Frank Teare 1889 – 1917

Frank Teare 1917 Calgary HeraldFrank was born in Peel in 1889 son of William Edward Teare sailmaker and partner in Teare and Sons ships chandlers and Eleanor Morrison daughter of Charles Morrison, a Peel grocer. They lived at 2 Crown Street.

Frank had an older stepbrother Frederick William, an older brother Archy (died in 1907 aged 11) and a younger brother Edward Morrison Teare. Frank’s older stepbrother Frederick was a merchant seaman and by the time war broke out in 1914 he had his masters certificate and was a river pilot in Rangoon, Burma. (See link Frederick Teare)

Frank attended King William’s College and was a keen sportsman enjoying golf and playing football for Peel AFC. Frank Teare Peel FC 1908 1909He was a member of the cup winning team of 1908/9 when Peel defeated Wanderers 2-1 at Tromode.  He became a surveyor and architect apprenticed to J.E. Teare of Douglas and in 1911 he emigrated to Quebec, Canada on the Empress of Ireland. He settled in Ontario and worked for the Canadian Government as a surveyor in the northern Alberta Region.

He enlisted into the Canadian Army in Calgary, Alberta in 1915 at the age of 26. His height was 5 ft 7inches and he had a fair complexion and hair and grey eyes.  The army had previously rejected him because of his eyesight, which was adversely affected by snowblindness caused during his surveying work.  He was drafted to England where he finished his training at Bramshott Camp before being sent to France where he was involved in the 1916 Somme offensive. He had a months furlough in Peel in January 1917 before returning to his regiment. He had been promoted to Corporal and was killed on 10 April 1917 taking part in the Canadian army campaign attacking and taking Vimy Ridge, a heavily fortified high point to the west of the town. The Battle of Vimy Ridge was fought between April 9 to 12 as part of the greater Battle of Arras. On April 10 the Battalion was near Hill 145, attacking at 3:15 p.m. and achieving all objectives by 3:45 p.m. even though enemy resistance was strong, the unit was relieved from their new positions that night.

frank teare memorialFrank is remembered on the memorial at Cabaret-Rouge British Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France and on the Peel War Memorial.

He was killed within a few miles of his stepbrother Frederick Teare who was wounded at Fampoux on the 11 April in the battle of Arras and later died of his wounds in Etaples Military hospital on 23 April 1917.

Frank’s younger brother Edward Morrison Teare served in the Royal Engineers, survived the war and eventually retired to Peel and became a Peel Town Commissioner.


Thank you to Barry Bridson who supplied this photo of Frank Teare’s medals and the plaque sent to the families of all who were killed on active service.

frank teare medals







More about the battle for Vimy Ridge at

Vimy Ridge Canadian Memorial

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The last sails made by Freddy Teare?


sails 1It’s always great when someone contacts me through Teare and Sons website to ask more details, correct me or give me more information. But it was quite a surprise when John Cowley contacted me to say that he had the last set of sails that had been made by Freddy Teare and would I like to see them?




Freddy Teare learned his trade as a sailmaker from his father, John and also whilst working in Barrow during WW1 when he was making all sorts of canvas covers for guns and equipment on battleships. Sailmaking was a ‘reserved occupation’ so he wasn’t called up into the army. Freddy Teare and his father John brought the Teare and Sons sailmakers and ships chandler business from their cousin Edward Morrison Teare after the end of the first world war. Teare and Sons continued in business on the Quay at Peel until 1964, increasingly making sails for yachts as the fishing fleet turned first to steam and then diesel engines.




Richard Cowley (John Cowley’s father) and Freddy used to go fishing together. Around 1963 Richard Cowley made a small fibre glass boat (10 foot 6 inches length) when working at Peel Engineering and so he asked Freddy to make him a set of sails. I contacted Freddy’s son, John Teare, and when I was in Peel in February we arranged to go and see John Cowley.

