Beeston Boys' Brigade in The Great War -
The late Ray Smedley, who supplied much of the detail of our Roll of Honour of the Great War, was a long-time
member of the Beeston Old Boys' Association, which was formed for those who have been members of the Boys' Brigade in Beeston. This account outline of the period
leading up to the Great War, the remarkable response of its Old Boys at the outbreak of war and the terrible price
paid by many of its members is based on his work, carried out of many years. We are indeed grateful for his contribution.
A Summer of Calm Before the Storm - In early July 1914, 114 members and officers of the Beeston Boys Brigade held their annual camp at a particularly delightful site at East Runton,
near Cromer. All agreed that it was one of the best week's holiday that the company had enjoyed.
A fatigue party under Lieutenant J. W. Adams and D. Pearson arrived on the campsite on Monday 29th June to be joined on the Wednesday by six more members
under the command of Staff-Sergeant James Martin; the remainder of the Company left Beeston on Saturday 4th July and arrived at Cromer at 7.20pm in good spirits after
a five-hour journey.
During an eventful week, everyone was able to enjoy the beauty and attractions of the Norfolk coastline. Bathing parades, held every morning before breakfast, were greatly enjoyed, there were outings to
local beauty spots and places of interest and a hike was organised through the beautiful countryside. Drumhead services were held on the Sunday. Football and cricket, as always, were popular pastimes,
in every spare moment and in two organised football matches against local sides. The brass band was much admired and gave a concert for the people of East Runton which was most appreciated.
The camp came to a close on July 11th and the Company arrived back in Beeston 9.10pm, where they marched to the Square and then were dismissed after "God Save the King" and the "Last Post"
sounded by three selected buglers. A full account of the week appeared in the Beeston Gazette and Echo dated July 18th;
Click here to see the full text.
This was to be the last camp for many of the members of the company and the Old Boys. In less than a month's time, a war that was to begin in which 40 members made the "Supreme Sacrifice"
in the cause of freedom There is little doubt that, in the coming months and years, there would be many that looked back on this happy time they had spent together.
James Martin a member of the fatigue party and Dann Humphreys who attended the camp were part of the first contingent to volunteer for service but were never to return home.
Both were killed in the following year at Gallipoli.
The Call to Arms - by the time Britain went to war with Germany in August 1914, membership of the Beeston Company had reached 300 and there was a very high level of comradeship and
patriotism amongst the membership and its Old Boys' Association. The Old Boys responded to the Country's call immediately - encouraged very actively by Stephen Hetley Pearson. A party of these pals - 27 in all
in this initial contingent - marched from the club to a Recruitment Centre in Nottingham with Captain Pearson, in late August 1914. In all, 24 of this group enlisted in the Sherwood Foresters
"Notts & Derby" Regiment. Their names and their almost sequential service numbers were:
|13850 S Burdett||13851 J Lea||13854 J Paling|
|13858 J W Hart||13859 H Hazzledine||13860 W F Booth|
|13867 H Lee||13870 S C Lee||13873 C A Turton|
|13881 F Ironmonger||13883 W D Humphreys||13901 A Johnson|
|13903 J Martin||13904 A Spencer||13905 A Tebbutt|
|13907 W Brackner||13908 G Brackner||13910 F Hazzledine|
|13919 A Roberts||13933 A Mee||13934 A E Turton|
|14066 A Lowe||14068 H Harper||14069 T Glover|
In addition, two (W Dean and C W Joynes) joined the Army Service Corps. Of this initial contingent, only sixteen would survive the forthcoming holocaust.
Click on the picture on the left to see the Old Boys cricket team, featured on a postcard sent by Stephen Hetley Pearson on 4 September 1914. In the message he writes, "27 of our old Boys
have enlisted, 2 in A.S.C. and 25 in Notts & Derby (9th)...". Those that had enlisted from the team - virtually all of eligible age - he had marked with a cross.
Those that enlisted at this very early stage were to be followed by many more during the four years of the War. The tragedy was that 42 of these fine young men were among those who were never to return. By the end of
1917, this had included Stephen Hetley Pearson himself, killed while serving in France as a Second Lieutenant with the Grenadier Guards. A generation of young men had been decimated.
Those who lost their lives are remembered on a memorial in the Old Boys' headquarters. Stephen Hetley Pearson's cap is also preserved at the Pearson Centre as a memorial to him. The roll of honour below is
intended to be a further memorial to these brave young men who made the Supreme Sacrifice.
Beeston Old Boys - Roll of Honour
Every member who is known to have lost his life is listed here; click any underlined name for more details
1915 - Galipoli
William Daniel HUMPHREYS,
Eric Geoffrey LUNTLEY,
Albert Edward TURTON,
Others in 1915
Wilfred Frank BOOTH,
Cyril Arthur TURTON,
Bernard Henry SPRAY,
Thomas Frederick SWEENEY
Alfred Nathan SIBLEY,
Frank William Val PILMORE,
George Henry GIMSON
John George STAFFORD,
Harry Edward RYALL
Samuel Leonard HARTSHORN,
William Shrewsbury SHARPE,
Ernest Stanley TONKS,
Horace Edward BLACKWELL,
Stephen Hetley PEARSON
1918 & Beyond
William Robert JACKSON,
Thomas William RILEY,
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