Beech, William Garfield

Age: 33
Date of birth: 1884

Parents: William and Alice Beech
Wife: Single
Address: 51 Smith Street

Occupation: Butcher

Known as Garfield, he was born in 1884 in the St. Nicholas area of Warwick.

His father, William was a butcher in Smith Street. His mother was called Alice. They had 5 other children, Florence, Francis, Maud, Elizabeth and Eva.

They attended the Wesleyan Chapel in Barrack Street.
At the age of 18, Garfield was ‘British Trooper 20039’ in the Imperial Army 2nd Battalion, serving at the end of the Boer War in 1902. he was awarded the Queen’s South Africa Medal. In 1909 he was a gunner, and though he had left the army he did annual training between 1910 and 1912.

Warwick Advertiser 2nd October, 1915
“Beech – Killed in action in the Dardanelles on August 31st, Private William G Beech, Warwickshire Yeomanry, son of William Beech, Smith Street, Warwick, aged 33 years.”

In his will Garfield left £125-12s-7d to the Beech family.
He was commemorated on the family headstone in the Warwick Birmingham Road Cemetery, on which the inscription reads:

In Loving Memory of
SARAH ELIZABETH BEECH born June 4th 1874 died February 24th 1897.
Also of ALICE the dearly beloved wife of WILLIAM BEECH who died March 13th 1915 aged 78.
And their son WILLIAM GARFIELD BEECH (Warwickshire Yeomanry) killed in action at the Dardanelles August 31st 1915 aged 31.
Also of the above WILLIAM BEECH died April 13th 1919 aged 80

Garfield was remembered a year later in the Warwick Advertiser and also had his name put forward to the Warwick War Memorial Committee, headed by Lady Nelson.  He is also commemorated at the Yeomanry Memorial situated in St Mary’s Church, Warwick:

 

Military Service

Rank & Number: Private, 2161
Regiment/Service: 1st/1st Warwickshire Yeomanry
Brigade/Division: Mounted Brigade, 1st South Midland Division
Date of death: Tuesday, August 31, 1915
Cause of death/Battle: Killed in action - Gallipoli
Commemorated/Buried: Green Hill Cemetery, Turkey
Awards: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal
Commemorated locally at: St Nicholas Church, Yeomanry Memorial St Mary's Church

Garfield sailed to Alexandria, Egypt on the Wayfarer, arriving there on the 24th April 1915. From there he went to Gallipoli, where he landed on 20th August 1915. He was killed 7 days later.

This article shows Garfield to be a popular member of his unit, who helped with cooking supper, sorting the post and so on.

Contributors

  • Unlocking Warwick Research Group
  • Warwick Advertiser excerpts and Shrine Application courtesy of Warwickshire County Record Office
  • Photo of Pte Beech’s grave marker at Green Hill Cemetery kindly provided by Warren Smith of the Warwickshire Yeomanry Museum Team

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