Wilfred Kneale Teare was born in 1896 in Chesterfield, Derbyshire son of James Teare born in Ramsey, IoM and Anne Arnott born in Ripley, Derbyshire. She was totally deaf since the age of 19. His father worked as a hewer in a coal mine and in 1901 the family was living in Bolsover. In 1911 Wilfred was still living with his family but now at 10 Cavendish Street, Mansfield and he was working as a coupler in a coal mine. He was the oldest of 5 children – his younger brothers Harold Thomas, Leslie Hector and the youngest Cyril Robert and his sister Christina Margaret.
He enlisted into the army at Mansfield on the 10 September 1914 becoming a private in the Sherwood Foresters Notts and Derby Regiment 1st /8th battn . He was described as 5ft 9¾in with a fresh complexion, blue grey eyes and light brown hair.
He was in the UK from September 1914 to June 1915 when he was posted to France arriving in Rouen on 29/6/15. The battn was the first complete Territorial Division to arrive in a theatre of war when they joined the BEF in the Ypres salient. They were in action during the German liquid fire attack at Hooge and the attack at the Hohenzollern Redoubt.
The Battn was involved in the capture of Gommecourt from the end of 1916 to March 1917 From The Sherwood Foresters in the Great War: ‘At 7 a.m. on the 13 March Capt. A. Hacking, in command of A Company, ordered Lieut. A. H. Michie with his platoon to seize Kite Copse. Michie made a rapid reconnaissance, and in a very short time found himself in possession of this important point, the enemy garrison having nearly all left to fetch their rations. The water was boiling in the dug-outs, and a supply of coffee was found, which enabled Michie’s platoon to get breakfast as soon as the position was consolidated. During the evening the enemy made two determined counter-attacks against the position, but these were both driven off with heavy loss by the excellent work of Pvte. Teare with his Lewis gun, Sergt. King and Corpl. Scrimshaw.’
Wilfred was subsequently awarded the Military Medal for gallantry in the field. The citation reads ‘ for excellent work with his Lewis gun when the enemy made two determined counter-attacks on the position at Kite Copse, Gommecourt on 13/03/1917.’
At the end of March 1917 the Battn was posted to Westrehem where they undertook 2 weeks of extensive refitting and training especially in new company and platoon formations for attack. It was during this time that Wilfred was promoted to rank of corporal (3/4/17). The Battn were then deployed in the Lens /Loos area alternating between the front line and reserves ‘to a delightful little spot known as Marqueffles Farm, nestling under the wooded slopes of the Lorette Ridge.’
In June 1918 Wilfred was admitted to Hospital in Boulogne and eventually returned to UK where he was referred to the specialist heart unit in Colchester. He was discharged from the army in September 1918 as being no longer physically fit for service due to a heart condition, severe VDH (valvular disease heart) having aortic insufficiency and consequent shortness of breath which became worse with exercising. In the opinion of the medical board this had been exacerbated by his military service. He had a reference as a very good military character, sober, honest, trustworthy and intelligent and was awarded a pension.
He died on 17 June 1919 as a result of his heart condition. The Mansfield Chronicle Advertiser for 19/06/1919: ‘Military Funeral at Mansfield. Wilfred Teare of 16 Southwell Road has died from the effects of gas poisoning. He had been gassed twice and he was discharged from the army.’ He is buried in Nottingham Road Cemetery, Mansfield and remembered on the war memorial there.
Wilfred’s brother, Harold Thomas Teare served in the Coldstream Guards and after the war he emigrated to Canada along with their younger brother, Cyril.
The Sherwood Foresters in the Great War by W.C.C. Weetman http://www.gutenberg.org/files/20527/20527-h/20527-h.htm