Alfred Teale


About Alfred

  • Name
  • Initials
  • Surname
  • Date of Birth
    16 March 1891
  • Birth town
    Tollerton, Yorkshire
  • Resided town
    Tollerton, Yorkshire
  • Commemorated
  • Nationality
  • Place of death
    York Registration District
  • Date of death
  • Married
  • Occupation
    Farm Labourer

Service Information

  • Army

  • Service Number
  • Rank
  • Regiment
    Middlesex Regiment


Alfred was born in Tollerton, Yorkshire on 16 March 1891, to an unmarried mother.  The 1891 census records him, at three weeks old, living with his mother, one-year-old brother Oliver and Jane and William Teale, his maternal grandparents in Tollerton.  In 1901, although his mother had married and moved to Bradford, Alfred remained living with his widowed grandmother in Alne and was living with her in Tollerton in 1911 and working as a farm labourer.  On Alfred’s attestation papers, he listed his grandparents as his parents, so maybe he was not aware of his real parentage.

However, prior to Alfred joining up records show that he had a criminal record; he had been bound over for housebreaking in July 1908; in July 1909, he was sentenced to three months in jail for stealing a bicycle; and in April 1910 he received a further two-month sentence for stealing a bicycle pump.  He was back in court in February 1913, when at York Assizes he was convicted of breaking and entering and stealing a purse and some money for which he was sentenced to eight months’ hard labour.

Alfred joined up in Alne on 19 November 1914, at one of the recruitment fairs which travelled round from village to village at the time. From here he was transported to Bridlington where he enlisted as a private into the 2nd Battalion, 1st Queen’s Own Yorkshire Dragoons.  He was aged just under 24 years old, 5ft 9in tall with a 38in chest, brown hair and grey eyes.

On 1 January 1916, Alfred married Ada Weatherill at the Parish Church, York and his son Alfred was born on 20 February. Obviously keen to see his baby, Alfred absented himself without leave between 19 and 21 February, for which offence he received 28 days’ detention and forfeited three days’ pay.

In September of that year, Alfred sailed to Salonika in Greece where he was transferred to 26th Battalion (3rd Public Works Pioneers) Middlesex Regiment, as part of the 27th Division. The Division saw action in the capture of Karajakois (30 September – 2 October 1916), the capture of Yenikoi (3-4 October 1916), the Battle of Turmbiza Farm (17 November and 6-7 December 1916), and the capture of Homondos (October 1917) in the mountainous, malarial Salonika front around what is now the Greek-Macedonia border, and in which nearly half the men died of disease or hardship within weeks of arriving in the area. In November 1917, the Battalion moved with the Division to Italy but returned to France in March 1918.  Apart from a bout of malaria, Alfred appears to have survived the war unscathed, returning home on 21 April 1919, having elected to re-enlist for four years in the 10th (Prince of Wales Own Royal) Hussars, for which there was a bounty of up to £50 being offered – worth in the region of £2,500 in today’s money.

On re-joining Alfred was given a furlough until 25 July 1919, but he failed to join his new regiment on the appointed date and went AWOL until he was eventually apprehended by the police in Easingwold on 25 November and he re-joined his Depot under escort.  However, during the period of his absence, he suffered a tragedy when his baby son was born prematurely on 20 September and died at only five days old.   Two weeks before this sad occurrence, the military authorities received a letter purporting to be from his brother ‘W Teale’, stating Alfred had died of malaria on 9 September. The army asked the police to investigate this situation and they reported back to the army that they had not only found Alfred alive and well, but he also stated that he had no brother with that initial and denied all knowledge of the letter!  In November, Alfred was sent under escort to join the Hussars in Ireland and following his absence, he was fined 128 days’ pay.

Alfred was again absent from barracks in Canterbury between 20 December 1919 and 20 January 1920, for which he received 28 days’ detention and forfeited 31 days’ pay. He was unable to join his regiment between 25 April and 31 May due to a conviction for stealing firewood from a house in Newton-on-Ouse, the village where his wife was living, and was sentenced to two months’ hard labour in prison. Upon release, he surrendered himself to the police in York and was once again returned to Canterbury where he was given 28 days’ detention and forfeited 36 days’ pay. Re-joining his unit in Cork, he was detained once more for absence before being finally discharged after another conviction for theft in September 1920.  When he was discharged all former service was forfeited “Having been convicted by the civil power of stealing”.  His war medals were also forfeited.

In 1926 when his regiment captain was asked for a character reference, not surprisingly, he issued the following response: ‘Since the above-named man joined the regiment he has been either in prison or an absentee so it is impossible for me to give him a good character’. 

Alfred and Ada had a further six children William (1922), Jane (1924), David (1927), Hilda (1929), John (1932) and Jean (1938).  In 1939 Alfred, a farm foreman and Ada are living at Bungalow North, North Ings, Malton, Yorkshire with William, a cowman on a farm, Hilda, at school and four other records still closed, presumably their other children.  Alfred died in the York district in 1967, aged 76.

With grateful thanks to be Alne Village website for information about Alfred in their WW1 Memories.

Could you be related to Alfred Teale?  Do get in touch if you can tell us more.

Campaign Medals

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