John Henry Beech

Labour Corps

Personal Details

Born:  John was born in Whitchurch, Shropshire in 1886 and was baptised in St. Alkmund`s Parish Church on 20th June 1888 together with his younger sister, Rachel Annie.

Family:  He was one of eight children born to John Beech, a railway signalman, and his wife Hannah (nee Mann). In 1916 he married Anne M. Griffiths in Whitchurch.

Residence:  At the time of his baptism the family were living at Waymills, Whitchurch and he continued to live there until at least 1919 where an address of 1 Waymills was given for him on the Spring Absent Voters List. The 1939 Register records the family living at Small Brook House, Ludlow, Shropshire.

Employment:  On the 1901 Census, John was described as an errand boy but by 1911 he was working as a fish salesman. In 1939 his occupation was a dairy farmer.

Death:  Not known

Military Details

Regiment:  Labour Corps. (previously Shropshire Light Infantry)

Rank:  Private

Service Number:  242631 (previously 11504)

Date of Enlistment: Not known

Date of Discharge: Not known

Reason for Discharge: Not known

Other Information:  Whitchurch Herald 18th September 1915….. “Private John Beech of the 5th K.S.L.I., who went to the front in May is at present in the Canadian Hospital near Boulogne, suffering from the effects of being buried in the trenches.”

John had three brothers who served in WW1,  Ernest, Midgley and Thomas.

Medals and Awards

John was awarded the Campaign Medals (British War Medal, Victory Medal and 1914/15 Star).

Campaign Medals

Great War History Hub Whitchurch Shropshire Medals Front Image

The 1914 Star (also known as 'Pip') was authorised under Special Army Order no. 350 in November 1917 and by an Admiralty Fleet Order in 1918, for award to officers and men of the British and Indian Expeditionary Forces who served in France or Belgium between 5 August and midnight of 22–23 November 1914. The former date is the day after Britain's declaration of war against the Central Powers, and the closing date marks the end of the First Battle of Ypres.

The 1914–15 Star (also known as 'Pip') was instituted in December 1918 and was awarded to officers and men of British and Imperial forces who served against the Central European Powers in any theatre of the Great War between 5 August 1914 and 31 December 1915. The period of eligibility was prior to the introduction of the Military Service Act 1916, which instituted conscription in Britain.

The British War Medal (also known as 'Squeak') was a silver or bronze medal awarded to officers and men of the British and Imperial Forces who either entered a theatre of war or entered service overseas between 5th August 1914 and 11th November 1918 inclusive. This was later extended to services in Russia, Siberia and some other areas in 1919 and 1920. Approximately 6.5 million British War Medals were issued. Approximately 6.4 million of these were the silver versions of this medal. Around 110,000 of a bronze version were issued mainly to Chinese, Maltese and Indian Labour Corps. The front (obv or obverse) of the medal depicts the head of George V. The recipient's service number, rank, name and unit was impressed on the rim.

The Allied Victory Medal (also known as 'Wilfred') was issued by each of the allies. It was decided that each of the allies should each issue their own bronze victory medal with a similar design, similar equivalent wording and identical ribbon. The British medal was designed by W. McMillan. The front depicts a winged classical figure representing victory. Approximately 5.7 million victory medals were issued. Interestingly, eligibility for this medal was more restrictive and not everyone who received the British War Medal ('Squeak') also received the Victory Medal ('Wilfred'). However, in general, all recipients of 'Wilfred' also received 'Squeak' and all recipients of The 1914 Star or The 1914/1915 Star (also known as 'Pip') also received both 'Squeak' and 'Wilfred'. The recipient's service number, rank, name and unit was impressed on the rim.

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