Date of Birth: 10 September 1895
Rank: Second Lieutenant
Killed in Action: 11 April 1917, Kowar Reach, Nr Baghdad
Grave Memorial ref: XIX B10, Baghdad (North Gate) War Cemetery
Age at Death: 21
Max Teglio was the son of Italian immigrants, one of many who left Genoa in the 1880s at a time of harsh economic social conditions. Settling in Plymouth, the family set up a flourishing fish curing business and moved to live in Down Road, Tavistock. Max joined Kelly College in 1907 and left in 1912 having played both rugby and cricket for the School. Initially, he trained as an accountant but then enlisted in March 1915 as a private soldier in the Royal Fusiliers and served in France for four months. He was granted a commission as 2nd Lieutenant in the Devonshire Regiment in August 1916, aided by a reference from Kelly’s Chaplain.
In January 1917, he was attached to the 9th Worcester Battalion and posted to Mesopotamia (now Iraq) where a long drawn out campaign against Turkey, then allies of Germany, was underway to attack Bagdad. He led troops across the River Tigris amid heavy sniping and shelling ‘rather enjoying the experience’. After the fall of Baghdad, he wrote to the School and described ‘that he had come in time to see the fun’ and how pleased the inhabitants were to see British forces, adding that the flies were driving him mad. At the same time, he added his name to a list founding scholarships for the sons of Old Kelleians who fell on active service.
In April 1917, his Battalion advanced against Turkish positions at Kowar Reach 50 miles north of Baghdad when, tragically, he was shot through the heart, dying almost at once. A burial service was held the following night at the place where he died and then later his body was moved to the CWGC cemetery in Baghdad. The Commanding Officer said “I can testify to his keenness in his work and his high sense of devotion to duty and, although he did not belong to the Worcesters, in the two months he had been with us, he had become one of us, and we shall miss him greatly”. The inscription on his grave stone reads: ‘Our dear Max beloved son of William and Jennie Teglio’. Its poignancy was more so as Max’s one sibling, a sister, died without having children. Max’s name is on the Kelly and Tavistock War memorials and also on the Role of Honour in St Mary’s Church, Rattery, Devon.
Submitted by David Anthony (OMK 1950-1955)