Tag Archives: WW1

02Jan/16

Soldiers Died in the Great War

Soldiers Died in the Great War

Collated and annotated by Ewart Tearle
May 2010

Many of these names are included in other collections on this site, however for those who came across this database on CD, here are some notes on the genealogy of each man who died, along with the link to the post wherein his story is told.

Name: Jeffrey Tearle

Birth Place: Eaton Bray, Beds
Residence: Dunstable
Death Date: 31 Oct 1914
Death Location: France & Flanders
Enlistment Location: Dunstable, Beds
Rank: Corporal
Regiment: Bedfordshire Regiment
Battalion: 1st Battalion
Number: 3/6459
Type of Casualty: Killed in action
Theatre of War: Western European Theatre

Son of George 1861 and Sarah Jane nee Horn. Brother of Frank 1898 and John Henry 1885, both of whom survived the War. William 1749.

Name: John Henry Tearle

Birth Place: Hatfield, Hertfordshire
Death Date: 29 Jun 1915
Death Location: Gallipoli
Enlistment Location: London
Rank: L/Sergeant
Regiment: Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers
Battalion: 1st Battalion
Number: 9054
Type of Casualty: Killed in action
Theatre of War: Balkan Theatre

Son of William Francis T 1857 and Sarah Ann nee Kefford. G-uncle of Edward Kefford W Tearle who was killed in WW2 while covering the withdrawal to Dunkirk. A son of the Soulbury Tearles. John 1741. See also A Visit to Gallipoli

Name: Leslie James Tearle

Birth Place: St Albans
Residence: St. Albans
Death Date: 11 Jul 1915
Death Location: France & Flanders
Enlistment Location: St. Albans
Rank: Private
Regiment: Hertfordshire Regiment
Number: 2007
Type of Casualty: Killed in action
Theatre of War: Western European Theatre

Son of Edward Joseph T and Emma Elizabeth nee Warner. Has a memorial on the St Albans War Memorial in St Peters St as well as in the foyer of the Old Town Hall. Descendant of the Soulbury Tearles and cousin of John Henry immediately above. John 1741.

Name: Alfred Edward Tearle

Residence: Watford, Herts
Death Date: 10 May 1916
Death Location: France & Flanders
Enlistment Location: Hertford
Rank: Private
Regiment: Hertfordshire Regiment
Number: 4605
Type of Casualty: Killed in action
Theatre of War: Western European Theatre

Son of Alfred George T and Minnie nee Cyster. G-gson of George 1818 and Annie nee Haws. Thomas 1737 via Fanny 1780.

Name: Rowland Tearle

Birth Place: London
Death Date: 9 Jun 1916
Death Location: Home
Enlistment Location: Northampton
Rank: Private
Regiment: Royal Army Medical Corps
Number: 55930
Type of Casualty: Died
Theatre of War: Home

Rowland Grigg Tearle, son of Elizabeth 1871 of Linslade, and grandson of John 1825 (the marine) and Sophia nee Walker. Brought up by Susannah Rogers who lived in the house close to Yardley Hastings church. He caught a dreadful trench disease and died at home. Buried with a CWGC headstone in the Yardley Hastings churchyard. His story is told in detail elsewhere on this site.

Name: Albert Ernest Tearle

Birth Place: Sutton, Surrey
Death Date: 16 Apr 1917
Death Location: Mesopotamia
Enlistment Location: Kingston-On-Thames
Rank: A/BDR.
Regiment: Royal Horse Artillery and Royal Field Artillery
Number: 46587
Type of Casualty: Died
Theatre of War: Asiatic Theatres

Son William James 1860 and Lucy Ann nee Laine. Buried in Bagdad. Grandgson of George 1809 and Elizabeth Tearle. Joseph 1737.

Name: Charles Tearle

Birth Place: Preston
Death Date: 30 Nov 1917
Death Location: France & Flanders
Enlistment Location: Preston
Rank: Private
Regiment: Loyal North Lancashire Regiment
Battalion: 1/5th Battalion (Territorial Force)
Number: 36932
Type of Casualty: Killed in action
Theatre of War: Western European Theatre

Son of Charles 1860 and Jane nee Swarbrick. Gson of Sarah 1831 and g-grandson of Joseph 1803 and Mary Ann nee Smith. A true Preston Tearle, mentioned on the headstone in Preston cemetery. Joseph 1737.

Name: James Henry Tearle

Birth Place: Paddington, Middx.
Residence: West Kilburn, Middx.
Death Date: 16 Mar 1917
Death Location: France & Flanders
Enlistment Location: Hammersmith, Middx.
Rank: Rifleman
Regiment: Rifle Brigade (The Prince Consort’s Own)
Battalion: 12th Battalion
Number: S/21464
Type of Casualty: Killed in action
Theatre of War: Western European Theatre

Son of Jonathon 1862 and Alice nee Kearns, his usual name was James Harry Tearle. Gson William 1832 and Catharine nee Fountain, hence a nephew of my g-grandfather James 1827. See also the story of the Willesden cell and Mary nee Andrews elsewhere in this Tearle Stories section. John 1741.

Name: Ronald William Tearle

Birth Place: Luton
Death Date: 4 Oct 1917
Death Location: France & Flanders
Enlistment Location: Luton, Beds
Rank: Gunner
Regiment: Royal Horse Artillery and Royal Field Artillery
Number: 141935
Type of Casualty: Killed in action
Theatre of War: Western European Theatre

Only son of William Underwood T and Mary nee Bird of Luton. Listed on the War Memorial alongside the Luton Town Hall. Grandson of George 1832 and Sophia nee Underwood, a well-known Luton family. Joseph 1737.

Name: Sidney Tearle

Birth Place: Dunstable, Beds
Residence: Rothwell, Northauts
Death Date: 13 Aug 1917
Death Location: Egypt
Enlistment Location: Hinckley
Rank: Private
Regiment: Royal Army Service Corps
Number: S4/090768
Type of Casualty: Died
Theatre of War: Egyptian Theatre

Son of William 1869 and Ellen nee Rollings. Buried in Alexandria. Grandson of George 1797 and Mary nee Hill. John 1741.

Name: Sydney Tearle

Residence: London, N.W.
Death Date: 9 Apr 1917
Death Location: France & Flanders
Enlistment Location: Edinburgh
Rank: A/L/Sergeant
Regiment: Royal Scots (Lothian Regiment)
Battalion: 9th Battalion
Number: 350354
Type of Casualty: Killed in action
Theatre of War: Western European Theatre

Sydney Thomas Tearle 1895 was working for the Caledonian Railways in Edinburgh when he enlisted, hence this odd regiment for a Hammersmith boy. There is a memorial at Glasgow station which bears his name, along with 708 others. Son of Thomas 1858 and Pamela nee Andrews. Grandson of William 1832 and Catharine nee Fountain, hence 1st cousin to James Harry above. John 1741.

01Jan/16

James Tearle 1862, Preston, UK (Welsh Regt)

Here is his service record from the CWGC:

Name: TEARLE Initials: J
Nationality: United Kingdom
Rank: Private
Regiment/Service: Welsh Regiment
Secondary Regiment: Royal Defence Corps
Secondary Unit Text: transf. to (3711)
Age: 36
Date of Death: 16/04/1918
Service No: 20724
Additional information: Husband of Alice Maria Tearle.
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
Grave/Memorial Reference: A2. 12. 16.
Cemetery: WHITCHURCH (ST. MARY) CHURCHYARD, GLAMORGANSHIRE

I had wondered for a very long time who this was, but Lost Generation told me he was James and I had a James 1862 of Preston married to an Alice M… Was the CWGC wrong about his age? Ancestry gave me the medical records for a soldier whose military service began in 1880 and this lead me to be increasingly certain we had this chap already on the Tree. His parents were Thomas 1836 of Leighton Buzzard and Emma nee Ayres who moved up to Preston around the time Thomas’ brother Joseph 1838 of Leighton Buzzard (LB) did, closely followed by their father, Joseph 1803 Tebworth. Young James had brothers George 1868 Preston, and Robert 1871 Preston, both of whom died in 1873. Their father Thomas died in 1871, close to the birth of his youngest son, and their mother Emma died in 1879. In the space of eight years, James had become an orphan, with no family at all that he knew about. At 18yrs he joined the Loyal North Lancashire Regt, renewing several times. I can’t find any record of his serving anywhere overseas except for one year and 196 days on Gibraltar, in 1884. At this time he gave his next of kin as Sarah and Robert Gaunt of Preston. I have looked for a Sarah Tearle in Preston, but I can’t find one, so it is likely they were his foster parents. Around 1891 (I can’t find the marriage certificate) James married Alice Maria Edwards of Sipton, Staffs. In the 1891 census of Burnley, Lancs, they were newly married and living in 28 Aqueduct St, James describing himself as a Herbalist’s Assistant. Between 1892 and 1899 they registered four children in Colne, Lancs; Emmeline 1892, Alice 1894, Reginald 1896 and Minnie Louisa 1898. In the 1901 Colne census we can see James, Alice and their children living in 70 Market St, which is also the business address. James is a Herbalist (Shopkeeper) and the census enumerator categorises him as a SubMed.

James 1862 Preston 3711 and 2763 and 20724 ex-Lancs attestation 1914 in Wales.

James 1862 Preston 3711 and 2763 and 20724 ex-Lancs attestation 1914 in Wales.

WW1 started in June 1914 and James signed his attestation form, for 1 years service, in Cardiff on 16 Nov 1914. He said he was aged 45, but you can see that CWGC has this transfer at age 36. He transferred from the Loyal North Lancashire Regt to No 4 Supernumerary Co, 5th Battn Welch Regt, presumably because he was still a reservist, but now living in Cardiff. I have attached the two documents crucial to establishing who he was and to show his original attestation to the army in 1880 and again in Cardiff in 1914.

James 3711 and 2763 and 20724 army record p1

James 3711 and 2763 and 20724 army record p1

You can see his Loyal North Lancashire number (20724) in the lower document. It’s difficult to read because it’s scribbled out, but subsequent documents clarify it.

St Mary Whitchurch, Cardiff.
Above: St Mary, Whitchurch. On 19 Apr 1916, James transferred to the 24th Protection Coy of the Royal Defence Corps. He was living at 3 Hazelhurst Rd, Llandaff North, West Cardiff.He was described as a Shopkeeper, 5ft 7in tall, blue eyes, fair hair. In a medical report dated 22 Mar 1917, he was said to have been on leave in Preston from Fairweather Hospital, Cardiff when he contracted diarrhoea. He was operated on in Worley Hospital on 26 Feb 1916. He was certified “No longer physically fit for War Service” on 16 Apr 1917, and died on the very same day one year later. He was just 56 years old. Here is a copy of the record the army used to ensure he was correctly awarded the Silver War Badge.

James Tearle WW1 Silver War Badge

James Tearle 1862 Preston CWGC headstone in St Mary Whitchurch, Cardiff.

James Tearle 1862 Preston CWGC headstone in St Mary Whitchurch, Cardiff.

On 17 Apr 1918, his widow was awarded a pension of 15/- a week.

The fact that James was in Preston when he fell ill means to me that he still kept in touch with his family. The trip to Preston from Cardiff is a major undertaking and indicates the depth of the relationship he still enjoyed with his far-off family.

I wonder sometimes if James knew Charles 1894 Preston, above? It’s possible that in being an orphan he didn’t, but they are closely related, and in the same Lancashire regiment. James did receive a medal, but the record is unclear as to which one.

I have no clue as to why James should move all the way from Colne, Lancs to Cardiff, but his wife’s name might be Welsh and perhaps she felt the need to go to her family.

As with all the Preston Tearles, he is on the branch Joseph 1737.

01Jan/16

National Roll of the Great War

National Roll of the Great War
This list of names and accompanying text from National Roll of the Great War was compiled by Barbara Tearle in Nov 2005.
The annotations at the end of each entry were originally written by Ewart F Tearle in Dec 2011. All the entries have now been researched and further documented, and are presented in the order of the list below.

The National Roll of the Great War was a multi-volume work, never completed, which attempted to document soldiers who fought in WW1, including the casualties. Of the 73 Tearle participants in WW1, only 17 have had their stories told in this work. I have transcribed those particular entries and ordered them firstly into nearby addresses, so we can see families and neighbours and I have added biographical details, as I know them, immediately after the entry from National Roll.

Tearle, J H, Rifleman
Rifle Brigade
Joining in 1916, he was drafted to the Western Front on completion of his training.  After taking part in several important battles, he was killed in action on the Somme on March 16th 1917.  He is buried near Guillemont, and was entitled to the General Service and Victory Medals. 45 Letchford Gardens, Willesden, London NW10

James Harry Tearle 1891 of Willesden, service number: s/21464, Rifle Brigade. He married Dorothy Amelia Victoria Browne. One of the Willesden cell, son of Jonathan Tearle of Stanbridge and Alice nee Kearns, grandson of William 1832 of Stanbridge and Catharine nee Fountain. John 1741

Tearle, S T
Private
He joined in November 1917, and in the same year was sent to the Western Front, where he was engaged in conveying food and ammunition to the lines in the Arras, Cambrai, Vimy Ridge and other sectors.  He was demobilised in March 1920, and holds the General Service and Victory Medals. 120 Ashmore Road, Harrow Road, London W9

Sidney Thomas Tearle 1893 of Willesden, service number M/380389 RASC (MT), son of Zephaniah T and Annie nee Buckingham. Married Florence May Fuller. One of the Willesden cell. John 1741 via Mary 1803 and Jane 1844.

Tearle, G
Private
Royal Army Medical Corps
He joined in September 1916, but owing to the loss of an eye before enlistment was unfit for foreign service.  For three years he was engaged at various stations on special duties in connection with the wounded, carrying the injured men from the boats to the hospitals.  He rendered valuable services before being demobilised in September 1919. 77 Carlyle Avenue, Willesden, London NW10

Otho George Tearle 1882 of Willesden, service number 47279, 29th Btn Middlesex Regt and 331034, 335th Lowland Field Ambulance, RAMC, who married Ellen Yule nee Rogers. He seems always to have called himself George. He was at the above address for the birth of two of his children. Son of Jonathon 1862 of Stanbridge and Alice nee Kearns and g-son of William 1832 and Catharine nee Fountain. Another member of the Willesden cell. Brother of James Harry T above. John 1741

Tearle, F J

Private
8th Bedfordshire Regiment
He volunteered in March 1915, and in the same year was sent to France.  During his service on the Western Front he was engaged in the fighting on the Somme, at Arras, Bullecourt and Cambrai, and was wounded on the Somme during the retreat of 1918.  He was demobilised in November 1919, and holds the 1914-15 Star, the General Service and Victory Medals. Tilsworth Road Stanbridge, Bedfordshire

Frederick John Tearle 1884 of Stanbridge, son of John 1862 and Annie nee Walker. Brother of Edgar, above. John 1741.

Tearle, E
Private
7th Bedfordshire Regiment
He volunteered in September 1914 and in the following January proceeded overseas.  He served on the Western Front and fought at Loos and the Somme, where he was wounded.  On recovery he rejoined his Battalion, and was engaged in the fighting at Passchendaele, Cambria and in the Retreat and Advance of 1918.  He was demobilised in March 1919, and holds the 1914-15 Star, and the General Service and Victory Medals. Tilsworth Road, Stanbridge, Bedfordshire.

Edgar Tearle 1891 of Stanbridge, service number 14397, Bedfordshire Regt and 590090, Labour Corps. Son of John 1862 of Stanbridge and Annie nee Walker; grandparents James 1823 and Hannah nee Phillips. John 1741.

Tearle, E G
Private
Labour Corps
He joined in June 1918, and was shortly afterwards sent to France.  Whilst in this theatre of war he was employed on important duties with his Battalion, and was frequently in the forward areas whilst operations were in progress.  He was demobilised in October 1919 and holds the General Service and Victory Medals. 119 St James’ Road, Watford, Hertfordshire.

Edward George Tearle 1898 of Hemel Hempstead. Military serial number 643043, Recruit Distribution Training Reserve. Married Nellie Elizabeth Boultwood. Son of Edward Joseph Tearle 1874 and Jane nee Picton. This is confirmed in his next-of-kin declaration on his army attestation form. G-son of Jabez 1844 and Susannah nee Payne, g-gson of George 1818 (one of the original Watford settlers) and Annie nee Haws. Has a significant family of descendants in Australia. Cannot find him in the WW1 Medals Card Index. Thomas 1737 via Fanny 1780.

Tearle, E J
Sapper
Royal Engineers
He volunteers in June 1915, and was shortly afterwards sent to the Dardanelles.  He was engaged with his unit at the landing at Suvla Bay and was wounded.  On recovery he was drafted to Egypt and served for a time at Ismailia in the Canal zone until May 1916.  He was then sent to the Western Front, and was frequently in the forward areas while operations were in progress in the Somme and other sectors.  He was demobilised in May 1919 and holds the 1914-15 Star, and the General Service and Victory Medals. 119 St James’ Road, Watford, Hertfordshire

Edward Joseph Tearle, 1874 of Watford, service number 101941, Royal Engineers, a skilled mason and son of Jabez 1844 and Susannah nee Payne. He is the FATHER of Edward George T 1898 above. Married Jane Picton.  He was 39 when he attested for the war. A Gallipoli veteran, he also received the Silver War Badge when he was invalided for sickness after his injuries. Thomas 1737 via Fanny 1780.

Tearle, E J
Private
1st Bedfordshire Regiment
He joined in November 1916 and in the following January proceeded overseas.  Whilst on the Western Front he fought in many engagements, including those at Arras, Passchendaele, Ypres, the Somme, and was gassed near Cambrai in 1918.  He was demobilised in November 1919, and holds the General Service and Victory Medals. 22 Chapel Path Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire.

Ernest John Tearle 1898, son of Ellen Tearle 1881 before she married Harry Toms. Military serial number 31747, Beds Regt and 44700, Suffolk Regiment. G-son Jane 1856 and g-gson of John 1823 and Hannah nee Creamer. John 1741.

Tearle, H
Stoker
Royal Navy.
He joined in 1918 and was posted to HMS Emperor of India. During the war his ship was engaged on special work patrolling the North Sea and other waters, and after the Armistice was employed on important duties off Constantinople.  He holds the General Service and Victory Medals and was still serving in 1920. 22 Chapel Path Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire.

Harry Edward Tearle 1900 of Leighton Buzzard, son of Ellen Tearle 1881 before she married Harry Toms. Military serial number SS119522 Navy. Younger brother of Ernest John T, above. As far as I know, neither man married. John 1741 via Ellen 1881.

Tearle, F
Private
RASC
Joining in November 1916, he was drafted shortly afterwards to Ireland.  He served in Dublin and various other places on special transport duties with his unit and did very good work, but was unsuccessful in obtaining his transfer to a theatre of war before the cessation of hostilities, and was demobilised in September 1919. 1 Alfred Street Dunstable, Bedfordshire.

Frank Tearle 1898 of Eaton Bray, son of George 1861 and Sarah Jane nee Horn.  Military serial number M/279390 RASC Motor Transport. G-son George 1831 and Hannah Maria nee Janes. Married Selina Florence Gore. Received the Silver War Badge when invalided out for sickness in 1919. William 1749.

Tearle, J
Corporal
1st Bedfordshire Regiment
He volunteered in September 1914, and was shortly afterwards drafted to France.  During his service in this theatre of war he took part in much fierce fighting, and was killed in action at the Battle of La Bassée on October 10th 1914.  He was entitled to the 1914 Star and the General Service and Victory Medals. 1 Alfred Street, Dunstable, Bedfordshire.

Jeffrey Tearle 1891 of Eaton Bray, elder brother of Frank, above. Military serial number 3/6459, 1st Bedfordshire Rgt. Parents George 1861 of Edlesborough and Sarah Jane nee Horn. Britain declared war on 4 August 1914, Jeffrey joined the army in September and was killed in France on 31 Oct 1914, according to Roll of Honour (CWGC). He must have impressed because even in this short time he had been promoted to corporal. William 1749.

Tearle, H
Driver
Royal Field Artillery
Volunteering in June 1915, he was sent to France in the following November.  Whilst on the Western Front he was in action at Ypres, La Bassée, the Somme and Arras, and was wounded twice.  He was demobilised in October 1919, and holds the 1914-15 Star, and the General Service and Victory Medals.  60 Queen Street Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire

Horace Tearle 1893 of Edlesborough, son of John 1863 of Edlesborough and Ellen nee Dyer. Military serial number 1421 and 890597 Royal Field Artillery. Married Ethel L Larke. G-son George 1831 and Hannah Maria nee Janes. Living in Hemel Hempstead in 1901 census, Herts. William 1749.

Tearle, H C
Private
Royal Fusiliers
He joined in April 1917, and at the conclusion of his training served at various stations on the East Coast on important duties with the 327th Works Company.  He did excellent work, but was unable to secure his transfer to the theatre of war before hostilities ceased, and was demobilised in January 1919. 58 Queen Street Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire.

Henry Charles Tearle 1888 of Edlesborough, brother of Horace above. Military serial number 176875, Royal Fusiliers. Married Elizabeth Winter. William 1749.

Tearle, J
Lance Corporal
6th Bedfordshire Regiment
Volunteering in September 1914, be was sent to France in July 1915.  Whilst on the Western Front he fought at the Battle of the Somme and was wounded on July 1st 1916.  He later returned to the front line trenches and was again wounded at Arras in April 1917.  On recovery he rejoined his Battalion and was wounded a third time in October 1917 near Ypres.  He returned to England in January of the following year and was engaged on Home duties until demobilised in February 1919.  He holds the 1914-15 Star, and the General Service and Victory Medals “South View”, Princess Street, Toddington, Bedfordshire

John Tearle 1896 of Toddington, son of Joseph Marlow Tearle and Emily nee Evans. Military serial number 16521, 7th Beds Regt. As far as I know, he never married. Joseph 1737 via Sarah 1847.

Tearle, W
Private
Machine Gun Corps
He volunteered in January 1915 and in May 1917 was drafted to Egypt.  He served in Palestine, was engaged in the fighting at Gaza, and was present at the Occupation of Jerusalem.  He was transferred to the Western Front in June 1918, and fought at Arras, Ypres and Vimy Ridge.  He was demobilised in February 1919 and holds the General Service and Victory Medals. “South View”, Princess Street, Toddington, Bedfordshire

Willie (William Marlow) Tearle 1893 of Toddington; service number 30602, East Riding Of Yorkshire Yeomanry, 150426, Machine Gun Corps. Son of Joseph Marlow Tearle and Emily nee Evans. Brother of John, above. G-gson of Joseph 1797 and Maria nee Millings. Joseph 1737 via Sarah 1846.

Tearle, W M
Private
2nd Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiments
He joined in April 1916 and 12 months later was sent to France.  During his service in this theatre of war he fought at Ypres, Passchendaele, the Somme, Cambrai and in the Retreat and Advance in 1918.  He holds the General Service and Victory Medals, and in 1920 was serving in India on garrison duties. The Square, Toddington, Bedfordshire.

William Major Tearle 1899 of Toddington, Military serial number 51273 (Beds Regt) and 43998 (Herts Regt) son of Major Tearle 1874 and Elizabeth Ann nee Turvey. Married Grace Nestor Andrews. John 1741 via Sarah 1823.

Tearle, W
Private
West Yorks Regiment He volunteered in September 1914, and proceeded to France early in the next year.  Here he saw much service, fighting in the second Battle of Ypres, and in actions near Albert and Nieuport.  In these engagements he was twice wounded, and again in the first Battle of the Somme.  On recovery from his last wound, he was transferred to the Eastern Front, where he remained until the cessation of hostilities.  Returning  home, he was eventually demobilised in June 1919, and holds the 1914-15 Star, and the General Service and Victory Medals. 1 Elmfield Terrace, Wortley, Leeds, West Yorkshire

Wilfred Tearle 1896 of Bramley, Leeds. Son of William 1859 and Annie Lee Lavers, g-son of George 1825 and Maria nee Franklin. George went to Leeds when others of the family of Joseph 1803 and Mary Ann nee Smith went to Preston. Joseph 1737.

14Apr/15

A Visit to Gallipoli; April, 2015

By Ewart Tearle
8 April 2015

The dual carriageway from Istanbul to Eceabat is long and winding and takes the best part of five hours driving. The countryside is green and pleasant with a patchwork of fenced fields on a wide and gently rolling landscape, sometimes resembling the Waikato, with its grassy green paddocks, and sometimes looking like Hertfordshire where knots of tight forest capped low rises. Small villages of unkempt cottages with broken tiles on the roofs told of rural poverty, little mosques with one dome and a single minaret lent romance to the valleys.

A little village mosque.

A little village mosque.

“We are travelling the coastal highway of the Gallipoli Peninsula in the Province of Canakkale,” said Kubra, our beautiful guide on the minibus to Eceabat, a slim young Turk in a wide-skirted brown trenchcoat that swept to her knees, her hair covered with a silk scarf that framed a face of peaches and cream with dark eyebrows over brown-green eyes. “All of the peninsula falls within the province.”

She looked through the bus window towards the sea thirty or forty metres below. “The houses between us and the sea are holiday homes, that’s why there is no-one in them.” For many miles the two-storied houses, with their tightly shut windows and locked doors, their sun-powered water heaters sticking out of their roofs, stalked up and down the slope to the sea, a few hundred metres away, waiting for the holidays. The rural cottages had no such sophistication. We saw very few people, even in the villages – and no stock of any sort.

In Eceabat, we found TJ’s Tours; it was they whom we had asked to take us to the ANZAC battlefields of the Great War. Genevieve had recommended them.
“Why are you going there?” our English friends had asked us.
“Because we are Kiwis,” we’d say.

When I was a Boy Scout, from about the age of fourteen, every ANZAC Day, on the 25th of April, I had been a member of the guard of honour around the Cenotaph in Rotorua, head bowed in the dark, foggy cold of a 6am start while small, old men honoured their lost friends with wreaths and tears. It was called Dawn Parade. There were soldiers from the Boer War, from the First World War accompanied by a small contingent of nurses who had served on the battlefields with them, and a larger section of men and women in uniforms of soldiers, sailors, air crew and nurses who had served in the Second World War. The deeply sad wail of a single bugle sounding The Last Post hung in the eerie silence while the grief-stricken sobs of women my mother’s age were muffled in the coats of their friends. New Zealand had paid a terrible price to help the British Empire in its hour of need, and the first realisation of how high that price might be was told early in the First World War, in a place called Gallipoli.

I had known the name all my life, but I couldn’t have told you where it was. I knew we’d fought the Turks, but very little else, in the way I knew we’d fought the Boers, and we had died in our hundreds in the trenches of Flanders, but apart from graphic monochrome photographs I had no conception of what and where those things had happened.

Gallipoli is a place apart; it is a finger of land pointing south-west from that small part of Turkey which is in Europe, parallel with the mass of Turkey that is Asian. The deep trench of water between Gallipoli and Anatolia is called the Turkish Straits. It leads from the Aegean Sea, and it is divided into three parts. The first part is called the Dardanelles, that flows into the Marmara Sea, which narrows at Istanbul and becomes the Bosphorus Strait and that in turn widens into the Black Sea. There is a surface current that takes water from the Aegean Sea to the Black Sea, and a deep, cold counter-current that takes water from the Black Sea back to the Aegean.

