Teddy Trueland: soldier and prisoner of war

Henry 'Teddy' Trueland featured in the Dundee Courier at the time of his enlistment. Image © D.C.Thomson & Co. Ltd, created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD and digitised by the British Newspaper Archive.

Henry ‘Teddy’ Trueland featured in the Dundee Courier at the time of his enlistment. Image © D.C.Thomson & Co. Ltd, created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD and digitised by the British Newspaper Archive.

Alison Wallace shares the story of Teddy Trueland, taken prisoner during the First World War, and how she’s using Lives of the First World War to help tell his story.

I’m remembering Private Henry ‘Teddy’ Trueland on Lives of the First World War. Henry, also known as Harry, was an employee of DC Thomson & Co Ltd, and his picture appeared, along with over 100 other employees of the Dundee Courier who had enlisted, in the newspaper on Thursday 04 February 1915.

Dundee Courier 107 enlisted men

Teddy Trueland’s photo is number 43 in a montage showing the Dundee Courier’s enlisted men, published in February 1915. Image © D.C.Thomson & Co. Ltd, created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD, digitised by the British Newspaper Archive.

Researching Henry’s story

I have no family members who served in the First World War, but I felt immediately connected to these people employed by the same company as me almost 100 years ago. I wanted to remember all of them.

I felt immediately connected to these people employed by the same company as me almost 100 years ago.

With permission from The Courier, I added Henry’s picture from the montage to his Life Story page, and used Scotland’s People to find his birth and death records, which I added as External References.

Teddy survived the war, and died in 1932. His cause of death is listed as ‘Paraplegia, 14 years’, and I wondered if this was in any way connected to his war service. I used the official records in Lives of the First World War to find Henry’s date of discharge due to sickness in 1917.

As a reservist, he had previously served with the army, so I also found him in the 1911 census with his regiment before the First World War in Cawnpore, India.

Henry in the headlines

From there, I was able to discover what happened to Henry during the war using the British Newspaper Archive. There were many articles documenting his disappearance. There were headlines like ‘COURIER RESERVIST MISSING’, and then reports on his capture, such as ‘DUNDEE RESERVISTS WHO WERE REPORTED MISSING ARE PRISONERS OF WAR’.

The Dundee Courier reported Henry's return from Germany on Friday 27 August 1915. Image © D.C.Thomson & Co. Ltd,  created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD and digitised by the British Newspaper Archive.

The Dundee Courier reported Henry’s return from Germany on Friday 27 August 1915. Image © D.C.Thomson & Co. Ltd, created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD and digitised by the British Newspaper Archive.

Then I read about his injury due to an accident whilst he was a prisoner of war, and his ‘miracle’ recovery in London afterwards.

Who else remembers Teddy Trueland?

I still have more questions about Henry. I’d really like to know what happened to him after the war, what his life was like, and how his disability affected him. I’m hoping that a family member in Dundee remembers Henry too, and is able to add some more detail to his Life Story.

On Tuesday 13 March 1917 the Dundee Courier reported that Henry was recovering from his injuries. Image © D.C.Thomson & Co. Ltd, created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD and digitised by the British Newspaper Archive.

On Tuesday 13 March 1917 the Dundee Courier reported that Henry was recovering from his injuries. Image © D.C.Thomson & Co. Ltd, created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD and digitised by the British Newspaper Archive.

I’ve added Henry to a Community page for employees of the Dundee Courier, and will continue to try to connect the Life Stories to the 107 pictures of servicemen’s faces on that 1915 newspaper feature.

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