Albert Edward Beaumont

Rifleman Albert Edward Beaumont, Service Number 3028 of the London Regiment 18th (County of London) London Irish Rifles, died of wounds after being struck by shrapnel in the stomach on 2nd July 1915.

Early Life

The 1911 Census had the Beaumont family living in St Paul’s School, 105, St Paul’s Road East Cliff, Bournemouth, William (Head) and Jane and their five children, plus servant. Edith was the eldest—a wool store assistant, next was Albert a pupil teacher ( which according to Martial Rose, was a recommended way of entering the profession before being formally trained ). According to the enumerator, Albert’s younger sister, Ethel was also a pupil teacher, but her future was not recorded. Harold at fourteen had completed his education and was an Auctioneer’s clerk, and the youngest, Cecil, at eleven, was at school. Their only servant was Beatrice who at the age of eighteen would have been trained up for a life in service.

The fact that there were two pupil teachers in the family would have been down to William as he was an elementary school master, and the family lived in the accommodation that came with the job.

Winchester Training College

Albert would have taken his entrance exam in December 1901 and entered Winchester Training College in September 1904 for the two year course aged 20. He had spent time as a pupil teacher at British Boys School Richmond Surrey, which was one of the ways to gain practical teacher training at that time.

The Bournemouth Daily Echo from Tuesday 9th September 1902 carries an interesting article under the heading of The Central Schools, Bournemouth:

A very interesting presentation took place yesterday in the above schools, when the Rev Canon Eliot presented Mr A.E. Beaumont, son of the headmaster, with a handsome travelling trunk and set of brushes, on his leaving for Winchester Training College, he having obtained a King’s Scholarship there. The Rev C.S. Burrows also presented a very handsome book, entitled “Palestine Illustrated”. Mr A.E. Beaumont suitably replied.

He arrived at the time of Leggett and Smoker, students whose memoirs of the time feature prominently in later histories of the college. Both stressed the importance of gaining the training before entering the college as this so often gave them an advantage over the post graduates who completed theirs after gaining their degrees. At this time there was a requirement that students should join B company of the 1st Hampshire Rifle Volunteer Corps, and Albert would have been a part of this, with training being given at different times of the year. The College Inspectors felt that this type of training gave the whole person a chance to develop and would be of benefit in future employment.

from the Wintonian Magazine

Beaumont was a member of the College football team and this was noted in the Wintonian, 1903-1904 when he was playing football for the reserves. In April his football skills were praised in a report, ‘ Beaumont, whose tackling and strong kicking have been of good service..’. In the annual match at Bar End of Hampshire versus England, Beaumont played on the Hampshire side. In another report he was mentioned as a defender.

In October at a concert to welcome the new Juniors, Albert sang as part of a glee group.

After leaving Winchester Training College, the letter below from his father to Principal Wainwright shows him as a teacher of languages in Ghent from 1910 to 1914, and was the last Englishman to leave the city when the Germans occupied it. He got through the German lines into Holland, and landed in England just before Christmas.

To War

Once back home, he joined the 18th Battalion The London Regiment. After training in early 1915, he returned to the Western Front—this time to France via Le Havre. As part of the 47th Division, Albert would have seen action at the Battle of Aubers Ridge (May) and Festubert (also late May ) before being transferred to the Headquarters Staff as an interpreter. In the War Diary from March until Albert was killed at the beginning of July, we read that his Battalion alternated with the 20th Battalion, and life rotated through rest days, deployment in the trenches where the suffered shelling, and training.

The War Diary states:

29th June Quiet day. Light shelling by enemy but no damage done work commenced in B line

30th June Enemy shelled Batt HQ and neighbourhood with H E shell. 4 casualties. Considerable damage done to north observation station. Work in B Line continued.

July 1st Enemy shelled neighbourhood HQ at intervals throughout the day only damage done to north observation station. Work continued in B line and repairs to observation station

July 2nd Ditto

This suggests that Albert was hit on the 30th June, although he isn’t mentioned in the War Diary. He subsequently died of wounds two days later

Letter from Mr W Beaumont to the Principal

“It is with the deepest regret that I am writing to inform you of the death of my son A E Beaumont, who was a student of the College. After leaving College he was an Assistant Master in England. Then he went abroad, first to Germany as a teacher of English, and for the last three years he was at Ghent in one of the Secondary Schools. He left Ghent at the beginning of December 1914, and came to England and joined the London Irish Rifles in London. With his Battalion he was sent to France, about April 1915. For two months he was fighting in the trenches, and afterwards appointed official interpreter to his Battalion, and was stationed at Headquarters. He was most proficient in several European languages (French, German, Flemish, Dutch etc). On July 1st the Germans severely shelled the Headquarters. Unfortunately a piece of shrapnel struck him in the stomach, and on the 2nd he passed away peacefully in his sleep.”

Albert Edward Beaumont was buried at Mazingarbe Communal Cemetery, Grave Number 97. It is a small cemetery with only 108 burials, mainly from the Irish Division. The location is to the north of Arras and to the west of Lille, the cemetery lay outside the village boundary, although it has now been absorbed into the town ( as evidenced from the British Trench Map of the time and Google Maps).

 

Researcher and Author: John Westwood

Sources

Ancestry (2018) Home page. [online] Available at: www.ancestry.co.uk [Accessed 2018].

British Newspaper Archive (2018). Bournemouth Daily Echo – Tuesday 09 September 1902, p.3. [online] Available at: https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/viewer/bl/0000638/19020909/057/0003 [Accessed 2018].

Commonwealth War Graves Commission, (2018). Home page. [online] Available at www.cwgc.org/ [Accessed 2018].

The Long Long Trail, (2018). Welcome to the long long trail. [online] Available at http://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/ [Accessed 2018].

Rose, M. (1981) A history of King Alfred’s College, Winchester 1840-1980. London: Phillimore.

Vickers, J. The University of Winchester Chapel Memorial Rail image.

 

University of Winchester Archive – Hampshire Record Office
Reference code Record
47M91W/ P2/4 The Wintonian 1899-1900
47M91W/ P2/5 The Wintonian 1901-1902
47M91W/ P2/6 The Wintonian 1903-1904
47M91W/ P2/7 The Wintonian 1904-1906
47M91W/ P2/8 The Wintonian 1905-1907
47M91W/ P2/10 The Wintonian 1908-1910
47M91W/ P2/11 The Wintonian 1910-1914
47M91W/ P2/12 The Wintonian 1920-1925
47M91W/ D1/2 The Student Register
47M91W/ S5//5/10 Photograph of 5 alumni in Mesopotamia
47M91W/ Q3/6 A Khaki Diary
47M91W/ B1/2 Reports of Training College 1913-1914
47M91W/ Q1/5 Report and Balance Sheets 1904- 1949
47M91W/ R2/5 History of the Volunteers Company 1910
47M91W/ L1/2 College Rules 1920
Hampshire Record Office archive
71M88W/6 List of Prisoners at Kut
55M81W/PJ1 Managers’ Minute Book 1876-1903
All material referenced as 47M91W/ is the copyright of The University of Winchester. Permission to reproduce photographs and other material for this narrative has been agreed by the University and Hampshire Record Office.