Gallipoli is a very small piece of land, yet 250,000 Allied forces fought there, along with 280,000 Turkish during a campaign that lasted barely 250 days. The figures are notoriously unreliable, but the maths would indicate that around 2000 men per day were killed or wounded, along a three-part front line that stretched for less than fifteen miles. At times the Turkish front line was only eight metres from the Allies.
We New Zealanders were the British, too, in those days. When I was at school, we learnt English history and British geography. We could see on wall maps of the world the scale of the empire of which we were a part. All that area coloured in red was British and that included us; our grandparents had come from Britain, and the New Zealand and Australian soldiers who signed up in WW1 and WW2 did so for the honour of defending our Homeland. When Britain joined the EU, they cut themselves off from us and put up trade barriers. We had to find our own markets, make our own way in the world and decide who we were, and what was most important to us. The Australians and the British troops, in two World Wars, had called us Kiwis, because of the Kiwi boot polish all New Zealand soldiers were issued. It was a term of friendship, of comradery, and gradually we adopted it over perhaps other choices. It helped that our national bird is also a kiwi.

Our Tour of the ANZAC Sites.
There are five cemeteries of particular interest to the New Zealand visitor to Gallipoli; Chunuk Bair, Ari Burnu, Lone Pine, Hill 60 and Twelve Tree Copse, of which Chunuk Bair is the most important, and there are other places where New Zealanders are buried or memorialised. But before you can go to Chunuk Bair you must pass through ANZAC Cove, as more than 8500 New Zealand troops had to do before you. To start with, the beach is tiny, much smaller than the beach you see in the photos of the 3,100 New Zealanders who landed there on the first day, because the current is removing the beach, pebble by pebble.

ANZAC Cove and North Beach.

ANZAC Cove and North Beach.

There is a little promontory, called Ari Burnu, a short curve of beach, then a short straight before the view widens out onto North Beach and you can see up to The Sphinx, a tall overhang of sandstone that towers above the beach. If you were an ANZAC soldier, at this moment you would be exposed to the full force of Turkish fire over a wide hillside that towered above you. The ANZACs hid behind a low sandstone cliff on a narrow, pebbly beach wondering what on earth had hit them.

The Sphinx from North Beach.

The Sphinx from North Beach.

The objective of the first day of the Gallipoli landings was Chunuk Bair. The ANZACs finally captured it in the last few weeks of the campaign, and held it for just three days. It was the only objective of the entire campaign that was attained. When Mustafa Kemal took it back with a huge force, that was the end of the Gallipoli Campaign. The entire force of Allied soldiers had moved barely six kilometres inland.

Elaine and I walked the short distance along ANZAC Cove, the sea licking at our feet. We each picked up a pebble, a little limestone memento before the sea swept it away, and headed back to the assembly point for the ANZAC Day commemoration, a grassy area surrounded by red tiered seating that looked out over the Dardanelles from whence had come the British sea-borne landing for Turkey, one hundred years ago.

“In a few days time, on the morning of the 25th of April,” said Aykut, our Gallipoli guide, “10,500 people will be here to commemorate the ANZAC landing.” He was a stocky Turkish man with intense black eyes, a ready smile, impeccable English and an encyclopedic knowledge of the Gallipoli Campaign. He stood before us in a red jacket, blue jeans and a brown leather hat with a wide brim. He waved his arms over the sea of red seats and the grass at our feet. “You will not find a square foot to stand on if you do not have a ticket. Don’t worry about the seats, this grass beneath our feet will be fully occupied, too. Then, when the first ceremony is over, everyone will join with the Australians at the Lone Pine Cemetery, and when that is over, everyone goes on to join the Kiwis at Chunuk Bair.”

ANZAC Cove is now its official name.

ANZAC Cove is now its official name.

He looked at a new stone structure barely high enough to serve as a seat, with the word ANZAC written in bold bronze capitals. “In 1985, the Turkish government renamed this beach to its wartime name of ANZAC Cove because the Australian and New Zealand governments asked us, and because there is now an Ataturk Park in Melbourne, a plaque in Albany, a plaque in Canberra and the Ataturk Memorial in Wellington. We, too, call this day ANZAC Day. Gallipoli was as nation-building for us as it was for you.”

We visited the Ari Burnu Cemetery, just a few metres away. I looked closely at the British-designed sandstone monument beyond the lines of headstones for the first time. It had a wide base and a tall centre decorated with a cross. In the lowest portion of the monument were carved the words “THEIR NAMES LIVETH FOR EVER MORE”.

Ari Burnu Cemetery

Ari Burnu Cemetery

Many of the headstones here recorded the deaths of these young men on the first two days of the landing. There were men from the Wellington Regiment, the Otago Regiment, the NZ Mounted Rifles and the NZ Medical Corps. The Australians mostly came from the 2nd and 8th Australian Light Horse. The plaque explaining the cemetery noted that the lines drawn up on the first day of the landings were largely unchanged until the end of the campaign, and that 2000 men died on the first day. The Waikato Times of 22 April 2015 noted that of that number, 200 were from the Waikato, Waitomo and King Country.

Close to ANZAC Cove was a sandstone monument with raised lettering containing some thoughts written in 1934 from the victorious general, who had become president of Turkey. His name was Mustafa Kemal Ataturk; he was called “the father of Turkey,” hence his name, Ataturk.

He began:
“THOSE HEROES THAT SHED THEIR BLOOD AND LOST THEIR LIVES….
YOU ARE NOW LYING IN THE SOIL OF A FRIENDLY COUNTRY.”
These extraordinary words took my breath away. Whoever heard such sentiments from the leader of a country towards those who had attacked him?

Ataturk's message at ANZAC Cove.

Ataturk’s message at ANZAC Cove.

I wanted to find out if Turks really did feel friendly towards New Zealanders. I had my South African stockman’s hat on and it looked remarkably like a New Zealand soldier’s hat from WW1. The Australian hat was turned up on the left side, so they were easy to distinguish from the Kiwis. If the Turks were actually hostile towards the Kiwis, rather than friendly as Ataturk had declared, then I would soon know, and I would have to stop wearing my hat.

TJ’s bus took us to Lone Pine Cemetery. The shocking thing about the Gallipoli Campaign was how few soldiers were found in order to bury them. Only a hundred or so have marked graves at Lone Pine Cemetery, and a few have “Believed to be buried here” headstones. The rest of their names, 4,222 Australians and 709 New Zealanders, are on wall plaques, some cut stone, and some engraved brass. Plaque after plaque of closely-packed names, usually organised by regiment, battalion and rank. A lone pine does exist; a plaque reminded us the existing pine was grown from a seed of the original. The monument has a remembrance book which we signed “To our Australian cousins, because we promised never to forget.”

Lone Pine Cemetery.

Lone Pine Cemetery.

The next stop was Chunuk Bair. Only a few bodies were found, and we counted just ten headstones, all New Zealanders.

The ten NZ graves on Chanuk Bair.

The ten NZ graves on Chunuk Bair.

There were again the serried ranks of names on plaques, of men who served in the Auckland Regiment and the Wellington, Christchurch and Otago Regiments, as well as some who served with the NZ Navy and the Medical Corps and the Wellington Mounted Rifles.

Wellington Mounted Rifles names on Chunuk Bair

Wellington Mounted Rifles names on Chunuk Bair.

This photograph came from Elaine’s collection of photographs and includes the name Lance Corporal L M Natzke.

A huge bronze of Ataturk with a tall flagpole towered over the NZ memorial, one arm across his chest holding his binoculars, and the other holding a swagger stick behind his back, as befits the victor.

Ataturk guards Chanuk Bair.

Ataturk guards Chunuk Bair.

Recently recut trenches traced the lines down which Turkish forces and their supplies moved.

The trenches on Chanuk Bair.

The trenches on Chunuk Bair.

In a large clearing on the hilltop, four huge curved stones told the story of the Turks of Chunuk Bair on significant days in their desperate struggle to keep their country.

The ANZAC assault of 6 August is repulsed.

The ANZAC assault of 6 August is repulsed.

The plaque with the translation of 6 Aug 1915 assault.

The plaque with the translation of the 6 Aug 1915 assault.

One look over the brow of the hill to the land below was enough to show even the casual onlooker of the huge advantage the occupation of the top of the hill had for those who could keep it. Stripped of its vegetation, the view down the hill to those trying to climb it was panoramic and clear. No-one could move without the lookout seeing it, and the field of fire was almost total. For that reason, many of the most important troop movements in the campaign had to be completed during the night, with understandable confusion over battle orders, due to units becoming lost in the darkness.

The view from Chunuk Bair.

The view from Chunuk Bair.

Hill 60 Monument.

Hill 60 Monument.

We moved on to the Hill 60 Cemetery. The bus pulled over on a straight stretch of road and the driver pointed to a dirt track just wide enough for an SUV, but not for a bus. The sign on the side of the road pointed the way to Hill 60, almost directly in line with Chunuk Bair high on the horizon. To its left as we viewed it, and 20m higher, was the rounded dome of Hill 971.
The cemetery marked the last major assault of the Gallipoli Campaign. In eight days 788 Allied soldiers were killed, for no real gain. Of those soldiers, 182 New Zealanders have no known grave.

We walked up the track. Hidden behind the bushes that overhung the track was the now familiar form of a British memorial, enclosed in a field barely a third of an acre in size. We were looking specifically for a Richard Roland Jones, whom Dos Mark of Otorohanga had asked us to find. Elaine had found him listed  with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and finally here we were. None of the surprisingly few headstones mentioned him. Elaine said that Dos’ grandmother’s brother was never found; he probably did not have a headstone. She found his name on the memorial itself in the Auckland Mounted Rifles: Trooper Jones R. R.

Jones RR, the last name on the Auckland Mounted Rifles Hill 60 Memorial.

Jones R. R. the last name on the Auckland Mounted Rifles Hill 60 Memorial.

Jones R. R. closeup.

Our last visit to the ANZAC sites was to Twelve Tree Copse, where 179 New Zealanders are recorded. They were killed in the Second Battle of Krithia and on the Helles front during May and July 1915 and “whose graves are known only to God.” No-one else was visiting the site, and Elaine and I photographed some New Zealand and Australian headstones. The writing on the now familiarly shaped memorial was fiendishly difficult to read in the available light.

The memorial at Twelve Tree Copse.

The memorial at Twelve Tree Copse.

John Henry Tearle – The Hertfordshire Soldier

“Do you know anyone who was killed at Gallipoli?” our friends would also ask. Indeed I did, and he was the main reason I wanted to go to Gallipoli. His name was John Henry Tearle, from Hertford, a lance sergeant in the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. His name was on the Helles Memorial because he was fighting in a British Regiment. It may seem odd these days, but before 1922, all service in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland was called Home service and did not count for service medals or pension. John Henry was not fighting for or even with the Irish; he was fighting with the British. The Inniskilling Fusiliers were recruiting in Hertfordshire, so he joined them. The irony was that because he did not join the Hertfordshire Regiment, his name is not remembered anywhere in Hertfordshire as a Great War soldier and casualty.

Port Hill Bengeo - last terrace on right, now part of number 69.

Port Hill Bengeo – last terrace on right, now part of number 69.

Elaine and I had visited John Henry’s home in Bengeo, a short climb up a steep hill that looks down on the A414 as the highway snakes its way through the heart of Hertford. The house was an end terrace with a door and an upstairs window. It probably had no toilet and no running water. John Henry, his sisters Florence and Jane, and his grandmother Harriet Tearle from Soulbury, in Buckinghamshire, were so poor, they had spent time in the Hatfield Union Workhouse, as late as 1896. I think he thought that working in the army would at least give him a paying job. He was reasonably successful, too; lance sergeant was a good few steps up the ranks. Notice of his death on Gallipoli at only twenty-eight years old, was given to his mother, still resident in the terrace house pictured above. Large numbers of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers had died with him.

The Helles Memorial.

The Helles Memorial.

We arrived at the Helles Memorial, which was a beautifully built sandstone obelisk towering over the landscape and giving a view over the Dardanelles. On the map we had, it was called the Ingiliz Helles Aniti. A sign said that this memorial has the names of 25,000 servicemen who died in the Gallipoli Campaign. We three were the only people visiting it. After the busy scenes at the other memorials, it was a shock to realise that no-one seemed to know that so many young British soldiers had given their lives, and they had been forgotten. We were pleased we had come.

I gave Aykut the envelope containing everything I knew about John Henry – the photos of his house, his short military record, the file from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, the plan drawing of the memorial – and he studied them all closely. He went off towards the near wall of the monument and stopped at the far end. He looked towards me and said nothing. He had found John Henry. He moved off when I arrived and I stood, head bowed for a short while, and paid my respects.
“He died on 29 June 1915,” said Aykut, when I joined him. “He would have been fighting in the Battle of Gully Ravine. It was very hot. It always is in June. The battle was on 24-28 June, so he would have died of his wounds.”

John Henry Tearle on Helles Memorial.

John Henry Tearle on Helles Memorial.

“If he died of his wounds,” I queried, “wouldn’t he have been buried? He is on this monument because he could not be found and buried.”

“He only had to be in a field hospital a few hundred metres from the front and if there was a delay of just a day or so to get his body to a more rearward position, then he would have been left behind, and he would never have been found and identified.” He paused. “So his name is on the memorial. Most of the men killed on Gallipoli, Allied and Turk, are still lying in this earth, unknown and unidentifiable.”

The Turkish Heroes
In order to inspire their troops, a nation needs heroes; ordinary men who did an extraordinary thing. There are two who stand out above all else. One is recounted by General Casey, who became Lord Casey, Governor General of Australia. An English officer lay wounded in the no-man’s land between the Turkish and British front lines. The fighting was fierce, and no-one dared to leave their trench to rescue the officer. From the trench in front of them, someone waved a white flag and after a moment, a Turkish soldier stood up, climbed out of his trench and walked towards the English officer. He calmly picked him up, and to the astonishment of all, he carried him to the British trench and handed him down to the waiting men. The soldier walked back to his own trench and jumped in. There is a huge statue near ANZAC Cove of a Turkish soldier carrying an English officer. The soldier’s name was Mahmetcige Saygi. For such gallantry on the battlefield, may his name live forever.

Mahmetcige Saygi and the English officer

Mahmetcige Saygi and the English officer

The second ordinary man was a gunner in one of the 12 forts the Turks built to guard the Dardanelles. His huge nine-inch gun had been firing at British warships all morning, and it was struck by a shell from the naval bombardment, destroying the crane that carried live shells up to the gun’s breach. Corporal Seyit Onbasi carried three 275kg shells up the ladder to the gun. “One of those shells hit the rudder of the battleship OCEAN,” said Aykut, “and she drifted onto the mines guarding the shore, destroying her.”
“Two hundred and seventy-five kilograms!” I exclaimed. “That’s an enormous weight.”
“All done on pure adrenalin,” said Aykut calmly.

Cpl Seyit Onbasi carries the shell to his gun.

Cpl Seyit Onbasi carries the shell to his gun.

The Turkish Memorials.
A three-times lifesize bronze of a Turkish soldier with a bayonet attached to his rifle guards the carpark and market of the cemetery for the 57th Infantry Regiment.

A soldier of the 57th Infantry.

A soldier of the 57th Infantry.

It is famed nationally for two reasons; this was Ataturk’s regiment, and it won the Gallipoli Campaign, having fought on the peninsular for the full length of the war.

The plaque detailing the acts of the 57th Infantry.

The plaque detailing the acts of the 57th Infantry.

The headstones lie in ordered ranks along the hillside, but Aykut warned me that they marked no grave.

A headstone for a soldier of the 57th Infantry.

A headstone for a soldier of the 57th Infantry.

“All those who were recovered are buried in a mass grave to the right of the memorial,” he told me.

“A mass grave,” I repeated slowly. “The dead soldiers were each rolled into a shroud and lowered into a pit, side by side.”
Aykut nodded.

“And then earth was spread on them and another layer was added?”
He turned sadly away. “The names of those in the mass grave are written on stainless steel pillars lying on the ground at the bottom of those steps.”
He indicated a set of honey-toned sandstone steps behind me. I turned and followed them, busy with visitors, down to see the names. I stood shocked at the scale of the disaster.

Turkish names at the Memorial of the 57th Infantry.

Turkish names at the Memorial of the 57th Infantry.

On the way back I met an old man working his way slowly down the steps and I wordlessly took his elbow to ensure he didn’t fall. He stood and looked at the silent memory of so much death and breathed a deep sigh. As I helped him back up the steps he said, “Where do you come from?”

I said “New Zealand,” but it meant nothing to him. “Kiwi,” I tried.

He broke into a smile, “Ah! Thank you! Thank you!” He shook my hand, and a younger man took over and led him gently towards the steps leading to the memorial, where hundreds of people were viewing the magnificent spectacle and quietly checking the names on the headstones.

DSC_3598 Gateway to Kesikdere Sehitligi

Gateway to Kesikdere Sehitligi – the memorial to the 57th Infantry Regiment.

I was browsing the market in the car park when a young woman in a formal black suit stopped beside me and asked me where I came from. She said she was from Turkish Television, and at the foot of the Turkish soldier, she and her cameraman interviewed me on why I was in Canakkale. I don’t know if it was ever aired.

The second great memorial is in Helles, not far from and in plain view of the English memorial where we had found John Henry’s name. It is more than 41m tall and it is called the Canakkale Sehitler Abidesi. It is the national symbol for the Gallipoli Campaign, in the same way that Chunuk Bair is for us. From the bus park we walked past a plaque with Ataturk’s 1934 message to all those who had died, slightly different in wording from that at ANZAC Cove, but obviously a translation of the same document. For the next hundred metres of the walk through tall pine trees, there were row upon row of glass pillars with perhaps a hundred names engraved on each of them. “64,000 Turkish soldiers are listed here,” said Aykut.

64,000 names of the Turkish National Monument to the Canakkale Campaign.

64,000 names of the Turkish National Monument to the Canakkale Campaign.

We walked towards the impressive monument, and noting that no-one was walking on the grass towards it, we followed the track beside the trees that showed the way.

 

Turkish National Monument to the Battle of Canakkale.

Turkish National Monument to the Battle of Canakkale.

As I arrived close to the monument, at the top of a few stairs were four men who looked long and hard at me. I stopped and lowered my camera, in case they thought I was photographing them.

“Where are you from?” asked a man wearing a cloth cap, who stood in the middle of the group. All of them were much shorter than me, and had thick, heavy overcoats and grey moustaches. “New Zealand,” I offered tentatively.

“New Zealand!” shouted one of the group. He turned excitedly to the others, who had gathered around him. “Kiwi!,” he shouted. They all turned round, ran the few paces to me and surrounded me. The short man pushed his camera into my hand. “Photo,” he said. I sat my camera down on the grass nearby, took the man’s camera and photographed the men standing proudly in front of their national monument. The short man came back to me, “Photo,” he cried. They stood either side of me and put their arms over my shoulders. The fourth man took a photo. They changed places and took another photo, then another, and another, to ensure each man was in a photograph with the Kiwi. It was a wonderful experience. I picked up my camera and shook hands with each man in turn, grateful to be accepted, as Ataturk had intended that I should be. I had learnt a great deal about the Turks.

I continued towards the monument, trying to fit its massive size into a single picture. I saw a bas-relief of Corporal Seyit Onbasi again, photographed it and then walked up a few steps into the bulk of the building. Three young Turkish lads crowded around me.

“Where are you from?” The tallest of the three, perhaps as young as 17 years, with a sallow complexion and close-cropped hair, looked at me intently.
“Kiwi,” I said, missing out the formality of country.
“Kiwi!” They yelled in unison. They sat on the steps in front of me. “My name is Kagan,” said the tall one, solemnly. I wrote the word in my diary. “Nice name,” I said. “I’d like a name like that; it has a ring about it.”
“This is Emir,” he said with a smile, waving his hand to his left where sat a younger boy with long dark hair. “And this is Utku,” he said motioning to the young Turk in a brown sweatshirt on his right. I checked the spellings with each of them, wondering why they wanted to introduce themselves. The crowd of visitors swirled around us noisily. “Why are you here?” he asked.
I pointed in the direction of the Helles Memorial for the English, “I have visited a member of my family whose name is on that memorial.” I paused. “Why are you here?”
“Because it will be the 25th of April.”
“And you call it ANZAC Day. So do we.” If he was worried about the differences between us, they vanished.
“Selfie, selfie,” said Kagan, standing tall and beaming broadly. He produced his smartphone and took a quick snap of himself with me. “Me too, me too,” cried the others and they crowded even closer.
“Can I use your hat?” Kagan asked. I gave it to him and he gleefully pressed it down onto his head. I thought, what have I done? Is that the last I have seen of my hat? He lifted the smartphone again and dropped his arm around my right shoulder. I could hardly move. He was pressed against the stone pillar and I was pressed against him by Utku; his arm was draped over my left shoulder.
“Me too, me too!” Emir’s long black hair pushed under my arm, between my chest and Kagan, his dark brown eyes shining with excitement as he looked up to make sure he was in the shot.
“And me, and me!” A pretty blonde girl whom I had not noticed at all, with a swirl of green something – a jersey or a blouse or a skirt – flung herself onto the step in front of me and knelt down to see herself in the smartphone. Kagan took the selfie two, perhaps three times, to the delight and high amusement of everyone in the vicinity. They all stood up. Kagan took off my hat and gave it to me. I dropped it on my head. He was laughing and crying and showing the picture he had taken to anyone who wanted to see it. He turned back to me, stopped smiling, and held out his hand. “Thank you, thank you,” he said solemnly. He shook my hand with both of his and then each member of the group did the same, including the girl in green. I was very, very impressed with the Turks.

Some Explanations
The Turks do not refer to Gallipoli, the word is an anglicisation of Gelibolu, the Turkish name for this peninsula, so the word means nothing to them; they refer to this battle as the Canakkale Campaign, or the Battle of Canakkale. The word is pronounced Chen-ark-alay, with the stress on the middle syllable. The name is everywhere, and Aykut pointed out that Chunuk Bair (bair is a hill) is actually a corruption of Canakkale, and should say Canakkale Bair; the hill from which you can see Canakkale. The town itself is on the other side of the Dardanelles, directly opposite Eceabat.

Lifesize tableau of life in the trenches - found in Eceabat.

Lifesize tableau of life in the trenches – found in Eceabat.

While we were in Eceabat, and again while staying in Istanbul, we saw an incredible number of ships passing by or at anchor, and being joined by more with every passing hour. Many of these ships would put WW1 battleships into frigate size in comparison, but every now and again we would see a ship so large it dwarfed everything in sight. Even then, this gargantuan vessel was still travelling in excess of twenty knots.  When you see this volume and majesty of shipping in the Dardanelles, and in the Marmara Sea, waiting their turn to proceed, then you appreciate what the Turks were fighting for.

When we visited Chunuk Bair, I was late for the bus and Cemal came looking for me. She was perhaps twenty-five years old, quite tall, with long dark hair framing a serenely beautiful face highlighted by deep, dark eyes in a honey complexion. She had a red leather jacket over a blue jersey and shiny new Spanish ankle-boots. She had joined us from Eceabat and she had told us on the bus that she was attending two universities, one to study public relations and the other to study Turkish. She wanted money to pay for her tuition, and she wanted to improve her English, so now she was also a trainee guide, learning her country’s history at the same time. It was clear to her I was not heading for the bus.

“Where are you going?” She asked. I pointed through the trees to the huge Turkish stones with the stories on them and we threaded our way through and over the trenches that had been cut into this hilltop by an earlier generation of young men of about Cemal’s age.

“There is a big worry in our country that the government is removing all the changes that Ataturk made for us,” she said. “This is a country where everyone is a citizen and there is no special treatment for any religion.” I recognized the definition of secular. “But the government is passing laws to change that. Ataturk would not have liked it.” She paused as we were about to jump a trench. “I have a tattoo.”
I stopped my headlong flight to the stones. “A what?”

Elif's tatoo

Cemal’s tatoo

She rolled up the sleeve on her right arm. “It is Ataturk’s signing. He is my hero.” On the clear white skin of her forearm was indeed Ataturk’s signature. “Everyone who wants Turkey to be governed as a modern state has a copy of this somewhere so people can see.”
“A tattoo?”

“No, the writing might be on their car, or on their house. We love our country; many, many young men died for it and they died for Ataturk. We want our country to go forward as Ataturk wanted it to.”

Her earnest vision was clear and beautifully expressed. Elaine and I had received nothing but good will from all the Turks we had met. I hope that in a troubled world, she, and her country, manage to negotiate the churning seas that lap at its shores.

Update

The New Zealand Herald of 14 April 2015 reported that Wellington and Canakkale had signed a sister city relationship. The Turkish ambassador to New Zealand, Mr Damla Yesim Say noted:
“All the fallen in Gallipoli are our grandfathers, and we are proof for posterity that people who once fought as enemies can proudly stand shoulder to shoulder today in remembrance of their grandfathers’ sacrifice, and in celebration of their friendship.”

Some figures

Elaine and I are from the Waikato and the Bay of Plenty respectively. From the towns and villages with which we are most familiar, here are some figures of the fatalities of World War 1, printed in the Waikato Times of 22 April 2015:

Hamilton 222
Morrinsville 10
Otorohanga 58
Paeroa 3
Piopio 19
Te Kuiti 30
Waitomo 1

“A few over 100,000 New Zealanders sailed to join the First World War. Of those 18,000 were killed and 40,000 were wounded.”

In 1914, the total population of New Zealand was 1.1 million.

Post Script

Elaine and I stayed in Istanbul for more than a week and visited the ANZAC sites of Gallipoli during April 2015, the centenary of the ANZAC landings, to discover the relationship we had with the momentous events of the Gallipoli Campaign. We found family members who had died there, and we found men from other families whom we hadn’t expected to come across.

What we never anticipated was the unabashed friendship that was extended to us when ordinary Turkish people met us and realised we were Kiwis. I told three stories above that illustrate this, but there were many, many others.

Our stay in Turkey was a revelation, and my one of my objectives in publishing this story is to express our deep gratitude to TJ’s Tours of Eceabat and his staff who worked tirelessly to ensure we were given every opportunity to explore Gallipoli to the fullest extent possible in the time we had.

29Mar/15

Who on Earth was Montague Tearle?

By Ewart Tearle

Mar 2015

For a very long time, only two sets of records existed for Montague Tearle; his marriage in the third quarter of 1915 to Lilian A Boulter in Derby, and his death in 1939, aged 63, somewhere in Hackney, London. There was no record of a birth certificate. The second set was from Chelsea Hospital, and consisted of his military and health records.

He enlisted for the army on 10 Oct 1915. The recruiting officer wrote his name as Montague Tearle, but his signature was Monty Tearle. He was given the military number 5006 and on attestation day he was put in the 19th (County of London) Battalion, The London Regiment, headquartered in Camden Town. Monty’s home address was 10 Nelson Street, Derby.

