(868214) "C" Bty., 4th Reg't Royal Horse Artillery

Born: Abt Nov 1917, Penrith, Westmorland

Died: 6 June 1942, Egypt (Age 24)

Alexander Gordon Tallentire was born around November 1917 in the Penrith registration district. He was the fourth son of Alexander Gordon Tallentire (Senior) and his wife Annie Elizabeth (nee Simpson). His father was working as a Farm Hand in Maunby, near Thirsk in Yorkshire at the time of the 1911 census. The family seem to have moved around, probably to find work, as their children were each born in a different area. We know they lived in Whitehaven for a while around 1920 but had moved to Greenside Cottages, Glenridding by 1940, as both his father and brother John Richard are listed as employees of the Greenside mine.

We do not know exactly when Alexander enlisted or was 'called up'. We do know that by mid 1940, he was a Lance Bombadier, in Mersa Matruh, Egypt, with 'C' Battery 4th Regiment Royal Horse Artillery, so to have obtained a promotion (one stripe) it is likely that he would have been in the Regiment for several months (probably joining late 1939/early 1940). The 4th Regiment Royal Horse Artillery was formed at Helmieh in Egypt in May 1939 and was equipped with the 25-pounder Mk VP guns.

When Italy declared war in June 1940, the British Army was heavily outnumbered by the Italians, so British Commander-in-Chief, the famous General (The Earl) Archibald Wavell, formulated a plan with his senior commanders to retain the initiative by harassing the enemy using mobile all-arms flying columns. It was 'C' Battery, under Lt. Col. 'Jock' Campbell's brilliant command of one of these columns, that led to them being given the generic name 'Jock columns'. During one of these actions, on the 15th and 16th June 1940, that Alexander's courage and devotion to duty led his Commanding Officer to recommend the award of the Military Medal.

British 25 Pounder Gun

The award was finally announced on the 1st April 1941 in the London Gazette.

This is the citation written by Lt.Col. Jock Campbell. It is finally approved by the General Archibald Wavell.

On the 8th December 1940, 4th Regiment RHA fired the opening rounds against the Italians at Sidi Barrani, before advancing westwards, as part of the 7th Armoured Division, and saw action again in January 1941 at Bardia, the capture of Tobruk and at Beda Fomm.

The CWGC Certificate records that Alexander died on the 6th June 1942, which suggests hat he was killed during the Battle of Gazala, which was fought around the port of Tobruk in Libya from the 26th May to the 21st June 1942. The combatants on the Axis side were the Panzer Army Afrika, consisting of German and Italian units and commanded by the "Desert Fox" Colonel-General Erwin Rommel; the Allied forces were the Eighth Army, commanded by Lieutenant-General Neil Ritchie under the close supervision of the new Commander-in-Chief Middle East, General Sir Claude Auchinleck. The battle eventually led to an allied defeat and the loss of Tobruk.

The Medal Records for WW2 servicemen are contained within their service records, which have not been made publicly available. We know from the CWGC Certificate that he was awarded the Military Medal whilst serving in Egypt and, having served for at least two years before he was killed, he qualified for, and would also have been posthumously awarded, the following medals1:

1939-1945 Star

1939-1945 British War Medal

The Africa Star

L/Bdr Alexander TALLENTIRE is remembered and commemorated on:

The Patterdale War Memorial

The Alamein Memorial, Egypt (Column 5)

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission Memorial Certificate

What became of his family?


His father, Alexander Gordon Tallentire (Senior), was born in Edenhall, near Penrith around May 1885. He married Annie Elizabeth Simpson in the East Ward registration district of Westmorland around November 1908. He died around February 1964 in the Penrith registration district at the age of 78. Annie Elizabeth was born in Morland, Westmorland around August 1887.


His eldest brother, Isaac William Tallentire, was born on the 12th August 1909 in Milburn, Westmorland. He married Evelyn Strand in Whitehaven in early 1936 and died there on the 5th April 1977 aged 67.

Older brother Aaron Harrison Tallentire was born around January 1911 in Maunby, near Thirsk in Yorkshire. He married Rebecca J Hill around August 1938 in Penrith and died there around May 1964 aged 53.

His brother John Richard Tallentire was born in the Auckland registration district around May 1913. He married Evelyn Mary Voletti at St Patrick's Church, Patterdale on the 1st March 1941.

His younger, and only sister, Gladys May Tallentire was born on the 28th June 1920 in Whitehaven, Cumberland. She married Robert Iredale Dawes, a Grocery Traveller, around May 1941 in South Westmorland but they moved to Glenridding soon afterwards, first living at Greenside (probably with her parents) and then at Greystones, Glenridding, They were still there when Robert died on the 26th June 1977 and when Gladys died, perhaps in Carlisle Infirmary, on the 13th February 1984. They are both buried in St Patrick's Churchyard.


