William George Beech

Rank: 
Private
Regimental number: 
55561
Unit at enlistment: 
19th Battalion
Force: 
C.E.F.
Volunteered or conscripted: 
Volunteered
Survived the war: 
Yes
Wounded: 
Yes
Commemorated at: 
Wellington Street Methodist Church
Birth country: 
England
Birth county: 
Greater London
Birth city: 
London, Edmonton
Address at enlistment: 
18 Grey Street, Brantford, Ontario
Next of kin address: 
18 Grey Street, Brantford, Ontario
Trade or calling: 
Labourer
Employer: 
Massey-Harris Co.
Religious denominations: 
Church of England
Marital status: 
Single
Age at enlistment: 
18

Letters and documents

BX November 12, 1914

Duffs Camp at Toronto – Bugler Beech Says Meals Have Improved and Things Are Going Satisfactorily

The Dufferin Rifles second active service company now training at the Exhibition Camp in Toronto is getting along fine. The Expositor has received the following letter from Bugler Beech, who is company bugler.

November 10, 1914
Exhibition Grounds,
Toronto

The Expositor,

We are getting settled now and getting right down to work. We were a little unsettled for the first day or two, and a little homesick. The meals were rather bad and yesterday a big crowd got in front of headquarters and kicked up an awful row, but the officers quieted them down and the meals have been quite a bit better.

I am still working as a bugler for that’s the life for me. It’s a cinch. We take turns as orderly bugler, and there are 18 of us, one every day.

At the time I am writing the wind is blowing and the lake is washing over the breakwater, but it is a fine sight and lots of the boys are down looking at it, being allowed off parade on account of the rain. The Y.M.C.A. has rigged up a recreation room and is supplying us with free papers, and the men certainly appreciate it, there being a library, games, piano and a good recreation room. We have our football team together, but we haven’t played yet. The boys are getting into fine shape drilling from 9 until 12 o’clock and 2 until 5 p.m.

It is pretty cool down here in the mornings and evenings, but the boys get a lot of doubling and that keeps them warm and gives them an appetite for the Y.M.C.A. pies for which they are charging 20¢. I suppose they have to pay for sorting the spies out of the apples before they can bring them into camp.

We are all anxious to get a smack at the Germans and we are fretting with impatience to get away. But we are always up by reveille, which is sounded at 6 o’clock. It is too bad that they won’t let us up-town without a pass, but I suppose that is discipline, and we do get a look at the opposite sex, and they visit us in large numbers in the evenings.

Well, there’s the bugle calling cookhouse, so I’d better quit or I won’t get any supper. You have to be on the spot down here. Well, so long.

Bugler W. Beech
38th Regiment, D.R.C.,
Exhibition Grounds
Toronto

P.S. – There were none of our boys in that row yesterday

BX January 12, 1916

19th Battalion Received Hun Gas – They Charged and Drove Germans Back 300 Yards as Result – Interesting Letter

The Brantford boys in the 19th Battalion have received their initiation with German gas, on Dec. 19, but the only result to the Germans was that they were driven back 300 yards. A member of The Expositor staff has received the following interesting letter from Bugler William George Beech of that battalion, telling of the incident, and also conveying the appreciation of “the boys” for the kindnesses shown them:

December 26, 1915

Dear----

Just a line to let you know I have not forgotten the old Expositor and we are always pleased to get one out here.

The principal things out here are mud, fatigue and Machonicies rations. The mud is awful, the fatigues are worse, but Machonicies rations are always welcome. They were only distasteful on Christmas Day, and when you come to think of Machonicies rations in a stew for a Christmas dinner it makes a fellow wonder if he’ll ever come to war again.

But with all of this the spirit of the boys out here is boundless. Even when called out at three or four o ‘clock in the morning for fatigue; they are always ready for a song, although the songs are not always favorable to the men who call them out.

We had a little taste of gas last Sunday, Dec. 19, and believe me; it sure made us rub our eyes. But they didn’t do any damage, our boys driving them back for 300 yards.

