Prescot Roll of Honour

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WW1 Casualty: Private 8456 Joseph Beadle -

Private 8456 Joseph Beadle

Unit/Regiment 2nd Bn, South Lancashire Regiment
Date of Death 24/10/1914 Age at Death 32
& Reference
Le Touret Memorial
Panel 23
Census Details 1901 Census -
19 year old Joseph was already a regular soldier, and was based at Chatham Barracks, Kent
SDGW – Where Born Beachampton, Buckinghamshire
Enlisted Chatham, Kent
How Died Killed In Action Theatre of War France & Flanders
Research Ref. No. P011

Service Details

Joseph married Alice Mason in Liverpool in the Spring of 1914. Their daughter Josephine was born in Prescot in late 1914, by which time her father had already been killed (which is probably why she was called Josephine).

Serving as a soldier of the regular army, Joseph and the 2nd Battalion of the South Lancashire Regiment landed in France on 14th August 1914, just over a week after the outbreak of war. They disembarked at Le Havre with a strength of 27 officers and 980 other ranks, and then travelled by train to Mauberge.

They marched over the next few days through areas of northern France where the civilian population turned out in droves to meet and salute them, ultimately arriving at St Hilaire on the 20th. On the 21st, they again marched off, this time towards the Belgian border, finally arriving at Framieres in the late afternoon of the 22nd. They were then informed that the Germans had occupied Brussels and that the next day they would be moving forward to engage the enemy.

On the morning of the 23rd they marched off and by mid-afternoon they could see shells bursting over Mons some two miles away. Battle was imminent. By 5.30, they were entrenched and ready for action.

Early next morning, the 24th, shortly before 4 a.m., the German infantry in masses and firing from the hip, came straight for the positions occupied by the Battalion, and were met by the defenders with rifle and machine-gun fire.

The battle raged for several hours and over 1,000 German troops were estimated to have been killed. But after several hours of intense fighting against overwhelming odds, the Battalion was forced to retire from their positions covering the Mons-Conde canal to avoid being outflanked. The retreat from Mons had commenced.

Regimental History of the South Lancs -

"On the 20th October, the Battalion, on the right of the 7th Brigade, was holding water-logged trenches near Le Transloy, north of La Bassee, With A and C Companies, under Capt F A Bagley and Captain C W Melvill, in the front line. In the afternoon a determined attack was delivered on the trenches held by these companies and was only repusled after bitter fighting, in which Lt Waldy and a number of men were killed, and Captain Bagley, Lieutenant Sleigh and many other ranks wounded. The remaining two companies, under Captain L W Herbert and Captain F M Colvile, were at once sent up in support, and remained in the front line for the night.

The morning of 21st October was misty. and at 7 am, the Germans, under cover of the fog, again attacked, surprising the Left Company of the Battalion and effecting an entry into the position. The remaining companies were now taken in enfilade, and the whole Battalion was eventually forced back, together with 2 companies of the 3rd Worcestershires, who were on the left. Desperate efforts were made by the enemy to extend the gap thus created, but the troops on the flanks held on unflinchingly, and the danger passed.

The Battalion on the 21st lost 7 officers and over 200 other ranks, killed, wounded and missing. The remnants of the unit were now sent back to billets near the Bois de Biez, mustering 10 officer and about 300 men."

Although Pte Beadle is reported as being killed in action on 24th, it seems highly likely that he was actually killed on 20th or 21st. His body was never identified and he is remembered on the Le Touret Memorial.

I suspect that his widow, Alice, was living in Prescot and submitted his name to the Revd Mitchell for inclusion among the town's list of casualties as he appears in the lists produced in the Parish Magazine

The Register of Soldiers Effects lists Joseph's widow, Alice, as the recipient of his effects

Private Beadle's Medal Index Card shows that he arrived in France on 27th August 1914, two weeks after the initial arrival of the battalion in France. It further notes that he was presumed dead (PD) on 24th October. He was an 'Old Contemptible' and was entitled to the 1914 Star, the Victory Medal and the British War Medal.

Private Beadle's inscription on the Le Touret Memorial

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