1. Medals

The Military Medal was established during the First World War by King George V on March 25th, 1916, a year and a half after Britain had declared war on Germany. Its inception was intended to meet the enormous demand for medals during the First World War. The medal was initially awarded to Warrant Officers, Non-Commissioned Officers and men of the army, including the Royal Flying Corps and Royal Naval Division, for individual or associated acts of bravery which were insufficient to merit the Distinguished Conduct Medal. A bar could be awarded for subsequent acts of bravery. The Military Medal, which had to be recommended by a Commander-in Chief in the field, was not restricted to British or Commonwealth subjects, but foreign subjects could be awarded as well. By a warrant dated June 21st, 1916, women also became eligible for the medal for devotion to duty under fire. Conferment of the medal was announced in the London Gazette and recipients earned the right to add the letters MM to their names.

1939-1945 Star - This star was awarded for service in the Second World War between 3rd September 1939 and 2nd September 1945. Royal Navy personnel had to complete 6 months service afloat in active operational areas. Army personnel had to complete 6 months service in an operational command. Airborne troops qualified if they had participated in any airborne operations and had completed 2 months service in a fully operational unit. RAF personnel had to participate in operations against the enemy providing that 2 months service had been completed in an operational unit. Non-aircrew personnel had to complete 6 months service in an area of operational army command. Merchant Navy qualified if they completed 6 months service, and at least 1 voyage was made through an operational area. Members of fighter aircraft crews who took part in the Battle of Britain (10 July to 31 October 1940) were awarded the "Battle of Britain" bar to this medal.

The criteria is 180 days’ service, although some special criteria apply when, at certain specified times, just 1 days’ service is required. These were actions for which a more specific campaign medal was not issued. Examples are: France or Belgium: 10 May to 19 June 1940, St.Nazaire 22-28 March 1942, Dieppe: 19 August 1942, Iraq: 10 April to 25 May 1941 and Burma (Enemy Invasion): 22 February 1942 to 15 May 1942.

Also recipients were awarded this star if their service period was terminated by their death or disability due to service. Also the award of a gallantry medal or Mention in Despatches also produced the award of this medal, regardless of their service duration.

1939-1945 British War Medal - The War Medal 1939–1945 was a British decoration awarded to all full time service personnel of the Armed Forces wherever their service during the war was rendered. Operational and non-operational service counted provided personnel had completed 28 days service between 3rd September 1939 and the 2nd September 1945. In the Merchant Navy there was the requirement that 28 days should be served at sea.

Personnel who were eligible for a campaign star yet who had their service cut short by death, wounds or capture by the enemy, still qualified for this medal. Eligible personnel who had been mentioned in dispatches during the War were entitled to wear a bronze oak leaf emblem on the ribbon. Those War Medals issued to UK personnel were not officially inscribed. However, those issued to Australian and South African personnel were officially inscribed. It is sometimes described as the "Victory Medal" for World War II, although that is not its correct name.

The Africa Star - awarded for 1 or more days’ service in North Africa, Malta or Egypt between 10 June 1940 and 12 May 1943. The qualifying areas for the Africa Star also include the earlier areas of conflict against the Italians in East Africa; those serving in Abyssinia, Sudan, Eritrea, Kenya or Somaliland between certain other specified dates will also qualify.

Naval personnel anywhere at sea in the Mediterranean or in harbour in North Africa, Malta or Egypt between the above dates will qualify. Those serving in direct support of the Eritrean and Abyssinian campaigns between certain other specified dates will also qualify.

RAF air crew landing in or flying over an area of an Army operational command or flying over enemy occupied territory in North Africa will also qualify.

Service with either the 1st or 8th Army in North Africa during certain specified dates will qualify for award of the ‘1st Army’ or ‘8th Army’ clasp to be worn on the ribbon of the Africa Star.

Provided neither the 1st or 8th Army clasps have been qualified for, staff of the 18 Army Group Headquarters who served between certain specified dates under a specified General will qualify for award of the clasp ‘North Africa 1942-43’.

2. The Alamein Memorial forms the entrance to Alamein War Cemetery. The Land Forces panels commemorate more than 8,500 soldiers of the Commonwealth who died in the campaigns in Egypt and Libya, and in the operations of the Eighth Army in Tunisia up to 19 February 1943, who have no known grave. It also commemorates those who served and died in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Persia. The Memorial was designed by Sir Hubert Worthington and unveiled by Field Marshal The Rt. Hon. Viscout Montgomery of Alamein on 24 October 1954. More Details

Research Documents

1911 Census - Alexander G Tallentire Snr and family in Maunby nr Thirsk

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission Memorial Certificate

Alexander Gordon TALLENTIRE, Death Report, C&W Herald - Jun 1942

Military Medal - Fathers Invitation to Investiture - Jan 1943

Military Medal Investiture - Covering Letter for his parents Rail Warrant - May 1943

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Page Editor: Norman Jackson

PageLast Reviewed: 24 Feb 2021