The day wasn’t ideal as it was a bit damp but we managed to hang the sails in the yard and have a good look at them.  The white cotton sailcloth sails are in good condition for their age and probably haven’t been used that much. The seams have been machine sewn but the sewing in of the thimbles for connecting the halyards and sheets is all done by hand and lovely to see as is the roping around the edge of the sails and the way it has been reduced in diameter where it finishes. I’ve included a few pictures here, which show the craftsmanship in these little sails. We’ll have to go back and get some better pictures when the weather is drier. Many thanks to John Cowley for contacting me and letting us see and touch this bit of sailmaking history and Peel craftsmanship.

sails 2

reefing point

reefing point

thimble detail

thimble detail

sails 3

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Sinking of the Lusitania Commemoration Peel

lusitania wandererAs part of the 100 year anniversary commemorations of the 1st world war on the Isle of Man the Peel Town Commissioners have decided to mark the centenary of the sinking of the Cunard Line passenger liner ‘Lusitania’ by the U boat U20 off the Irish coast on 7 May 1915.

The Wanderer (PL11) a Peel built and operated fishing boat was the first on the scene of the disaster as she had been shooting her nets 10 miles south of Kinsale head when the Lusitania was torpedoed. She sailed to the scene and was able to pick up over 160 survivors. Luckily the sea was calm and they took 110 on board and towed the others in a raft and lifeboat until they could be transferred to other boats. The letters from the crew of the Wanderer provide a vivid first hand account of the final moments of the Lusitania and the efforts to rescue as many as they could in a small fishing boat which quickly became overloaded. See 

The owner of Wanderer in 1915 was Charles Morrison, a Peel grocer. His daughter Eleanor Morrison was married to William Edward Teare, sailmaker and partner in Teare and Sons ships chandlers.

There were 128 American citizens amongst the dead and in firing on a non military ship without warning the Germans had breached international law (the Cruiser Rules). The Germans had reason for treating Lusitania as a naval vessel because she was reportedly carrying munitions and the British had been breaching the Cruiser Rules but this sinking caused a storm of protest in the United States and the resulting propaganda was important in changing public opinion and the subsequent decision for America to enter the war.

See the recent BBC article and video at

For more information on the Lusitania Commemorations in Peel on Sunday 3 May 2015 see www.the

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Denys Teare Ordre national de la Légion d’honneur

Denys Teare Legion of Honour

Denys Teare, who lives in Ramsey, has been awarded the Legion of Honour by the French Government for the part he played in fighting alongside the French Resistance in WW2.

In September 1943 Denys baled out of a burning Lancaster bomber returning from a bombing raid over Germany before it crashed into hillside some 110km south east of Reims. He was sheltered by French families and the French Resistance escape networks could not get him back to England before the allied landings in Normandy on 6 June 1944.

Consequently he spent a whole year living in occupied rural France changing from being an ‘aviator anglais’ and a liability to his hosts to become a fluent French speaker, ally of the Resistance and saboteur. The American 3rd Army eventually reached the town where he was hiding and he was liberated exactly a year to the day that he had parachuted into France.  His story of those 12 months; of life in occupied France, the friendships made, tragedies witnessed, the tensions of ‘living with the enemy’ and even at times almost a normal life bringing in the harvest with French farmers as the Allied armies got ever closer is told in his book ‘Evader’

Thomas Denys Gordon Teare was born in Liverpool, his father J.G. Teare was a village school headmaster and had received official notification that his son was presumed dead as there had been no news of his whereabouts since the crash. In fact, and against all the odds, the whole crew of the Lancaster ‘S for Sugar’ survived the crash and the war but they didn’t meet up again until it was over. Denys later trained as a fireman and worked in Widnes before eventually settling in the Isle of Man.

Evader was first published in 1954. Now published by Crecy Publishing it is available from on line retailers. It’s a great read.

Congratulations to Denys on receiving this, the highest decoration from the French Government.

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New books now available

Using archives from the Teare family and Manx National Heritage Michael Teare has been researching the story of Teare and Sons, Sailmakers and Ships Chandlers. Founded in 1866 by John Teare, a roper, this family company was in business on The Quay, Peel for 100 years. Teare and Sons were very involved in the development of the Manx fishing industry both as suppliers to the fishing fleet and as shareholders in fishing boats and trading schooners. Now three small books bring these stories to wider audience.

For more information and to order your copies look in the Teare and Sons book shop

ice salt smoke coverIce, salt and smoke (curing and conserving fish) – it wasn’t always kippers on the Isle of Man, how do you export your fish without it spoiling and where do you get your ice in the days before refrigeration?


sailmakers coverSailmaking – before the development of steam engines sails and sailmakers were as important and strategic as oil is today for Navy and Merchant ships as well as fishing fleets. So when  fishing boats were powered by the wind what did the sailmaker do?


ships chandlers coverShips Chandlers - in any port the Ships Chandler was an important business, not just for supplying local and visiting boats but also as an investor in the local fleet and the life of the town. How did a 19th century ships chandlers business work?

Posted in Boats, Family History, fishing, Isle of Man, Peel, Sail Making, Teare, UK, Uncategorized, WW1 | Leave a comment

John Teare – Freeman of Peel

John Teare Freeman of Peel

John Teare (right)       Freeman of Peel

John Teare has been awarded Freeman of Peel.  The honour was in recognition of his 41 years supporting the Royal National Lifeboat Institute charity in Peel. He was presented with an illuminated address by the Chairman of Peel Town Commissioners at Peel Golf Club on Friday 21 November.

John said one of the main advantages of becoming a Freeman seems to be that he now has the right to drive a flock of sheep up Michael Street. He hasn’t yet said when he intends to exercise this new right but sponsored sheep driving through Peel could be a great new method of fundraising.

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Teare and Sons story

Ledgers Teare and Sons

Ledgers Teare and Sons

Norwegian College Fishery Science Tromsø

Norwegian College Fishery Science Tromsø

statue to fishermen Tromsø

statue to fishermen Tromsø







The Teare and Sons story was presented at the 14th North Atlantic Fisheries History conference held in the Norwegian College of Fisheries Science, Tromsø, Norway September 24-27th 2014. The papers from the conference will be published in a supplement to the International Journal of Marine History in 2015. A summary of the paper:

Using archives from the Teare family and Manx National Heritage in Douglas Michael Teare has been researching Teare and Sons, the family run company, founded in 1866 on The Quay, Peel.

Teare and Sons were sailmakers and ships chandlers supplying the rapidly growing fishing fleet during the 2nd half of the 19th century. They were also shareholders in fishing boats and trading schooners. By examining the company ledgers we can see how the daily operations in the chandlers worked and the growth of the company in customer numbers and turnover as the Manx fishing fleet expanded. Fishing boats needed to be prepared and equipped before the start of the Irish mackerel fishery in March, but they didn’t pay their bills until the end of the Manx herring fishing season in September. Teare and Sons had to take bank loans, using property as security, to finance their business.

At the end of the 19th century the company survived a series of difficulties. In 1898 the fishing smack Bee Hive, owned jointly by brothers William Edward and Henry Teare, was wrecked off Cambelltown, the schooner Lily Miles, in which the company had 8 shares, was wrecked on Longstone Rocks in 1899 and the schooner Phoebe (the company was a ⅜ shareholder) was run down by the steamship Duke of Lancaster in Belfast Loch in 1900 – it was not insured. But worse was to come when on 3 February 1900 the company’s bank, Dumbell’s, went bust. Suddenly Manx companies were unable to get credit from their suppliers who would only take new orders with cash up front. Dumbell’s had been an important bank in Peel and many other fishing boat shareholders and fishermen were faced with the same or an even worse financial disaster. As a result many fishermen lost everything, many boats were sold to Ireland or simply left to rot.

