Private 201489 John Henry Beardsmore

 Beardsmore John 96 384x600

Died Mesopotamia on Saturday, 28th September 1918, age 40.
Buried in Grave IV. G. 4. at Tehran War Cemetery, Iran.

9th Bn., Worcestershire Regiment. 39th Brigade of 13th Division.
Formerly 3752 in 2/7th Worcestershire Regiment.

Husband of Mrs Hannah Elizabeth Beardsmore of 8 Victoria Terrace, Whitehouse Street, Burnt Tree, Tipton, Staffs. Eldest son of William and Emily Beardsmore, of Dudley Port, Tipton.
Born: Tipton, Enlisted: Dudley, Resident: Tipton.

First landed France & Flanders, post 31st December 1915.
Medal entitlement: British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Commemorated on the Tipton Library Memorial.
Commemorated here because he appears on a Tipton memorial.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/905321/

Genealogical Data

Birth of John Henry Beardsmore registered in September quarter 1878 in Dudley, making him 40.
Marriage of John Henry Beardsmore and Hannah Elizabeth Clifton registered in June quarter 1899 in West Bromwich.

1901 Census
133 Dudley Port, Tipton, Staffs.
John Henry Beardsmore (22, Colliery Fireman, born Dudley Port), his wife Hannah (22, born Dudley), and their son William Henry (1, born Dudley Port).

1911 Census
12 Hope Terrace, Whitehouse Street, Burnt Tree, Tipton, Staffs.
John Henry Beardsmore (32, Coal Miner, born Tipton), his wife Hannah Elizabeth (32, born Dudley), and their 5 children: William Henry (11, born Tipton), Robert (9, born Tipton), Hilda May (7, born Tipton), Hannah Elizabeth (5, born Tipton), and Horace (5, born Tipton). A further child, Betsy, was born on 16th February 1914.

Personal Data

It is believed that John Beardsmore enlisted in March 1915 with the 2/7th Battalion Worcesters, the second line Territorial Battalion. The 2/7th Worcesters first landed in France, at Havre, on 25th May 1916, and it is likely that John was with them. At some stage he transferred to the 9th Battalion, we do not have a date for this transfer, but it is likely to have been after recovering from being wounded or sick.

After John's death, the sum of £50/15/5d (50 pounds, 15 shillings and 5 pence) was paid to his widow and sole legatee, Hannah Elizabeth, in October 1919. The payment consisted of £30/5/5d (30 pounds, 5 shillings and 5 pence) for outstanding pay and allowances, and £20/10/0d (20 pounds and 10 shillings) as his War Gratuity.

Hannah was awarded a pension of £1/13/9d (1 pound, 13 shillings and 9 pence) per week for herself and the children, effective from 14th April 1919. She had previously been given a Grant of £9 which had been paid on 21st October 1918. By July 1921, the pension had increased to £1/6/8d per week for herself, and £1/3/6d per week for the children, a total of £2/10/2d (2 pounds, 10 shillings and 2 pence) per week.

Action resulting in his death

The 9th Worcesters were in the 13th (Western) Division who served only in the Middle East. In 1915 they served at Gallipoli, and after the withdrawal briefly served in Egypt before moving to Mesopotamia in February 1916. John would have joined the 9th Worcesters either in Egypt or Mesopotamia.

The 9th Worcesters fought in Mesopotamia in 1916 and 1917. They fought in the siege of Kut, the later Battle of Kut-al-Amara, and during the pursuit to Baghdad, however for much of the year offensive operations were impossible due to the intense heat.

Persia was not in the war, but the Turks and Russians had both been in northern Persia even before the war started, as the Persian government was too weak to take any action to prevent it. The Turks and Russians had faced each other throughout the war with the advantage swinging between them.

The Russian revolution in late 1917 saw the end of the Russians as a fighting force in Persia, and the Turks began to make advances. This had strategic advantages as the Turks could then attack the flanks of the Allied troops in Mesopotamia, and also gain passage towards India and disrupt our interest there.

In order to assist the Persians and to protect our interests, a force was sent into Persia. This was known as Dunsterforce after the leader General Dunsterville. This force, however, was diverted to Baku (in today’s Azerbaijan) which the Turkish army was threatening to occupy. Baku was the major port on the Caspian Sea, and an important centre of oil production.

The 9th Worcesters arrived in Baku in dribs and drabs, ‘D’ Company remaining in Persia. Baku sits on the eastern end of a peninsula, and was defensible against attack given sufficient reliable troops – unfortunately the local troops were not reliable, Dunsterforce had insufficient numbers, and the local population likely to support the Turks if they attacked.

On 14th September the Turks launched a major attack, and by afternoon it was clear that Dunsterforce was unable to hold them back. The retreat into Baku was ordered and 3 ships which had been arranged were waiting to evacuate the troops.

On 15th September, the Worcesters arrived back in Enzeli, a Persian port town on the Caspian Sea. From there they marched inland to Resht, a 27-mile march in one day, and took over the defence of that town.

It is likely that John Beardsmore died here, in Resht, on 28th September 1918. He is shown on ‘Soldiers Died in the Great War’ as ‘Died’ which generally means from natural causes. John's Pension Card confirms this, as he died from 'enteric' that is typhoid. 7 men of the 9th Worcesters died in September after the evacuation from Baku. All are recorded as ‘Died’ so we can assume this was due to the privations suffered during the defence of Baku, and from the conditions under which they lived.

At some stage after the war, outlying burials in Persia were moved into the Tehran War Cemetery, in the compound of the British Embassy. This number includes John Beardsmore.

Newspaper Cuttings