Montague Tearle attestation for Territorial Force

Montague Tearle attestation for Territorial Force

The second page of Montague’s army record was his Medical Inspection Report, which was conducted on 23 Oct 1915. He was 38yrs 6mth old, 5ft 10.5in tall with a 37in girth he could expand and contract by 2in. His vision in both eyes was 6/6, and his physical development was good. He was pronounced fit for service, subject to some dental treatment.

The third page recorded his acceptance of the service obligation – to serve anywhere he was posted and in whatever corps he may find himself at any time, subject to a condition placed on the army itself not to post him on any transfer where he would suffer a loss in pay. He duly signed that one.

The fourth and fifth pages are a double page of the same book – his service. It only has a few lines. He was “embodied” in the army as a Private (their capitals) from 13 Oct 1915 to 26 Apr 1916, a total of 197 days. A sad note on the left-hand page says, “…. Kings Regs; Not likely to become an efficient soldier on Medical Grounds” again, their capitals. Dated 24 April 1916. His record was “Home” meaning anywhere in Britan, including Ireland, 13/10/15 to 24/4/16. So he had no claim to any service medals, and no claim to pension. His next of kin was “Brother – Walter Tearle, 16 Churchill Rd, Birmingham.”

Montague leaves the army

Montague leaves the army

However, Montague did claim for pension: The next document from Chelsea Hospital was dated 29 June 1916 with a determination made on 15 July 1916 – Montague Tearle 5006, with regard to claim for pension: Rejected. What was he thinking of? All claims to pension were based on the number of days a soldier was in the army, so long as he had a posting abroad. Montague would have known that – he was trying it on.

He had another go in 1929 – the last two documents are from Chelsea Hospital and they record a request for information from the Kent County Police on 1 Sep 1929 to the London Infantry Record Office stating that Montague Tearle was under the care of the doctor in charge, British Legion Village, Preston Hall, Aylesford. “Some doubt exists as to the genuineness of this case, and I shall be glad if you would furnish me the particulars of … his service, and his description.” On 6 Sep 1929, the Chelsea Hospital received the form requesting the discharge documents “for the purpose of being annexed to his later Discharge to pension.” It would appear he was again claiming his pension, hoping that time had dulled the bureaucrats, or he was trying to stay in a soldier’s care home to which he only had access if he was on pension.

At first appearance, Montague’s request to join the army seems to be for the best of motives – he was 38yrs old and he was going to fight for his country. But in the light of his later activities this impulse looks a little less than the self-sacrifice he intended it to appear. He gets free dental treatment on the army and for 197 days he was quartered for free, as well actually being paid.

He does not appear (and neither does Walter Tearle) in any census from 1880 to 1911. There is no birth record for a Montague Tearle and all the Walter Tearles (nine of them) are accounted for in other families.

Ten years after Montague and his very reticent (not to mention almost invisible) brother came to light, Barbara Tearle of Oxford unearthed some newspaper clippings that recorded some of Montague’s activities. They are not pretty.

Bath Chronicle Thu 30 May 1907

Cyril Dudley Vincent, a music hall artist, was in the Bath City Police Court for having produced documents to back up a claim of having money, and asking for a loan on the strength of the documents. He raised the loan, but couldn’t pay the lender, hence he landed in court on charges of false pretences. The name on the letter was Montague Tearle, who said Cyril was a property-owning gentleman. It turns out that Cyril in the dock, and Montague on the documents, were the same man.

Montague never has any money, but he lives the life of a gentleman of quality. He uses the conventions of the gentleman to con the unwary and the trusting. We can see, above, that Montague joined the army in 1915; in the light of just this one conviction, it would not appear that the army was too concerned about the moral or criminal behaviour of its recruits for the Great War.

Morpeth Herald and Reporter Fri 26 Jan 1917

The Theatre Royal in Blyth, Northumberland, was opened in 1900. It was a well-known and well-respected local institution by 1917, when Montague Tearle became its manager. This report in the Morpeth Herald, which often had articles on Blyth, centres on Mr Tearle’s capacity as a very popular man who raised the considerable sum of £10 3s 6d for a local military charity. Mr Tearle, it was noted, was the son of a most famous Shakespearian actor, Edmund Tearle, who had played to Blyth audiences in this very theatre. Mr Tearle’s role as an ex-soldier in the Pals Battalion of the London Regiment was noted by the gold braid badge of honour on his sleeve and the stories of his exploits since 1914 in the Great War, where he had fought in the Battle of Loos in France, been injured and gassed and finally passed out of the army due to ill health. Sadly he was leaving the Blyth Theatre for the Raynor’s Repertoire Company as General Manager. He was later presented with a handsome silver Treasury note-case by a group of military officers.

It is quite likely that none of this is true; Montague was probably not the manager of the Blyth Theatre Royal, and the paper has not checked his assertion. He has raised £10 3s 6d and equally probably kept it all. He is not the son of Edmund Tearle of Leighton Buzzard, who was indeed a famous actor/manager but he is very keen to trade on Edmund’s name. Within nine months of leaving the army, he has literally embroidered his jacket cuff to embellish his story as a Great War veteran. As we know, he was never in France, never gassed, but he was invalided out of the army – one tiny fact to ground all the war stories he is happy to relate. He is leaving Blyth in a hurry, and stole a silver Treasury note-case on his way out. If we take another look at the 1907 court case, there are some similarities, which show a pattern in his behaviour – he is always in theatre, sometimes a manager, an actor, or an agent. This is why he has adopted the name Tearle: his contemporaries are George “Osmund” Tearle the actor/manager, Osmund Tearle (son of George) the actor manager, Edmund Tearle the actor/manager and possibly by now some whispering of the genius of Godfrey Tearle (born 1884) also making his way towards theatrical fame. The name is beginning to have some credibility.

Bucks Herald 15 Oct 1921

Montague Tearle, aged 46, of Leicester, a theatrical agent, was in the dock at the Bucks Assizes, charged with the theft of 8 Treasury notes valued at £5 10s, a 10s Treasury note and 7s 6d from various people overnighting in the Railway Hotel, Linslade. He was found guilty because everyone who had been stolen from had wax droplets in their room, and Montague was the only person who had a candle. The judge noted that between 1892 and 1905, Montague had been convicted in various courts no less than 15 times. Since 1905, he had been imprisoned for two terms of five years and there were other terms of imprisonment with hard labour. The prisoner wanted another chance, saying that his offending was due to the difficulty of finding work, and that he was very sick, spitting blood, and wanting to get back to Leicester. The prison governor said his sickness was due to refusing to eat while he was in prison since 31 August, awaiting trial. The judge sentenced Montague to twelve months in prison. This story was gleefully retold by The Northampton Mercury on Friday 21 October under the headline TRACED BY CANDLE GREASE.

Montague has even gone to Leighton Buzzard, the home of Edmund Tearle. What did they think there of a man claiming to be Edmund Tearle’s son, but speaks with a Yorkshire accent? Has he borrowed someone else’s accent as well while he is in Bedfordshire? The story above would be amusing if it wasn’t at the same time quite tragic. Montague’s life is a mess; look at the sorry list of convictions the judge above has noted, and the two terms of five years in gaol. He is 46 years old, and he has spent no less than 10yrs in prison. If he is spitting blood, does he also have TB?

The Herald 29 Mar 1924

The Leicester newspaper reported that Montague Tearle had appeared on bail in the Tamworth Borough Petty Sessions charged with arrears on an affiliation order. The arrears went as far back as 1918 and amounted to £60. Montague argued he had been very sick in hospital and in a sanatorium. He had found it difficult securing work due to his illness, but he thought he had a promise of work, and as soon as the doctor would allow him back to work, he would be able to pay the arrears at the rate of 10s per week. The mayor said the magistrates would give Montague the chance to repay at the stated amount.

Leicester is where Montague has housed his wife – his very long-suffering wife, Lillian – and Montague is pointing to ill health as a reason for his misfortune. It is relatively true – surely you can’t blag your way out of a war-time army by feigning sickness. And it may also be true that sickness has largely prevented him from keeping a job, but perhaps also there is a moral sickness, and he just cannot help himself from seeking the rush of pleasure he must have felt when he successfully talked someone out of their money.

Lincolnshire Echo Fri 20 Nov 1925:

Charged in the Ilkeston Police Court on false pretences. He had told the court he was a theatrical agent and was in Ilkeston on the chance of getting a job at the local theatre. He was remanded for a week.

There is no later edition to say what happened next – and whether he was convicted – but there are worrying similarities to other appearances in court: false pretences, theatrical agent, looking for work …

Pat Field of the Yahoo Tearle Group, noticed that Lillian A Boulter was listed twice in the marriages index, once with Montague Tearle and again with a William Woollen. Also, if William Woollen’s marriage listing in the index was examined closely, William Woollen also married a Lillian A Boulter on the same day, in the same place – Derby. She also noticed that Montague Tearle and William Woollen had the same date of death, and the same address; furthermore, they were on the same page of the index:

Montague’s marriage was in the Oct-Nov-Dec quarter of 1915 – around the same time he joined the army, and of course his address is Derby; that is where he was so recently married. Is it significant? Did Lillian have some savings? Or did he want the respectability of being a married man?

The story of the censuses

In order to uncover the story of a person between 1841 and 1911, the censuses are a reliable and necessary resource. In this case, they provided conclusive evidence of Montague’s identity.

1881

Since Montague was born in 1874/5 he should have been in the 1881 census, and since he had mentioned a brother, Walter, then there should be a family containing a Montague and his brother Walter. There was no Montague Tearle, but there was a William Woollen born 1875 in Sheffield with an older brother Walter E Woollen. They are living with their parents, William J, 31, who was a silversmith born in Wath, Yorkshire and mother Lucy, aged 31, from Ince in Warwickshire. There are four Waths in Yorkshire, but we can safely say that William J Woollen was a Yorkshireman.

1891

William is 16 and he is a lithographer, Walter Edwin, the elder brother, is 19 and he is a warehouse assistant, while their father William James, now aged 41 has given up silversmithing and he has become a journalist.

1901

Walter Edwin is 29, a warehouse sales assistant, and he has married a girl from his home town of Sheffield called Alice Maud Kenyon. Alice’s father and sister are living with them. Walter’s own father William J, who has returned to silversmithing, and mother Lucy E are living in Albert Road, Sheffield. There is no sign of William Woollen 1875, nor of Montague Tearle. Was he in prison?

1911

We now find out which Wath William James Woollen comes from: Wath-on-Dearne in South Yorkshire. He is 60 years old and still a silversmith. Lucy Ellen is 60, they have been married 39 years and had two children, neither of whom has yet died.

Walter Edwin, 39, is a clerk in a motor manufacturer’s factory in Birmingham. He is living with his wife, Maud and a boarder, who is a fellow clerk from work. More importantly, the 1911 census gives us the final, unimpeachable proof of who Montague really is. His brother Walter Tearle who lives at 16 Churchill Rd, Birmingham is actually his brother, Walter Edwin Woollen. Montague is unmasked – his real name is William Wollen, born 1875 in Sheffield, the son of a South Yorkshire silversmith. There is absolutely no sign of William Woollen 1875, nor of Montague Tearle, in this census. Was he in prison – again?

Not being in the censuses of 1901 and 1911 does not indicate that Montague was not working, nor was William Woollen completely buried as an identity. It is quite likely that Montague was either in prison, or he was being careful to stay away from the census enumerator.

We can go full circle now: we can join up William Woollen, the boy in the working-class neighbourhood of 1881, to Montague Tearle, the ne’er-do-well of the newspaper reports and the army recruit of 1915. In giving his next-of-kin as Walter of 16 Churchill Rd, Birmingham, Montague gave us one small fact amongst all the distractions, and that one fact told us who he really was.

1911 Walter Edwin Woollen 1872 of 16 Churchill Rd Birmingham

 

18Mar/15

James Harry Tearle, 1891, Willesden, UK (Rifle Brigade)

Here is his service record from the CWGC

Name: TEARLE, Initials: J H
Nationality: United Kingdom Rank: Rifleman
Regiment/Service: Rifle Brigade Unit Text: 12th Bn.
Age: 26 Date of Death: 16/03/1917
Service No: S/21464
Additional information: Son of John and Alice Tearle, of Willesden, London; husband of Dorothy Amelia Tearle, of 123, Malvern Rd., West Kilburn, London.
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead Grave/Memorial Reference: V. A. 2.
Cemetery: SAILLY-SAILLISEL BRITISH CEMETERY
James was born in Paddington, says SDGW. The CWGC adds that he was 26 when he died, hence b1891.

National Roll of the Great War says:

Tearle, J H, Rifleman,

Tearle James Harry National Roll

It took me a while to find out the story of this family, but Barbara Tearle of Oxford reminded us that John and Alice are actually Jonathan and Alice nee Kearns, and that Jonathan 1862 of Stanbridge was a son of William 1832 of Stanbridge and Catharine nee Fountain. Here are two brothers, members of my own family, who have gone to Willesden. So I have a common ancestor for them. William’s father and Jonathan’s grandfather is my gg-grandfather, Thomas Tearle 1807 of Stanbridge who married Mary Garner of Toddington.

The army notes (below) that he was killed “In Action”, and that one small gratuity was sent to his parents, and one small gratuity was sent to his wife.

James Harry Tearle UK Army Effects

James Harry Tearle UK Army Effects.

Here is Sailly Saillisel British Cemetery in the Somme Valley, Pas-de-Calais, France.

The gate Sailly Saillisel British Cemetery

The gate, Sailly-Saillisel British Cemetery.

Massed graves Sailly-Saillisel British Cemetery

Massed graves – Sailly-Saillisel British Cemetery.

J H Tearle in Book of Remebrance Sailly Saillisel British Cemetery

J H Tearle in the Book of Remebrance, Sailly-Saillisel British Cemetery.