Teare and Sons survived and after WW1 ownership transferred to sailmakers John and Freddy Teare. Now they were making more sails for yachts and selling fuel to fishing boats. The business continued on The Quay in Peel until 1964 when Freddy Teare, the last sailmaker in Peel, died and the business closed.

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Teare and Sons in Tromsø, Norway

The Teare and Sons story will be presented at the conference of the North Atlantic Fisheries History Association, which takes place in Tromsø, Norway 24-26 September 2014. This annual conference brings together maritime historians from around the world to discuss the scientific papers presented and topics related to fishery history.

Screen Shot 2014-09-19 at 13.40.54

Using archives from the Teare family and Manx National Heritage in Douglas Michael Teare has been researching Teare and Sons, the family run company, founded in 1866 on The Quay, Peel. Teare and Sons were sailmakers and ships chandlers supplying the rapidly growing fishing fleet during the 2nd half of the 19th century. They were also shareholders in fishing boats and trading schooners. By examining the company ledgers we can see how the daily operations in the chandlers worked and the growth of the company in terms of customer numbers and turnover as the Manx fishing fleet expanded.

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Peel fishing boat Wanderer and the Lusitania 1915

lusitania wandererThe Wanderer PL11 was built in Peel in 1881 and sailed with a crew of 7 with skipper William Ball (Jurby), his son Stanley, William Gell (Ramsey), Thomas Woods, Robert Watterson, John Macdonald and Harry Costain (all from Peel). One of her shareholders was Charles Morrison a Peel grocer and it was to him the letters about the Lusitania rescue were sent. Wanderer was sold to Ireland and renamed Erins Hope. Later she was fitted with a motor and continued fishing until the 1930s.

Here is the link to the BBC article and video about the Wanderer, which was broadcast on BBC1 on Wednesday 13 August 2014. The video is inside the article (click on the picture of the seven men) separately the video is here

Thanks again for your kind help with my research.

I hope I have done justice to their amazing story of bravery.

Many Thanks,

Kelly Foran


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Frederick Teare captures a German ship singlehanded – August 1914

frederick teareFrederick Teare was born in Peel the oldest son of William Edward Teare master sail maker and partner in Teare and Sons ships chandlers. He was 5ft 5in with brown eyes and hair and aged 37 at the start of WW1 when he was working in Rangoon, Burma – a river pilot bringing boats into port. Letters to home told the story of how his remarkable coolness resulted in the singlehanded capture of a German steamship. I first heard the story from his nephew Ken Teare and you can also find it in ‘This terrible ordeal’ Matthew Richardson’s excellent book about Manx involvement in WW1.

Apparently Frederick had always wanted to go to sea and despite a poor report on his mathematics from Patrick School he finished his schooling at Old Douglas Grammar School before realizing his ambition and he got his Captain’s ticket in 1904. He started his sailing career in 1893 with a 4 year apprenticeship on the four masted sailing barque Andelana out of Liverpool and then served another year after becoming an AB (able seaman). A brief spell in the RNR (Royal Naval Reserve) aboard HMS Collosus, a second class battleship built in1882 and at that time a coastguard ship based out of Holyhead was followed by 2nd mate positions on the French steamer La Madeleine and the Liverpool barque Mashona. He became 1st mate on the 1196 ton square rigger Robert Duncan out of Greenock in 1902.


He continued serving in deep water vessels and at the start of WW1, one hundred years ago, Frederick was a pilot aboard the fast coasting steamer, Hindu, which would meet vessels wanting to be taken up the Irrawaddy River to Rangoon (now Yangon and the former capital city of Myanmar). Britain declared war on Germany on 4 August 1914, following an “unsatisfactory reply” to the British ultimatum that Belgium must be kept neutral. The Rangoon port authorities had already been informed that the large Hamburg- America Cargo Liner, Alesia, had passed through the Suez Canal on July 26th, destination Rangoon. According to Lloyds register she was fitted with wireless and with war declared everyone assumed she would head for a neutral port. So imagine the surprise and consternation when Captain Teare was called on deck by the lookout during a blinding squall to see a large boat flying the German flag passing under the stern of the pilot boat – it was the Alesia. There were many questions – What were her intentions? Was she armed? Did she intend to attack Rangoon port? And then a sharp eyed lookout noticed there was no wireless gear aloft . . . .

