Lance Corporal 200, 48th Battalion, Australian Infantry, A.I.F.
Born Friesthorpe Rectory, Lincoln. Harold was a pupil at De Aston School, Market Rasen and emigrated to Western Australia aged 22. Harold and Chris had been farming in the WA Wheatbelt when war broke out. Harold enlisted in the Australian Infantry on 9th September 1914 in Perth. He came to Egypt and then to Gallipoli, where he fought Turks and dysentery, being invalided twice. He survived the Hell of Pozières (Somme) but was sent to England to recover from his wounds. He wrote home:
- "Very lucky, nice round shrapnel through arm and chest, but did not penetrate ribs. Feel I could take it out myself with a knife."
Harold was patched up and sent back to fight again. He wrote bitterly to his mum:
- "To deny a fellow the right of a final leave seems to me to be miserable spitefulness on their part."
He came home to recover but was sent back to France in November 1916, being killed by a bomb in Bullecourt on 10th April 1917, aged 26. His death was mercifully speedy.
No known grave. Commemorated on Villers-Bretonneux Memorial, Somme, France.
Amy wrote: "I am thankful that he did not suffer long. Poor boy, he had been invalided twice and wounded once and we hoped he would come through."
12 May 2015
The Australian War Memorial in Canberra, Australia has been commemorating the WW1 centenary in a number of ways, including nightly projections of the names of those on the roll of honour onto the front of the building. It takes several months for each of the names to be shown, 30 seconds at a time, before the roll starts again. With some relatives on the other side of the country with distant ties to the Beechey Boys, I had tried on a few occasions to photograph the projection of H R Beechey's name to send to them. I know that you are familiar with the story of his service and his death, and how it is that he came to be on the Australian roll of honour. As the regiment and the district has recently commemorated the Beecheys' service, I am forwarding my poor quality photos (it was unfortunately raining on this particular occasion) to share with you that the family's/district's suffering is being recognised, even here, even now.
Lest we forget.
Regards from Canberra, Australia.