Thomas Beach - Lest We Forget

Thomas Beach was born May 19, 1882 in Leith, Scotland.  His listed next of kin was Mary Beach, a sister living in Edinburgh, Scotland.  He was one of the first 69 men to sign up from Revelstoke as soon as the war broke out in August 1914. The newspaper noted that he had five years military experience with the Queen’s Edinburgh though his attestation papers only listed his current experience with the 102nd Rocky Mountain Rangers, the local militia company.  Thomas was not initially accepted to go with the First Contingent of Volunteers but became a part of the Second Contingent.  His occupation was listed as clerk.

Thomas Beach signed up November 9, 1914 as part of the Second Contingent in Victoria B.C. at the age of 32 years.  He was 5’6 ½” tall with brown hair and blue eyes.  He had a blue mark on his nose and gave his religious affiliation as Presbyterian.  In February 1915 the Revelstoke boys of the 30th Battalion, Thomas Beach among them, passed through Revelstoke on their way to England.

Thomas sent a letter back to Revelstoke in October 1915 that was printed in the local newspaper.  In it he stated that he was at the front in Belgium with the 48th Highlanders.  He said  that “Maxwell, Wilkinson and himself are the only members of the Revelstoke party to which he belonged who remain in the trenches as infantry.  The enemy shell regularly close by but their little hollow is always overlooked.  Their canteen sells beer the knowledge of which he thinks would increase recruiting in Revelstoke.  All the other Revelstokians who were with him are on other “jobs such as machine gun, bomb throwing, officer’s servant, transport and stretcher bearing, with still a few in hospitals at home or kicking up the daisies somewhere in France.  You see no one wants to be an ordinary infantryman.  Fritz says they can have his trench later.  “Can’t say I would stay on the bunch of mines he will have left under it.”

Thomas Beach died June 13, 1916 during the battle for Mount Sorrel.  He was 34 years of age.  At the time of his death he held the rank of Private in the 15th Battalion of the Canadian Infantry (Central Ontario.  He is memorialized on the Menin Gate (Ypres) Memorial which indicates that his body was never recovered or identified.

Thomas Beach’s name (misspelled Beech) is inscribed on the Revelstoke Courthouse and Cenotaph plaques.

 Revelstoke Boys of the Second Contingent, 1914. Thomas Beach was among this group.

Revelstoke Boys of the Second Contingent, 1914. Thomas Beach was among this group.

Posted on October 17, 2014 .