Frederick Teare was the pilot on duty and he had an ability not only to remain calm but also to  conceal any facial expression, which he used to his advantage. He packed his bag, leaving behind his copy of Field Service Regulations from his membership of the Rangoon Volunteer Rifles, and took the small boat to board the Alesia. On his way he scanned the decks and faces of the crew and the bearded captain to find any clues. When he got on board the captain asked him ‘So what about the war’ and Frederick bluffed that ‘It had fizzled out’. The captain left the bridge and Frederick was left with the 2nd officer on the bridge wondering if the Captain was also bluffing. When the Chief Officer came onto the bridge he also asked about the war and Frederick took his chance and suggested that ‘If the wireless was in good order they’d have as much news as him’. The reply confirmed that the radio had been dismantled for repairs and that had been very inconvenient.

Frederick could find no reason to believe this wasn’t true so he took the Alesia up river, past the military installation at Elephant Point where there was much activity and which he passed off as the annual military manoeuvres. They moved up river and anchored for the night then at the first streak of dawn the first officer reported there was a large launch alongside and soon Frederick saw two platoons of Royal Munster Fusiliers coming on board. The German Captain raged at him ‘What does this mean Pilot? to which Frederick coolly replied ‘I am sorry to say Captain that our countries are at war and I have captured your ship’.

One of the first maritime actions of the war and certainly the first to involve a Manxman was any other ship ever captured with so much cool and daring by just one man? Official reports of the time described Frederick Teare as a man ‘typical of the British officers bred by our tramp steamers’. The Alesia was subsequently offered for sale in the London Gazette as a prize along with other captured German merchantmen and was purchased by the Government of India.

Frederick Teare left Burma in 1915 with the Burma military contingent; he became a sergeant in the 2nd battalion Seaforth Highlanders (Lewis Gun Section). He was posted to France in April 1915 and would have taken part in the Second Ypres battle and on the Somme when the 2nd battalion Seaforth Highlanders attacked on Redan Ridge 1 July 1916 and near Le Transloy in October 1916. He was twice wounded during this time.

During the battle of Arras (the First Battle of the Scarpe), which ran from 9 – 14 April 1917, there was a disastrous action involving the 4th Division on the Green Line from Fampoux. At midday on the 11th April the 2nd Seaforth Highlanders and 1st Royal Irish Fusiliers attacked from the sunken lane between Fampoux and Gavrelle . They were spotted whilst forming up by the enemy in Roeux and on the railway embankment and subjected to shellfire. At zero hour, as they advanced over a kilometre of open ground behind a feeble artillery barrage they were hit by heavy machine gun fire from the railway embankment and Chemical Works. The Seaforths attacked with 12 officers and 420 men and suffered casualties of all 12 officers and 363 men. Only 57 men survived this attack unwounded. They were withdrawn from the line on 13th April. This action and the casualties from other battalions of Seaforths are commemorated with the Seaforths Cross at Fampoux.  Frederick Teare was wounded leading his platoon in this action and died of his wounds in no 26 military hospital on 23 April 1917 aged 40 years. He is buried in Etaples military cemetery and his name is recorded on the Peel War memorial.

Frederick’s brother Frank Teare served in the Canadian Army and was killed on the 10 April 1917 in the attack on Vimy Ridge just a few miles from Fampoux.

Back to WW1 Teare memorial page

More on Seaforth Highlanders and battle of Arras at

Memorial to Seaforth Highlanders, Fampoux

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