The AIF Project

Robert Matthew BEATHAM

Regimental number2056
Date of birth16 June 1894
Place of birthGlassonby, Cumberland, England
Place of birthGlasonby, Cumberland, England
Other NamesRobert Mathew
SchoolMaughanby School, Glassonby, Cumberland, England
Age on arrival in Australia20
ReligionChurch of England
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation20
Height5' 6"
Weight145 lbs
Next of kinFather, Mr Beatham, Glassonby, Kirkoswald, Cumberland, England
Enlistment date8 January 1915
Place of enlistmentGeelong, Victoria
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name8th Battalion, 5th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/25/2
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A20 Hororata on 17 April 1915
Regimental number from Nominal Roll2742
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll8th Battalion
FateKilled in Action 11 August 1918
Place of death or woundingFrance
Date of death11 August 1918
Age at death24
Age at death from cemetery records24
Place of burialHeath Cemetery (Plot VII, Row J, Grave No. 13), Harbonnieres, France
Panel number, Roll of Honour,
  Australian War Memorial
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: John and Elizabeth BEATHAM, Glassonby, Kirkswald, Cumberland, England

Victoria Cross

'For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty during the attack north of ROBIERES on 9.8.18. Pte BEATHAM showed such heroism and courage that he inspired all officers and men in his vicinity in a wonderful manner. When the advance was held up by heavy machine gun fire, Pte BEATHAM dashed forward and assisted by one man bombed and fought the crews of four enemy machine guns, killing ten of them and capturing ten others. The bravery of the action greatly facilitated the advance of the whole battalion and prevented casualties. In fighting the crew of the first gun he was shot through the right leg but continued in the advance. When the final objective was reached and fierce fighting taking place, he again dashed forward and bombed the machine gun that was holding our men off, getting riddled with bullets and killed in doing so. His heroism and self-sacrifice were not in vain and as his bombs knocked out the enemy machine gun our men were enabled to advance.'
Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No 61
Date: 23 May 1919

Family/military connectionsBrothers: 6 served in the war; 3 died; one spent 2.25 years as a POW. (Nominal Roll lists only two BEATHAMs: R.M. and 337 Pte Walter Henry BEATHAM, 21st Bn, discharged, 10 April 1919.)
Other details

War service: Egypt, Gallipoli, Western Front

Embarked Melbourne, as No 2056, 17 April 1915; disembarked Suez, 20 May 1915. Returned to Australia, 5 July 1915 (venereal disease case); diembarked, 6 August 1915. Embarked Australia as 2472, 10 September 1915.

Joined 8th Bn at Gallipoli, 7 December 1915. Disembarked Alexandria, 7 January 1916 (general Gallipoli evacuation).

Proceeded from Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 23 March 1916; disembarked Marseilles, 31 March 1916.

Wounded in action, France, 18 August 1916 (gun shot wound, back); admitted to 2nd Field Ambulance, 19 August 1916; transgferred to 26th General Hospital, Etaples, 21 August 1916; to 1st AustralianDivision Base Depot, Etaples, 19 September 1916; rejoined Bn, 30 September 1916. 1916.

Admitted to 51st General Hospital, Etaples, 18 January 1917; marched in to 1st Australian Division Base Depot, Etaples, 19 April 1917; total period of treatment for venereal disease: 92 days; rejoined Bn, 14 August 1917.

Wounded in action, Bellgium, 4 October 1917 (bomb wound, right forearm), and admitted to 3rd Australian Field Ambulance; transferred same day to 10th Casulaty Clearing Station, and thence by Ambulance Train, 5 October 1917, and admitted to 5th General Hospital, Rouen, 6 October 1917. Invalided to England, 14 October 1917, and admitted to Reading War Hospital, 16 October 1917. Discharged on furlough, 2 November 1917, to report to No 1 Command Depot, Sutton Veny, 16 November 1917. Found guilty, 9 January 1918, of being absent without leave, 6.30 pm, 27 December 1917, until 5.30 pm, 5 January 1918: awarded 10 days' Field Punishment No 2, and forfeited 23 days' pay. Marched out to Overseas Training Brigade, Longbridge Deverill, 24 January 1918. Proceeded overseas to France, 14 February 1918; rejoined Bn, 19 February 1918.

Admitted to 3rd Australian Field Ambulance, 14 June 1918 (influenza); transferred same day to 15th Casualty Clearing Station; to 22nd General Hospital, 20 June 1918; to 6th Convalescent Depot, 5 July 1918; to Australian Infantry Base Depot, Havre, 8 July 1918; rejoined unit, 17 July 1918.

Killed in action, 11 August 1918.

Medals: Victoria Cross, 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal

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