Church Roll of Honour.

I have reproduced here that part of the Roll that records his name:

Horace Tearle on Roll of Honour in Studham Church.

We thank Paul and Edith Tearle of Studham for bringing this to our attention, and for taking us to the church to view this most touching of memorials.

Studham Church, Bedfordshire.

Studham Church, Bedfordshire.

16Apr/16

Edgar Tearle 1890, Stanbridge, UK (7/Beds Regt)

We have already had a look at Edgar’s brother, Frederick John Tearle 1884 of Stanbridge, who came back from WW1, wounded forever. He lived with his family in the house on Peddars Lane and finally died in 1956.

Edgar’s story is somewhat different, but it starts the same way. His parents were John Tearle 1861 of Stanbridge and Annie nee Walker. In the 1901 census, the family was living in the second house from the corner of Tilsworth Rd. John was a carter on a farm, and Frederick, the eldest son, was a “cowman” on a farm. The enumerator somewhat dismissively called John an Ag Horse, and Frederick an Ag Cattle, by way of job description. Edgar was seven years younger than Frederick, and at 10yrs old, he was still at school. Alice Agnes at 6yrs and 1yr old Mabel Edith made up the family.

In the 1911 census, there are a few changes, and we learn a little more about John and Annie. Firstly, John is now a County Council employee and he is working on the roads. Annie and John are in their late forties and they have had seven children, of which two have died. That may explain the seven-year gap between Frederick and Edgar. And there is one addition to the family, little Eric who is five years old, and he is at school.

Three years pass, and in that time cataclysmic forces rise steadily across Europe until finally what was to become the Great War fired the first shots in Sarajevo. The first months were gentle enough, not much different from previous small wars in Europe, and it appeared to many that it would all “be over by Christmas.” Edgar, caught up in the moment, volunteered. This would be quite an adventure, and not to be missed. Here is his entry in National Roll of the Great War.

Tearle Edgar National Roll

He was unbelievably lucky. He joined the war in the first few months, and was in Europe the following January, with just four months training. Professional soldiers are expensive to train, and expensive to replace. Volunteers, like Edgar and hundreds of thousands who followed him, were used in first-line positions to take the enemy fire and to probe the weak spots. How Edgar survived is a mystery. By the time he was wounded, he was a battle-hardened soldier who had a hastened return to the front line, to help show naive new troops how to fight, and stay alive.

Here is his medals card, showing his service awards, as noted above by National Roll.

Edgar Tearle 14397 and 590090 WW1 army medals record

You can see that he was in the Bedfordshire Regiment, number 14397, but interestingly, he was also in the Labour Corps. This was a huge operation to move supplies and maintain transport links.

Here he is, below, in his army uniform: this is a much-loved picture.

Edgar 1890 Stbg

He was always in danger. The battles he was involved in are legendary for slaughter and the waste of men’s lives. Loos. The Somme. Passchendaele. Cambrai. These battles, even today, are the stuff of nightmares. How he stayed alive is the first mystery; how he kept his sanity is another.

But somehow or other, he did both and in 1922 he married Louisa Jane Abraham, in Leighton Buzzard, and they had four children. Here is Louisa Jane with her second daughter, Daphne, taken in about 1930.

Louisa Tearle nee Abraham and Daphne

At the end of his working life, Edgar received the Imperial Service Medal, for his work in the Post Office.Notice of Imperial Service Medal to Edgar

On the next page is the medal he would have received with the note, above:

Edgar 1890 Imperial Service Medal

Edgar was living in a house at 12 Lamas Walk, Leighton Buzzard, when he was struck so sick he was moved to Churchill Hospital in Oxford, where, unfortunately, he died, aged only 60yrs.

Here is his entry in the National Probate Register:

Edgar Tearle entry in National Probate Register 1952

He was a fine man, and we can be proud that he was one of us.