William Charles Beckett

Canadian Expeditionary Force

Personal Details

Born: 17 December 1882 in Brunel, Muskoka, Ontario, Canada.

Family: He was the third of four children born to Henry Percival and Rosa Helen Beckett. He married Madge Farrington in Whitchurch, Shropshire in 1906; no children can be traced for the marriage.

Education: He was admitted into Whitchurch Boys Grammar School on 23 December 1890.

Residence: William returned from Canada with his widowed mother and siblings and lived at 7 Brownlow Street, Whitchurch in 1891. In 1911 William and Madge were boarding in Park View, Kettering, Northamptonshire. When he enlisted in 1915 his wife’s address was shown as 1377 Van Horne Avenue, Montreal, Canada, but his military papers showed his mother’s address of The Bungalow, Whitchurch. In August 1915 Madge returned to the UK and lived with her family in Bolton, Lancashire. In 1939 they were living at 52 Newtown Street, Wellingborough, Northamptonshire.

Employment: In 1911 and 1939 he was a leather salesman. His attestation papers in 1915 showed him as a storekeeper.

Died: In 1942 in Wellingborough.

Military Details

Regiment: Canadian Overseas Expeditionary Force (attached to the King’s Shropshire Light Infantry)

Rank: Private (Lieutenant when commissioned into Imperial Army)

Service Number: 65060 (Canadian Forces)

Date of Enlistment: 25 January 1915

Date of Discharge: 4 September 1916 (date of discharge from KSLI not known)

Reason for Discharge: To take up a commission in the Imperial Army

Medals and Awards

William was awarded the Military Cross and Campaign Medals (1915 Star, British War medal and Victory medal)

Military Cross


The Military Cross is the third-level military decoration awarded to officers and (since 1993) other ranks of the British Armed Forces, and used to be awarded to officers of other Commonwealth countries.
The Military Cross is granted in recognition of "an act or acts of exemplary gallantry during active operations against the enemy on land to all members, of any rank in Our Armed Forces". In 1979, the Queen approved a proposal that a number of awards, including the Military Cross, could be awarded posthumously.

Click on the tag below to see details of each recipient.

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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