b. 02/10/1893 Belfast, Ireland. d. 28/02/1961 Belfast, Northern Ireland.
DATE AND PLACE OF GC ACTION: 10/12/1928 Sheerness, Kent.
Thomas Patrick McTeague (1893-1962) was born on 2nd October 1893 in Belfast, the son of Thomas Patrick McTeague and his wife Elizabeth (nee Quinn). He was one of eight children. All the children attended St Anthony’s Public Elementary School, Millfield, Belfast. Three of the younger boys Edward, Thomas and John joined the British Army at the outbreak of World War I in 1914. John was killed on 16th August 1917 in Flanders at the age of 19. Thomas served as Private No 8722 in the 2nd Royal Irish Rifles before being promoted to Lance Corporal.
On 26th January 1918, the London Gazette published the announcement of Thomas’ award of the DCM where he captured two parties of the enemy in an attack, and later carried an important message back to battalion headquarters, being wounded in the process. He refused to have his wound dressed afterwards.
After being demobbed in 1919, he immediately joined the RAF and served under Lord Tedder and Arthur (later Bomber) Harris in the Far East and Middle East. He was an air gunner in twin engine bi-planes. When he returned to Belfast he was stationed at RAF Aldergrove. Tommy married Minnie Donnelly and they had two sons, Tom and Ernest, and two daughters, Kathleen and Jean. He was then posted to the Armament and Gunnery School in Kent.
On 10th December 1928, off Leysdown, Kent, Pilot Officer Constantine crashed into the sea about 200 yards off shore. Corporal McTeague and Flying Officer Anderson immediately entered the sea and swam to help. The weather was cold, the wind strong and the sea was fairly rough. Constantine had begun to swim ashore, but was in a state of collapse when McTeague reached him. McTeague supported him until Anderson reached them, and he brought to safety by their combined efforts.
Thomas and Walter Anderson were awarded the Empire Gallantry Medal of the Military Division on 12th April 1929. Thomas then returned to Belfast and RAF Aldergrove. At the outbreak of World War II he was a Recruiting Sergeant successfully enlisting men from both Northern Ireland and the Republic (despite the Republic being neutral). In 1942, he attended an investiture with Walter Anderson at Buckingham Palace for the George Cross.
Tommy passed away on 28th February 1961 whilst staying with his sister in Belfast. The funeral was held at Holy Cross Church, Ardoyne, Belfast and he was buried in Milltown Cemetery. Tommy’s sister and other members of the family were also buried in the same plot and although he was the first to be buried there, there is no headstone for him. The grave was later purchased by the RAF. Tommy’s medals including the GC, DCM , 1914 Star, British War Medal 1914-20, Victory Medal 1914-19 and 1953 Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Medal are privately held.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: PRIVATELY HELD.
BURIAL PLACE: MILTOWN CEMETERY, BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND.