Private 17726 Alfred Beasley

Killed in Action on Saturday, 15th July 1916, age 18.
Commemorated on Pier and Face 7 B of Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France.

1st Bn., South Staffordshire Regiment. 91st Brigade of 7th Division.

Born: Tipton, Enlisted: Tipton, Resident: Unknown.

First landed Balkans, 11th September 1915.
Medal entitlement: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Commemorated on the Tipton Library, and St. Matthew's memorials.
Commemorated here because he appears on a Tipton memorial.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/770538/

Genealogical Data

Birth of Alfred Beasley registered June quarter 1898 at Dudley.

1901 Census
Court 1 House 4, Railway Street, Tipton, Staffs.
Isaac Beasley (25, General Labourer, born West Bromwich), his wife Clara (24, born Tipton), and their 2 children: Alfred (3, born Tipton), and William (1, born Scotland).

1911 Census
246 Dudley Port, Tipton, Staffs.
Isaac Beasley (35, Furnaceman, born West Bromwich), his wife Clara (34, born Tipton), and their 3 surviving children of 6: Alfred (13, Fitter's Labourer, born Tipton), William (11, born Motherwell) and Phyllis Louisa (8, School, born Tipton).

Personal Data

As Alfred first landed in Gallipoli, he must have initially belonged to the 7th Battalion, South Staffs; this is confirmed by his Medal Roll entry.

After Alfred's death, his outstanding army pay and allowances of £0/17/7d (17 shillings and 7 pence) was paid to Mrs Sarah Powell, his grandmother and sole legatee. The same lady received his War Gratuity of £5/10/0d (5 pounds and 10 shillings) in October 1919.

Action resulting in his death

The second phase of the Battle of the Somme commenced on 14th July 1916, with the 1st South Staffs as part of 6th Division, having High Wood as its objective.

From The History of the South Staffordshire Regiment by Colonel W. Vale
"On July 14th the 1st South Staffords dug in under heavy shellfire in a valley behind the British front line and that afternoon the 91st brigade had orders to attack High Wood. It moved up to the assembly area through persistent shelling, led by two Companies of the Battalion on the left, with the Queen's on their right. A mile across the fields lay the dark mass of the wood, hitherto undamaged, but almost as soon as the attack commenced, forward enemy troops were encountered in hollows and shell-holes and quickly killed or captured.
Accurate automatic fire from its left slowed down the Battalion and caused some loss, but the two units forced their way into the dense forest, darkness added to their difficulties. By midnight the Queen's had established themselves on the eastern edge of the wood and had dug in; the Staffords were however again held up, this time by a strong redoubt in the north-west corner and gallant efforts made by two platoons could not dislodge the enemy. During the early morning of the 15th, fierce counter-attacks forced back the Companies on the left before they could consolidate and the Queen's had to conform, so that by dawn the northern and western parts of the wood were firmly held by the Germans."

It would seem that Alfred was killed in the counter-attack of the morning of 15th July. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme.

Newspaper Cuttings

Birmingham Daily Post 25th August 1916
The following casualties amongst warrant officers, non-commisioned officers, and men are reported under various dates:
South Staffordshire Regiment- Beasley, 17726, A., (Tipton).

Birmingham Daily Gazette 9th October 1916
The following casualties amongst warrant officers, non-commissioned officers, and men are reported under various dates:
Previously reported Missing, now reported Killed.
S. STAFFORDS- Beasley, 17726, A., (Tipton).