James Harry Tearle Sailly Saillisel British Cemetery

James Harry Tearle headstone. “God’s finger touched him and he slept.”

18Mar/15

Sidney John Tearle, 1880, Dunstable, UK

Sidney John Tearle, Lance Corporal

Jo Smith wrote: My granddad was Sidney John Tearle, born in Dunstable on 22 Nov 1880. His father (my great granddad) was Charles Bowler Tearle. He died 18 Mar 1970. I don’t know that much about my father’s family, except that my granddad’s family came from either Eaton Bray, or maybe Stanbridge, Bedfordshire, and that he had a few brothers, 4 or 5 I think. My granddad was 31345 LCpl Sidney John Tearle, 2 Middlesex Regt. In WW1 he was awarded the Military Medal for Gallantry after rescuing other soldiers while they were under fire. I have attached the letter he received from King George – see below.

My dad, now deceased, was Ernest Leonard Sidney Tearle, born in Dunstable 17 Mar 1917. The only boy, he had 3 sisters. My dad was in the navy during WW2 and I think he mainly worked on mine sweepers.

Military Medal OF L CPL SIDNEY JOHN TEARLE

Paul Moseley came across the references above to the Tearle family and wrote:

‘I was interested to note Jo Smith’s comments regarding LCpl S J Tearle as I have in my collection, this brave gentleman’s Military Medal.”

Jo also said this of her grandfather:

I thought I would tell you some memories I have of my grandfather Sidney John Tearle. I always remember him having a fresh carnation in the button hole of his jacket & a coronation pen in his top pocket. He & my grandmother lived in an end of terrace house right next door to a coach depot called Costin’s Coaches in Dunstable. In their garden they had some lovely gooseberry bushes which had the loveliest tasting fruit. He wasn’t a very tall man, he was only about 5ft 4in, as was my dad Ernest. Sidney lived to a good age because he was 89 when he passed away, so had a good full life.

The King's message which accompanied Sydney's Military Medal.

The King’s message which accompanied Sydney’s Military Medal.

Sydney is the brother of Pvt George Tearle, who is buried in the Dunstable Cemetery. His parents were Charles Bowler Tearle 1849 of Dunstable and Constance nee Dickens. His grandparents were James 1806 Tebworth and Mary Ann nee Webb. Mary’s mother was Charlotte Bowler, hence Charles’ middle name. Sydney’s gg-grandparents were Richard 1778 Stanbridge and Mary nee Pestel and his ggg-grandparents were Joseph 1737 and Phoebe nee Capp. It would be no surprise that the boys called themselves Wesleyan Methodists. Phoebe was a staunch believer.

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.

18Mar/15

Rowland Grigg Tearle, 1916, London, UK (RAMC)

In the church of St Andrew, Yardley Hastings, there is the memorial to Rowland Grigg Tearle, and other young men who died in the Great War.

St Andrews, Yardley Hastings, Northants.

St Andrews, Yardley Hastings, Northants.

Here are his details from Roll of Honour:
Private 55930, 11th Field Ambulance, Royal Army Medical Corps. Died at home 9th June 1916. Age 20. Born London, enlisted Northampton.
Buried near the East boundary in ST. ANDREW CHURCHYARD, YARDLEY HASTINGS.

WW1 memorial inside St Andrews Church.

WW1 memorial inside St Andrews Church.

His details as recorded by CWGC are exactly the same as this.

The army records that Susannah Rogers was paid two gratuities, as the sole person named in his will.

Rowland Tearle UK Army Effects

Rowland Tearle UK Army Effects.

Rowland’s (sometimes spelt Roland) WW1 army medals card recorded that he died 9/6/16 and that he had earned the British Medal, the Victory Medal and the Star. It noted that he joined the French Theatre of war on 27/5/15 and that he was in the Royal Army Medical Corps. I can find no other military record.

CWGC headstone for R Tearle in St Andrews Church cemetery.

CWGC headstone for R Tearle in St Andrews Church cemetery.

Given that he died at home, we can suppose either a horrible injury or a debilitating trench disease. I wonder if the local NHS would have any knowledge of him? I am often reminded of how short his life was; I do hope there is something more we can say for him.

There was a good deal of discussion about the origins of Rowland and why he was living with Susannah Rogers, so I sent off for his birth certificate. He was born Rowland Grigg Tearle on 8 Jan 1896 in Queen Charlotte Hospital, Marylebone Road. His mother was Elizabeth Tearle, Book Keeper, Hotel of Willesden. There is no recorded father. The informant on the certificate was E Tearle, mother, 20 Victoria Road, Kilburn. He was registered on 11 Jan 1896 in the Sub-district of St Mary, County of London. Here is a compressed version of his 1901 census return:

1901 = Rowland 1896 Paddington border Susannah Rogers 57 Mary 30 Frank Gordon 1 Calcutta India boarder in Yardley Hastings Northants

It seemed to me very odd that he should be just five years old and living in another family far away from London, where presumably his mother would still be. Since we had no father for young Rowland and that prevented us from knowing his mothers’ familial relationships, I hoped that Susannah Rogers would be able to lead us to her. I found Susannah in the 1861 Bozeat, Northants census –

1861 = Susannah Rogers 1844 Harrold wife Stephen 21 William J Robinson 8 brother in Bozeat Northants

She was just 18, born Harrold, Beds, and was married to Stephen Rogers, a Gamekeeper, of West Tytherley, Hampshire, which is half way between Salisbury and Winchester. They were boarding her younger brother, William J Robinson. So now we had a formal identification for her. She was Susannah Robinson 1843 Harrold. So that means this is her and her parents and her grandfather in the 1851 census:

1851 = Susannah Robinson 1844 Harrold Beds Mary 33 William 36 William Abrahams 83 in Northants

I found Stephen and Susannah with their first children, William and Mary Elizabeth, in the 1871 census –

1871 = Susannah Rogers 1843 Stephen 31 William 8 Mary E 9m in Cornwall

They were back in Buckinghamshire for the 1881 census, but there was a surprise for me –

1881 = Susannah Rogers 1843 Stephen 41 William C 18 James A 14 Mary E 10 Thomas J 6 in Weston Underwood Bucks

I tried to find James A 1867 Turvey, Beds, in the 1871, but he is invisible.

I did find him the the 1891

1891 = James Rogers 1867 Turvey Beds Valet in Northants

as well as Susannah and Stephen, now living in the Keepers House near Yardley Hastings, where Stephen was a Gamekeeper for the Yardley Chase forestry estate, not far from where Milton Keynes is now.

1891 = Susannah Rogers 1843 Harrold Stephen 51 Thomas J 16 Mary E 20 in Yardley Hastings Northants

Pat Field found the Buckinghamshire Records marriage of Mary Ann Tearle 1866 and James Abraham Rogers in Q1 1886 Newport Pagnell, Northants, 3a, p695. “Date 8 Mar 1887 Entry James Abraham Rogers, full age, bachelor, Servant of Little Linford son of Stephen Rogers, Gamekeeper married Mary Ann Tearle full age spinster servant of Little Linford dau of John Tearle deceased. Witnesses James X Johnson, Alice Sheargold Banns not found Parish Little Linford St. Leonard.

Mary Ann was the dau of John 1823 (the marine) and Sophia nee Walker. This is the first occasion where I found James’ middle name. He has been, as is often the case with Victorian families, given the surname of his maternal grandfather. James’ being on his own on census night meant that his family had to be somewhere else, and they were:

1891 = Mary A Rogers nee T 1866 Aylesbury Arthur Rogers 1 visitor in Sussex E Grinstead

In 1901, Mary Ann and James were in Knightsbridge, London

1901 = Mary A Rogers nee T 1866 Linslade James A Rogers 34 Arthur 11 Edith 8 in Lon

For Susannah, the 1901 census painted a different picture – she was now a widow, and there was a young chap – Frank Gordon, 1yr – born in Calcutta, India living with her, then Rowland, and Mary Elizabeth, her daughter.

1901 = Rowland 1896 Paddington border Susannah Rogers 57 Mary 30 Frank Gordon 1 Calcutta India boarder in Yardley Hastings Northants

They had must have moved into the village after Stephen’s death, and Mary was earning some money for them as a dressmaker. Rosemary wrote to tell me she had seen Rowland still living with Susannah in the 1911 census in Yardley Hastings. For me, Susannah was now officially an In-Law, and has her place on The Tree.

There was a definite family connection, then, between Susannah Rogers and the Tearles, specifically John 1825 and Sophia nee Walker, but this didn’t explain why Rowland was living with her, and whether there was an equal familial relationship with his mother, Elizabeth. I did the Tearle births calculation: 22 years for the boys from the birth of their first child, perhaps as few as 18 for the women. Elizabeth had to be born earlier than 1878, but probably not earlier than 1866.

Sophia died in 1880 and was buried in All Saints, Leighton Buzzard. Rosemary reminded me of the 1881 census return, with the kind of blinding insight that only Rosemary does. In the 1881 Leighton Buzzard census there is recorded the contents of a house in Vandyke Rd. This is so important to the story that I have reproduced the essential viewing portions of both pages of the return.

wp96916090_05_06

Page 1

Page 2

Page 2

The head of the house is Mary 1822 LB, there is her brother John 1824 LB, Greenwich pensioner (navy) and her other brother Charles 1827 LB also a Greenwich pensioner, then Harriett 1860 LB a niece, then Alice 1862 LB a niece, then Charles H 1865 LB a nephew, Charles E 1866 from Morpeth, and Eliza 1869 and Elizabeth 1872 from Linslade.

Since everyone in the house is either a brother, nephew or niece of Mary 1822, then all of them are direct descendants of John 1780 and Sarah nee Claridge.

In the 1871, Mary had two of Edmund’s children, plus her own.

1871 = Mary 1822 LB Sarah 1846 LB Alice 9 Charles 6 in LB I couldn’t find Harriett 1860 anywhere.

Harriett 1860, Alice 1862 and Charles 1865 all come from another of Mary’s brothers, Edmund 1833, who lived just round the corner in Hockliffe Rd, but who died in 1867 and his wife Harriett in 1869. In 1871, Edmund 1855 who would become a well-known stage manager and actor, was already in Liverpool working in an office, so he was independent.

Charles Edward from Morpeth is the son of Charles 1827.

That means that Eliza and Elizabeth from Linslade are John’s children. I don’t have a birth cert for Elizabeth, but this is probably her: Q3 1871, L.B. 3b 156. Until the certificate turns up and proves me wrong, I think it is acceptable that this Elizabeth 1871 is John and Sophia’s girl. The only other family having children in Linslade were John’s brother Thomas 1821 and Sarah Jane nee Elliott. Their last child was George 1862 and adding Elizabeth 1871 is not impossible (Sarah would have been 47) but unlikely.

We found one late clue which helped convince us; Pat Field sent me the Leighton Buzzard baptisms of All Saints Church:

1 Jan 1883 ELIZABETH dau of John & Sophia Tearle of Leighton Pensioner

Sophia nee Walker, John’s wife, died in 1880, so this was simply a late baptism for Elizabeth. It certainly helps to show that he had a daughter Elizabeth and one supposes this is not Eliza.

Which brings us back to Rowland. Rosemary had much earlier seen the wedding of Mary Ann 1866 and James Rogers, and had raised the question:

“Susannah’s daughter-in-law was Mary Ann Tearle, born Linslade in 1866.

Mary Ann’s parents were John (1825) and Sophia, nee Walker.  Her siblings were Sarah Jane (1863), John (1864), Eliza Sophia (1868) and Elizabeth (1871).

Because of the relationship between Mary Ann and Susannah, I am of the opinion that Mary Ann’s sister Elizabeth is Rowland’s mother.”

We found Elizabeth in 1891:

1891 = Elizabeth 1872 Linslade, barmaid, in Rugby but she was not in any 1901 census.

Rosemary spent some time looking at what may have happened to Elizabeth and following up on the lead of young Frank Gordon from Calcutta living with Susannah, Rosemary looked to records from India. Tantalisingly, there was a Miss Tearle 28yr on the ship Rewa bound for Calcutta, India in 1897. She found that in 1899 an Elizabeth Tearle (26yr) father John, dec, married Arthur Brown (27yr) in Calcutta, but we cannot tell if it was our Elizabeth. As Rosemary tells it, “Since Arthur was 27, perhaps Elizabeth lopped a few years off her age…”

Rosemary now had a long look for Rowland’s possible father and I’ll let her tell the story in her own words:

As to who was Rowland’s father – Rowland Grigg is an unusual Christian name and I pondered as to whether this could have been the name of his father.  I tried to see if there was a famous Rowland Grigg about when Rowland was born, but could find nothing on Google. So looked to see if a Rowland Grigg did indeed live in England.

There is a Rowland Grigg who was born, lived and died in Yarmouth, Isle of Wight – 1872 – 1901.  This seemed to be too far away from where Elizabeth lived and worked.  But then I found that Mary Ann’s two children were born in Ashurst Wood Sussex, not all that far from the Isle of Wight.  Could Elizabeth been staying with her sister Mary Ann?  Could Elizabeth and Rowland Grigg and have met?  Brighton, that most famous of holidaying sites, was near to both Mary Ann’s and Rowland’s residential areas.  The Isle of Wight itself was also a  well-known holiday destination popularised by Queen Victoria.

Rowland Grigg of the Isle of Wight was the son of a draper and had no occupation recorded in the census before he died.  His, too, was a short life.