We expect to go into the trenches tomorrow night and stay there for six days, and after that we go to the place where our comrades are buried, that is the O’Neill’s, J. Lowes and the other boys. We fix their graves up every time we go there, and as we got there every eighteen days they are kept in pretty good condition.

It cheers us up a bit when we see the lists of recruits who are joining up continually, for we sure need them.

I might say that the boys all appreciate the little gifts of tobacco and chocolate that the people of Canada have sent to us. It helps to keep our spirits up when we know that we are not forgotten by the people at home. Well I must close. Wishing you a happy and prosperous New Year.

I remain yours sincerely,

Bugler W. Beech
No. 55561 C. Coy,
19th Batt. 2nd C.E.F.

BX May 9, 1917

Bugler W.G. Beech Is Recommended – Hit By a British Shell Nose He Went Forward Instead Of Back

Mrs. E. Beech, 44 Grey Street, has just received a letter from her son, William George Beech, recently reported wounded, and now in the clearing hospital at Eastleigh, Hants, telling how he received his wound. He remarks that because he went forward instead of backward after being wounded, he has been recommended. The letter is as follows:

“Just a line to let you know that I am in Blighty again. I have been hit in the back by one of our own shell noses. Luckily it hit my belt and that stopped it from penetrating. As it was, it only bruised my back so that I can’t bend without hurting myself. I am much better that I was, though I expect to be shifted to a London hospital next Monday, so don’t write until you get my new address. I should have liked some money as I have lost my pay book and have not even a penny to post my letters. This is a nice town. The people are very kind and we are allowed out from 1.30 p.m. until 8 p.m.

“We had only just started for the enemy front line on Easter Monday when I was hit. It knocked me out for a few moments and then instead of going back to a dressing station I went straight on to our objective, bandaging up fellows as I went. I arrived there just after the roll had been called and they had me down as missing. Because I went forward instead of backward I have been recommended, but I don’t think anything will come of it. I don’t know how Walter made out; as I missed the only chance I had of seeing him by an hour. You will have seen by the papers I guess that the old 19th has scored again, as we were in the first wave and captured Thelus. We also pulled off a successful raid and stopped three enemy attacks, all along this front, too, so you can guess now why I have not been writing as often.”

BX April 20, 1917
 
Twelve Brantford Men Are Reported Wounded – Canadian Casualty List Included Half Score From This City All of Whom Have Been Wounded – Gunshot in Arms and Legs Cause of Majority of Hospital Cases – First Brant Battalion Draft Hit

Private word received in this city yesterday afternoon and today added 11 new names to the already large casualty list. All were wounded on or about April 9, this being in the attack on Vimy Ridge, which resulted so gloriously for the Canadian forces.

Of all the Brantford men wounded, practically all were shot wounds in the arms or shoulders, legs or thighs. But one of the 11 was reported seriously wounded. The list of casualties follows:

Bugler William George Beech, son of W.G. Beech of 172 Dalhousie Street, who went overseas with the second contingent, is today reported wounded for the first time. He is single and formerly worked at the Massey-Harris factory. He is suffering from severe wounds in the back and is now in No. 2 Stationary Hospital at Boulogne. He has three brothers, Walter H., Frederick and John, the first mentioned being now in France. Five sisters are Edith, Rose, Florence, Lily and Doris.

BX November 3, 1914

Watches For Volunteers

Presentations are the order of the day in local military circles.  With the soldier boys leaving on Friday morning, the time yet to elapse is very short, and the members of the different units of the Dufferin Rifles seized the occasion before inspection last evening to make several presentations.

The brass band met before being called out and presented Sergeant Miller with a wrist watch, Bandsmen Beattie and McCutcheon doing the honors for the occasion.

The bugle band also met before the inspection, honoring Bugler Beech and Drummers Richards and Frost with wrist watches and Gillette razors each, as tokens of the band’s esteem for the trio, all of whom have enlisted for active service.