Saturday, November 15, 2014

G/21063 Private Charles Day Beard, 10th Royal West Kent Regt

Charles Day Beard’s badly burned papers exist as a burnt document at the National Archives in London and although critical information has been destroyed, it is possible to surmise his date of birth.   

He appears on the 1901 census as a two year old living In Chailey village.  The head of the household was William Henry Beard (aged 41 and running a grocery and drapery business on the village green) and his wife Katherine (aged 29).  The couple are noted as having two children with them when the census was taken: Evelyn Emma Beard (aged four) and Charles Day (aged two).  Both the children had been born in Chailey.  A servant, 15 year old Winnifred Ellen Turner, was also living with the family.  In 1903 a second daughter, Alison Mary Beard would be born to William and Katherine.  

Charles Beard’s Short Service Attestation Form (Army Form B 2512), completed at Brighton with the Royal West Surrey Regiment, records his age as 17 years and 361 days.  His birth year is given as 1899 and from another document which states that he was “deemed to have been enlisted” on 16th November 1917, it would appear that 16th November 1899 was his date of birth. 

He gave his profession as articled clerk and information elsewhere on hs papers shows that he was working for Mr A J Graves (FAC) at 117 High Street, Brighton. 

In April 1917, Chailey Parish Magazine reports that Charles is with a training reserve battalion and his army papers show that on 3rd April 1917 he was posted to the 23rd Training Reserve Battalion at St Albans, Hertfordshire, subsequently transferring to the 24th Battalion on the 7th June that year.  The 23rd Training Reserve Battalion had its origins in the 10th (Reserve) Battalion, The Royal Sussex Regiment whilst the 24th TRB had its origins in the 14th (Reserve) Battalion, The Middlesex Regiment. 

By January 1918 Charles was a private serving with the 3rd Queen’s Royal West Surrey Regiment but by July had transferred to the 10th Royal West Kent Regiment.  In September 1918 he was admitted to the 4th Stationary Hospital at Boulogne with impetigo caused by gas posioning.  He was then subsequently admitted to a number of different Field Ambulances and hospitals: 139th Field Ambulance on the 17th September, 26th General Hospital on the 26th, 25th General Hospital at Hardelot on the 30th September, Number 1 Convalescent Depot at Boulogne on 28th October…  Finally, on 20th January 1919, after further spells at Boulogne and Hardelot, Charles Beard was evacuated to England aboard the hospital ship Jan Breydel.  It appears from his service record that on arrival in England he spent time in hospital at Eastleigh. 

Charles Day Beard’s army number, confirmed by his papers, was 21063.  His medal information card at the National Archives prefixes this with the letter G.  

Charles married Lucy May Attrell at St Peter's Church, Chailey (date unknown)and they had one son, Brian William Day Beard.  Charles spent the latter years of his life at Lewes and died in 1988.

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