So I think we have finally told the bare bones of Rowland’s remarkable story. He is a member of a proud and illustrious family – the theatrical Tearles. We have established that his mother was Elizabeth 1871, the daughter of John 1825, the marine, and Sophia nee Walker. I am sure there is still a story to be told about why she was in Rugby in 1891 and why she was working in Willesden about the time of Rowland’s birth. His family’s times were difficult, and children were brought up by the extended family rather than by their parents. All the evidence shows, though, that they were still well brought up. Rowland heeded the call to war, and signed up to save lives rather than to take them. This decision cost him his own life, and we can only speculate on the misery it may have caused him as he lay dying in Susannah’s house. We have established his family connections, and we have acknowledged the debt we owe to Susannah Rogers and the generosity she showed him.

There is one other memorial we discovered; on the wall of the Yardley Hastings Memorial Hall that faces the road is a memorial to the young men who died in WW1 and WW2: Rowland is with them. He has been called Greg, but we are aware of exactly who he was.

War Memorial on hall, Yardley Hastings.

War Memorial on hall, Yardley Hastings.

DSCF5681 Rowland Gregg Tearle on war memorial Yardley Hastings Northants

Close-up of names on the War Memorial Hall.

07Apr/14
The London Regiment City of London Battlions Cornhill WW1 Memorial 3rd Btn for Arthur Walter Tearle 1881

Arthur Walter Tearle 1881, St Pancras, London

Ethel had deep concerns when Arthur told her he was going to join the army and fight in the war that was raging across Europe in 1914.
“You’re nearly 35 years old, why do they need you?” She had read the newspapers and had become increasingly alarmed at the lists of casualties being published every day. “You’ve got three children, do you just waltz off and leave me to look after them by myself? If you are killed who then cares?”

She knew she was repeating what every mother had said to their sons, but she was sure this was different – Arthur wasn’t a fit young man looking for adventure, he was working for a well-established educational publisher and he had a family to care for. Not to mention Ethel herself. She had not married him in the Prince of Wales Rd Wesleyan chapel in 1898 to see him disappear in 1914, killed in action in some muddy hell-hole in France or Belgium. Her sister Edith had been her bridesmaid, Arthur’s own sister Minnie had signed the register, surely they would not approve of this? She did not have time to consult them; on the 29th Oct 1914, Arthur showed her a copy of the form he had signed in the Edward St Recruitment Office not far from where they lived.

“I’m in the Territorials,” he said. “Mind you, it’s only a reservist battalion.” He looked at her hopefully, waiting for approval.
“3rd Reserve Battalion (City of London) The London Regiment” she read out. “We’re not in the City. Why them?”
“They recruit over here. And besides, we were married in St Pancras, remember? That’s where the HQ is.” His chin went up, “I’m in the Royal Fusiliers.”
“Reservist, eh? Listen to this.”
She read out a short note from the form
“… to subject himself to liability to serve in any place outside the United Kingdom in the event of National emergency.”
“What do you think the War is? It’s a National emergency. The minute they get hold of you, you’ll be outside the United Kingdom all right!”

Arthur Walter begins his army service

Arthur Walter begins his army service

Why could he not see this?
She looked up from the form and saw disappointment, and even an echo of her own exasperation, on his face.
“I know you’re doing the right thing,” she said slowly, “but this is going to be hard for us. You, me and the children. When do you start?”
“Tomorrow morning.

The 3rd (City of London) Battalion, The London Regiment. (The Royal Fusiliers)
Enlistment numbers show the stark reality of the sheer quantity of men enlisting for what we now call World War 1, and which our parents referred to as The Great War. The 3rd Battalion enrollment numbers rocketed from 1947, the enrollment number of the man who enlisted on 3 May 1914 to 3148, being the enrollment number of a man who enlisted on 18 Dec 1914. A total of 1201 men for one battalion in just seven months. After 1916 many regiments and battalions were disbanded and re-organised and the numbering system became chaotic and non-sequential, but during the months above, the numbers are orderly and sequential. The Long, Long Trail has a section on the London Regiment, and the 3rd Battalion, that gives further background into the regiment that Arthur had just joined

The Long, Long Trail notes that the 3rd Division of each regiment consisted mainly of Section D Reservists, who were normally soldiers who had fulfilled their 5 years service in the regular army and were waiting out their 5 years on reserve.
“All those surplus to the immediate needs of the regular army battalions were posted to the Special Reserve. Thus the (usually) 3rd Battalion of each regiment was massively and very rapidly expanded. Very large numbers of men passed through the SR battalions before being posted to the regular units.”

The record is silent as to where Arthur was trained (most of the London Regiment was trained on Hampstead Heath) but it is quite specific that he was “Home,” as the army calls it, in basic training, from 29 Oct 1914 to 22 Dec; just 55 days. On the 23rd Dec he was on a ship, bound for Malta and the Egypt Theatre of War.
“Reservist?” A shocked Ethel mourned the fact that Arthur could not have Christmas with his family.

Gallipoli
Malta was not under direct threat in 1914 and 1915, but it was a strategic post in the Mediterranean and housed hospitals for repatriating the wounded as well as supply depots for onwards goods and munitions deployment. Whatever he was doing in Malta, and the record is also silent on this, Arthur worked, or trained, perhaps, for 106 days until, on the 7th Apr 1915, he was posted to the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force (MEF), to fight in the Dardanelles Campaign. This engagement now forms part of the history of both the London Regiment and the ANZACs. Gallipoli is where New Zealand became a nation and ties with Australia were permanently bound. The 25th April each year is a National Day for both countries.

Vice-Admiral Sir John De Roebecks describes the landings at Anzac Cove and Cape Helles on 25 Apr 1915. Since this was an amphibious landing, I assume that Arthur spent the time between 8 April and 25 April in training for the assault on the Gallipoli beaches. The Vice-Admiral does not specifically mention the 3rd Division but he does say the 2nd Division (Royal Fusiliers) embarked on the warship the Implacable and landed at 07:00 with no casualties, the accompanying warships having given excellent covering fire.

“The nature of the beach was very favourable for the covering fire from ships, but the manner in which this landing was carried out might well serve as a model,” said the Admiral. I think that Arthur was amongst these men. The rest of the Gallipoli campaign is well covered by the many histories written about it and The Long, Long Trail has a very balanced view of the conflict over the entire peninsula.

It is worthy to note that John Henry Tearle 1887 of Hatfield (Service number: 9054) was also there. He was killed on 29 June 1915 and is memorialised on the Hellespont Memorial. I assume he was killed in the Helles area, so he probably survived the original landings and was killed in the Battle of Gully Ravine, which began on 28 June 1915. I shall explain the relationship between John Henry and Arthur later.

Conditions in Gallipoli were appalling. Fighting was almost hand-to-hand and the bodies could not be buried, food was scarce and munitions poorly serviced. Death, disease and sickness were rampant, yet there are legends of donkeys carrying the dead being allowed free pass through enemy lines, of truce hours when the dead were buried and soldiers took the opportunity to swap food parcels with the enemy – for instance, tomatoes were swapped for potatoes. They were fierce fighters, but there was a time and a place for fighting and when there was a truce, then you did not fight.

For almost an entire year the two sides fought over hills and rocky outcrops, trying to force an advantage. Finally, Churchill realised this was no back door into Germany and more pressing concerns drove his attention elsewhere. Gallipoli was the worst disaster of WW1.

025 Lone Pine Cemetary Gallipoli

ANZAC graves, Lone Pine, Gallipoli.
Copyright Genevieve Tearle 2004

Gallipoli was also nation-building for the Turks. Their now legendary leader, Attaturk, built his nation firmly on temporal lines; there would be no blurring of church and state. In 1934 he built a memorial to the events of the Dardanelles Campaign and he made the following promise:

“Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives…. You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side here in this country of ours…. You the mothers who sent their sons from far away countries wipe away your tears; your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace. After having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well.”

Thousands of Kiwis and Australians who visit ANZAC sites every year in honour of their grandparents take heart from  this message.

In Dec 1915, Arthur was struck with typhus. He was looking forward to the evacuation, which had been ordered on 8 Dec 1915, but this was a bitter blow after the months of fighting he had endured. The Long, Long Trail concludes that 260,000 Allied troops were killed, and 300,000 Turks. They had fought themselves to a draw.
Arthur was evacuated to Valletta Hospital in Malta, where he started his convalescence after his initial treatment for typhus. He looked at the stone walls and the high, vaulted ceilings from his cot and saw a surgeon with a small group of on-lookers standing around the soldier’s bed next to him.

The surgeon was wearing a bloody apron, his badge of office since the days of the barber-surgeon, and he dropped the chart he was reading onto the soldier’s bed and turned to Arthur.

“This man contracted typhus in Gallipoli and has done well to come through it as far as he has,” said the surgeon to the little throng, grouped around the bed, one in a seried rank of beds, crushed into the long, narrow room. He turned his back to the window, the better to read Arthur’s chart in the gloom. “However, he has now developed gastritis and this will prolong his treatment, mostly with a change of diet. Gastritis is a common complaint after a serious trauma such as Enteric Fever.” The surgeon used the army term to ensure his students were up to date with the latest advances in military medical technology.

They moved off, satisfied with Arthur’s progress. His stomach was on fire and he gritted his teeth at the waves of pain and nausea. “I suppose he thinks I’m lucky to be alive,” he said. “What does he mean about a change of diet?”
“No Friday curry,” said an orderly.

C Savona-Ventura, in a scholarly but not very well organised essay on the Military Hospitals of Malta (The Nurse of the Mediterranean) notes that during the Gallipoli campaign 2500 officers and 55400 troops were treated at Valletta. This hospital has a long and chequered career, involving an essay on its improvement from none other than Florence Nightingale herself, charging the hospital with unsanitary conditions, poor treatment of patients and understocking of supplies. The British government set up a commission and recommendations were made, but nothing was actually done. It is generally agreed that Valletta was insufficient (and always had been) for the uses it was put to. It was here that Arthur had contracted gastritis, which is a nasty inflamation of the stomach, probably including a peptic ulcer.

He was returned to England where he spent time in Chichester Hospital, Lewes, then Braydon Hospital, then a spell in Newport Pagnell. He returned to duty on 2 May 1916, but was unable to work.

He was examined at Hurdcott Camp Hospital in Wiltshire. This was originally set up for various London Rifle brigades, but in August 1916 it was taken over by the Australians who used it for convalescing soldiers who would be there for six months or more. In the hills around Fovant, where Hurdcott is situated, you can see The Fovant Badges.  These are regimental badges cut into the chalk and still tended today. The 6CLR (6th battalion, City of London Regiment) is clearly there. It will serve to remind us of the London Regiment.

On 10 Oct 1916, they reported on Arthur, and two days later, he was recommended for discharge from the army as “No longer physically fit for active service.” I have reproduced a short part of the report, below, but let me transcribe it, since it makes grim reading.:

Origin Dec 1915 Gallipoli. Had Enteric Fever, during operations, & was sent Malta Valetta Hospital. Was convalescent and then developed Gastritis. Has had it ever since. Sent England. Is losing weight & is very emaciated. Bad sickness, cannot keep food down, gradually getting worse, and much weaker. Result of active service. Infected with MEF Permanent.

On the 27th Nov 1916, he was formally examined and discharged. He had been in the army on active service for two days short of two years.

Arthur Walter 3063 army discharge

This report from Chelsea Hospital also tells us that he had three children: Hilda Alexandra, born 1902, George Ewart born 1909 and Winifred Agnes born 1913. A Children’s Allowance of 1/6d per week had been paid for each of them, I assume in addition to his 3/6d weekly pay as a private in the army. He was recommended for three medals – the Victory, The British, and the 1914-1915 Star.

These may have been the same medals as many others received at the end of WW1, but they cannot disguise the fact that Arthur started service at the beginning of the War (hence the 1914-1915 Star) and served overseas for a significant part of his term of service. Nor can they hide the sacrifices he made and the enduring pain he, and his family, suffered as a result of his original decision to help in the effort to defend his country. On the 20th of Dec 1916, Arthur signed for the receipt of the first of his medals. Note that it states that “The Badge will be worn on the right breast or on the right lapel of the jacket, but not in Naval or Military uniform.”

Arthur Walter receives his War Badge

Arthur Walter receives his Silver War Badge

Here is the record the army used to ensure his award was correct.

Arthur Walter Tearle WW1 Silver War Badge

Arthur Walter Tearle WW1 Silver War Badge

On the 24th Aug 1918, he received his King’s Certificate, which was the formal acknowledgement that his king and country would no longer require him for any kind of active service. I do not know if Arthur had recovered enough from his gastritis for the army to conclude that it was no longer their problem, or if the army paid his pension until the end of his original contract, or whether he was actually fit enough to resume his profession as an educational publisher’s assistant, but on the 20th Nov 1919, his army pension was stopped: “No grounds for further award.” All ties with the army were now cut and five tumultuous years in the military were over.

According to Arthur’s grandson, his girls had no children, but George had a family, and one of his boys bears the name Ewart, and that son has a boy called Ewart as well. Quite where the name comes from in Arthur’s family is a mystery, but mine comes from the Ewart family of County Antrim in Northern Ireland, via my maternal g-grandmother. I am not familiar with other members of Arthur’s family to know if their Ewart is family, or a name that Arthur or Ethel met in London.

I am now in a unique position to move backwards into Arthur’s past, to see into his family history for as far back as three hundred years, and possibly to see what the links are between the families that we call the Willesden cell – in other words, those families living in London NW10.

Arthur’s past
Here are my notes on Arthur in the 1901 census in London:
1901 = Arthur 1881 St Pancras Ethel 20 in Kentish Town LON

My other notes will follow this format:

1901 refers to the census year,

Arthur 1881 St Pancras references the person of interest on that census page, the year he was born and the place he was born.

Ethel 20  (and others) lists the other members of the household and their age.

