The AIF Project

Harold Reeve BEECHEY

Regimental number200
Place of birthFriesthorpe Rectory, Lincoln, England
SchoolGrammar School, Market Rasen, Lincolnshire, England
Age on arrival in Australia22
ReligionChurch of England
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation23
Height5' 8.75"
Weight148 lbs
Next of kinBrother, B R Beechey, 28 Avondale Street, Lincoln, England
Enlistment date18 September 1914
Date of enlistment from Nominal Roll9 September 1914
Place of enlistmentHelena Vale, Western Australia
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name16th Battalion, A Company
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/33/1
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A40 Ceramic on 22 December 1914
Rank from Nominal RollLance Corporal
Unit from Nominal Roll48th Battalion
FateKilled in Action 10 April 1917
Date of death10 April 1917
Age at death from cemetery records26
Place of burialNo known grave
Commemoration detailsAustralian National Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux, France

Villers-Bretonneux is a village about 15 km east of Amiens. The Memorial stands on the high ground ('Hill 104') behind the Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery, Fouilloy, which is about 2 km north of Villers-Bretonneux on the east side of the road to Fouilloy.

The Australian National Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux is approached through the Military Cemetery, at the end of which is an open grass lawn which leads into a three-sided court. The two pavilions on the left and right are linked by the north and south walls to the back (east) wall, from which rises the focal point of the Memorial, a 105 foot tall tower, of fine ashlar. A staircase leads to an observation platform, 64 feet above the ground, from which further staircases lead to an observation room. This room contains a circular stone tablet with bronze pointers indicating the Somme villages whose names have become synonymous with battles of the Great War; other battle fields in France and Belgium in which Australians fought; and far beyond, Gallipoli and Canberra.

On the three walls, which are faced with Portland stone, are the names of 10,885 Australians who were killed in France and who have no known grave. The 'blocking course' above them bears the names of the Australian Battle Honours.

After the war an appeal in Australia raised £22,700, of which £12,500 came from Victorian school children, with the request that the majority of the funds be used to build a new school in Villers-Bretonneux. The boys' school opened in May 1927, and contains an inscription stating that the school was the gift of Victorian schoolchildren, twelve hundred of whose fathers are buried in the Villers-Bretonneux cemetery, with the names of many more recorded on the Memorial. Villers-Bretonneux is now twinned with Robinvale, Victoria, which has in its main square a memorial to the links between the two towns.

Panel number, Roll of Honour,
  Australian War Memorial
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: P.W. Thomas and Amy BEECHEY, 197 Wragby Road, Lincoln, England
Family/military connectionsBrothers: 1368 Pte Christopher William Reeve BEECHEY, 4th Field Ambulance, returned to Australia, 8 May 1916; 2nd Lt Frank Collett Reeve BEECHEY, 13th Bn, East Yorkshire Regiment, died of wounds, 14 November 1916; 13773 Sgt Bernard Reeve BEECHEY, 2nd Bn, The Lincolnshire Regiment, killed in action, 25 September 1915; 58708 Pte Charles Reeve BEECHEY, 25th Bn, Royal Fusiliers, died of wounds, 20 October 1917; 593763 Rifleman Leonard Reeve BEECHEY, 18th Bn, The London Regiment (London Irish Rifles), died of wounds, 29 December 1917; Eric BEECHEY, Royal Army Medical Corps (Dental); 2nd Lt Sam BEECHEY, British Army.
Other details

War service: Egypt, Gallipoli, Western Front

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

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