In Kentish Town tells us where they were living. If the location is not immediately obvious, the I have added an identifier (LON – London).
Arthur and Ethel are fairly newly married, given that they did so when they were just 17 (I have the wedding certificate) and they are living at 30 Grafton Rd, Kentish Town. Arthur is a Publisher’s Storeman. Arthur’s wedding certificate stated that his father George Tearle was a Railway Platelayer, so that would account for their presence in Kentish Town – George had found work at one of the major railway workshops of the 19th century.

Arthur’s birth was registered in the first quarter of 1881, but I’m fairly sure he was born in the Dec of 1880 – the birth certificate would solve that question – but there is no doubting his parentage; George Tearle 1844 born in Stanbridge, Beds, and Lavinia George, born 1846 in Mursley, Bucks. In one jump, then, we are back to the traditional birthplace of almost all the Tearles in the world today. I found George in 1901, too:

1901 = George 1844 Stbg Lavinia 55 Annie 25 William 21 Ethel gd 2 in Kentish Town LON

They are living at 25 Ashdown St, Kentish Town, and this return tells us quite a lot about George’s family – for instance, that since Annie was born in Kentish Town, then George has been working for the railways for at least 25 years. Given that Arthur does not list Ethel amongst his children for his Children’s Allowance, then I assume that Ethel, 2yrs old and George and Lavinia’s grandchild, is Annie’s daughter. Let’s keep going back:

1891 = George 1844 Stbg Lavinia 45 William G 11 Arthur W 10 in Kentish Town LON

The family is living at 7 Ashdown St, Kentish Town. This may be the same house as in 1901, because since the Post Office gave the houses the numbers in the first place, it’s possible they simply changed the numbers. William and Arthur are both at school, and both were born in the district of St Pancras, which covers Kentish Town.

1881 = George 1844 Stbg Lavinia 35 Sarah 9 Annie 7 Minnie 5 William 1 Arthur 2m in Kentish Town LON

George is a Railway Labourer and it looks as though Sarah, the eldest, was born in Middlesex, Kilburn, though I’m not quite sure what that tells me except that by age 27, George and Lavinia were no longer living in Bedfordshire. Annie and everyone after her were all born in St Pancras so George has taken up his railway job by at least 1872. There is Minnie, by the way, who officiated at Arthur’s wedding, and just a little aside; they are living in Prince of Wales St, which was the address Ethel gave at her wedding, and it was also the address of the Methodist chapel where the wedding was held. So that’s how Arthur and Ethel met.

1871 = George 1844 Stbg Lavinia 25 in Willesden Mdx
Now this is really interesting – George and Lavinia, with no children, are in Willesden, and George is a Platelayer on the railway. He is 26yrs. He is fresh from the country, so who else is in Willesden? No one. Was he the first? It seems that he may have been.

In 1881 Jonathon 1862 Stbg is there, a porter for Thomas James Shackle, a “Modeller in Sugar.”

In 1891 there is a list: Annie 1874, George’s daughter; Hannah Estaffe, nee Tearle 1865 of Stanbridge; John 1856 and Elizabeth and family; Jonathon again; Zephaniah 1869.
And the same again in 1901.

I shall come back to their interrelationships once I have traveled a little further back in time.

In 1861, there is a completely different picture as we approach the roots of Arthur’s tree. We are on the Eggington Rd, Stanbridge, John and David Flint, the bakers, are next door, young Frederick Janes the butcher (only 26 and already a stand-alone businessman) with his wife Rebecca, is two doors away, but we are standing in front of Mary Tearle’s house.

1861 = Mary 1805 wid of Toddington, John 21, Ann 19, George 16, David 11, Elizabeth gd 4, all born in Stanbridge.

Mary is a char woman, originally from Toddington. She washes clothes, cleans houses and probably the local pubs; this is hard physical work and the chemicals she has to use cause permanent redness and angry welts on her hands and arms. She is already a widow, even though only 56. We now know George has an elder brother John, a younger brother David and a sister Ann. I checked the 1871 census to see if Mary was still there:

1871 = Mary 1805 Tod David 21 Elizabeth gd 14 in Stbg

She was. Her son John, now 31, lives next door and her grandson Levi 1850 (my g-grandfather) is next door on the other side, working as a blacksmith with William Thompkins.

1851 = Thomas 1807 Stbg Mary 46 John 11 Ann 9 George 6 David 1 in Stbg
1851 = James 1828 Stbg p1 Mary 23 in Stbg
1851 = James 1828 Stbg p2 Levi 8m in Stbg

In 1851 the whole picture becomes clear. Let me show you how clear: in the picture below of Stanbridge church with the John and James headstones in the foreground, the one on the left is George’s elder brother, John 1840 “For 60yrs sexton of this parish” and on the right is James 1827, my gg-grandfather and the father of Levi 1850, above, the blacksmith. He is also George’s eldest brother.
I’m not quite sure how all of this works, but John was a Methodist and worshiped in the chapel next to where the school still stands. However, he had the job as sexton of the church and yet still called himself an Ag Lab on the census. Either his job was entirely voluntary, or Ag Lab, as an occupation, also covered the work of a church caretaker. This is the family of which Arthur Walter Tearle 1880 of London is a member. You can go to Stanbridge and touch their headstones.

Next door in 1851 lived Abel 1810, Martha nee Emmerton and their family.

Abel’s grandfather was Joseph 1737, the father of one of the major Tearle branches, while Thomas’ grandfather was John 1741, Joseph’s brother and himself a founder of a major Tearle branch. One step further back is their father, Thomas 1710. We are now back to the ancestors (Thomas 1710 and Mary nee Sibley) of almost every Tearle alive today. If you read John L Tearle’s groundbreaking work “Tearle; A Bedfordshire Surname” you will be able to see how John L took the family roots back to John 1610 and his wife Joan.

I have a little snapshot of Lavinia George and her family in Mursley, Bucks in the same census, on the other side of Wing, on the A418, close to Wingrave, which certainly has Tearle connections. Use the Search function to see the Wingrave stories.
1851 = Lavinia George 1846 Mursley, Bucks
We have a final glimpse in the 1841 census of Thomas and his family. James 1828 is already in service.
1841 = Thomas 1811 Beds Mary 1806 William 9 Emma 3 John 1 Stbg
6 doors away from them as they live on the Leighton Rd, is John 1791 and Elizabeth nee Mead. He is Abel’s brother.
1841 = James 1828 Beds MS in HeathnReach
This is Thomas’ boy, James, my gg-grandfather working as a manservant in Heath and Reach – not too far from Stanbridge, but I would still think it was an uncomfortable distance from home. He grew up to marry Mary Andrews 1830 of Eggington, albiet they married as minors, and she had quite a colourful career which you can read about from her link.
So let’s go back to Willesden and see if we can tie up some of the relationships we have discovered there.

The Willesden cell
We now know, with some surprise, I must admit, that George 1844 from Stanbridge, was the instigator of the Willesden cell. Upon reflection, I think it grew because George was the first. In finding a job on the railway he had blazed the trail for others who had to leave the country and farming life as rural England became more mechanised and fewer farm workers were needed. He had found a stable job with reasonable earning that did not require very much education – a kind of transition job between skilled but poorly educated farm work and the increasing demands for literacy in the urban workforce.

The memorials to John 1840 and James 1827 are close together.

The memorials to John 1840 and James 1827 are close together.

Here are closeups of the two headstones – first, John the sexton:

John Tearle and Maria nee Bliss headstone Stanbridge

John Tearle and Maria nee Bliss headstone, Stanbridge.

Then James Tearle, his brother:

James Tearle and Mary nee Andrews headstone Stanbridge

James Tearle and Mary nee Andrews headstone, Stanbridge.

Looking at the detail of the movement to London, there are certainly links between the members of the cell:
1881 – Jonathon 1862, Stbg

He was a son of William 1832 and Catharine nee Fountain. George, John (the sexton) James and William were all brothers. In fact when James died, his wife Mary nee Andrews married William. William was also a railway worker and had been since at least 1861. Perhaps he showed George the benefits of working on the railway. So Jonathon went to London and lived near his uncle while he became used to the urban ways of doing things. He married Alice Kearns in 1882 in Marylebone, and their son, James Harry Tearle 1891 was killed on the Somme in 1917.

Jonathon and George certainly had a common ancestor – Thomas 1807 and Mary nee Garner.
1891 – Annie 1874 Stbg – George’s daughter. She had moved across London to be with her dad.
1891 – Hannah Estaffe nee Tearle, 1865 Stbg. Hannah Married James Estaffe in 1888, in Stanbridge. Her mother was Mary Ann 1841, dau of John 1823 and Eliza nee Irons.
1891 = John 1856 Stbg Elizabeth 35 John 12 Louisa 8 Arthur 4 George 2 Ethel 4m in Willesden, Middlesex.

This is Hannah’s family from Stanbridge; John 1856 and Elizabeth – I do not know her maiden name. Hannah is the grand-daughter of John 1823 and Eliza nee Irons. John’s mother was Mary 1803, daughter of John 1770 and Mary nee Janes. His grandfather was John 1741, who was the father of Thomas 1807. John 1770 is the brother of Richard 1773 (who married Elizabeth Bodsworth) who was the father of Thomas 1807. It’s possible that John 1856 knew all this, but it’s equally possible that he had village connections, and being from Stanbridge and a Tearle, opened up London for him, with George and Jonathon’s help.

1891 – Jonathon again
1891 – Zephaniah. He was the son of Jane 1844, dau of John 1823 and Eliza nee Irons. Jane was the sister of John 1856. So Zephaniah is also a grandson of John and Eliza nee Irons. Once John 1856 and Hannah arrived, it was easier for Zephaniah to make a living in London.

The picture does not change in 1901 so I have a clip from a directory of 1936, and I’ll leave it to you to suggest who these families might be.

Tearle families in NW10 George George John Thomas-Sidney William Zephaniah in 1936

Tearle families in NW10, 1936

Here are the families as listed in the directory:
Alfred in Iverson Rd
George in Aboyne Rd
George on the North Circular
John in St Johns Av
Thomas Sidney in Minet Gdns
William H in Severn Way
And it is certainly Zephaniah in Fairlight Av, Harlesden, because that was his address when he died in 1951.

The Gallipoli cousins
Let me now fulfill my promise to explain the relationship between the two men who fought at Gallipoli. Arthur’s father George 1844 was the son of Thomas 1807 and Mary nee Garner. Thomas’ brother Richard 1805 left Stanbridge, married Martha Walker and established a family in Soulbury, Bucks, members of which are still there.  Richard’s grandson, William Francis, born Soulbury 1857, moved to Hatfield, near St Albans and married Sarah Kefford. Their son, John Henry Tearle 1887 died in Gallipoli in 1915. So John’s g-grandfather and Arthur’s grandfather were brothers. Read the story of Norman 1919 Soulbury to see the tragic deaths on the same day in WW2, of two other men with Soulbury (and therefore Richard and Martha) beginnings.

I have discovered the following statistics about WW1
74 family members joined the war effort.
14 were killed, including Louisa nee Lees.

Of the few hundred Tearles alive in the world in 1901, this is a very valiant answer to the call to arms. We certainly “did our bit” and our grandparents paid most dearly the price to keep our countries (at both ends of the world) free from the oppression an invading country would surely enforce.

Summary:

When Pat Field showed me the identity of Arthur Walter Tearle 1880 of St Pancras, as opposed to other Arthur Tearles I had confused him with, it came as a blinding shock of light. So many pieces fell into place all at once, especially around the very problematical families in the Willesden cell. I hope I have shown you the relationship between the members of that cell and hinted at the network that was operating – on a very informal and family-oriented way – to protect the family as it left Stanbridge and made its way, somewhat reluctantly, I think, given how slowly it developed, along the newly laid roads of the railway. In its early stages the, the railway was laid from Euston Station in London all the way to Preston in Lancashire. By 1848, there was even a branch line to Dunstable as close to Stanbridge as Stanbridgeford. It was built by none other than Robert Stephenson himself. A group left Leighton Buzzard for Preston in the 1850s led by Joseph 1838 and Sophia nee Kibble. Joseph’s brother George 1825 and Maria nee Franklin started the Yorkshire Tearles and George 1818 was the patriarch of the Watford cell which expanded even to Australia; and now we can see that George 1844 was responsible for setting up the Willesden cell. We can see now how easy it was for members of the group to come and go from Willesden – first stop, Euston, then Dunstable and on to Stanbridge.
The harrowing story of Arthur Walter and Ethel is at once part of the intense micro-world of individual families struggling to survive, but at the same time it also serves as a backdrop and even a model for the greater story of the Tearle family expansion.
This has been a difficult and very moving story to tell, but intensely satisfying in its conclusion.

Footnote:

On a visit to London in Feb 2016, Elaine and I found the WW1 memorial to the men and women of London City and County who had fought in the Great War. It sits at the foot of the steps to the London Corn Exchange in Cornhill, across the road from the Bank of England.

WW1 Memorial Cornhill

WW1 Memorial, Cornhill

The dedication states that it is for all the battalions, rather than named casualties:

Dedication of Cornhill WW1 Memorial

Dedication of Cornhill WW1 Memorial

The most important reason for showing it here, is that this memorial is all there is to remember that Arthur fought in WW1. On the back of the memorial is the battalion he fought with, even in Gallipoli – The London Regiment, (City of London) 3rd Battalion, the Royal Fusilliers:

The London Regiment City of London Battlions Cornhill WW1 Memorial 3rd Btn for Arthur Walter Tearle 1881

The London Regiment, City of London Battlions, 3rd Battalion, the Royal Fusiliers, for Arthur Walter Tearle 1881, on the WW1 Memorial, Cornhill.

The agonising pain that Arthur suffered for the rest of his life will be remembered with this beautiful tribute to those who died, and those who lived in suffering, alongside him.