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A village with a big story
Little Holland cottages at top of Green no longer there
train
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Claypits Pond with Horses 1905
Long Melford Coronation fancy dress competition at the British Legion in Cordell road1953
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Beeton

BEETON, Harry 1870-1932

Born: Long Melford, Suffolk on 8.4.1870.  Parents: Harry Beeton (Sawyer) and Sarah Ann [née Sutton].  Home: 45 Out Westgate, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk (1881), 4 Anne Place, Bethnal Green, London (1891), 5 Milford Street, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire [1909], 20 Zorn Street, Southwark, London [1912], 62 Old Paradise Road, Southwark [1914], 3 North Street, Lambeth, London [1920].  Occupation: Van Boy (1891), Dockside Labourer [1912], Casual Labourer [1914].  Service Record: Before 1893 Harry was a member of 3rd [Militia] Battalion, Suffolk Regiment, and from 1895 to 1905 served as L/Cpl.3457 with 1st Battalion, Suffolks being posted in turn to Rangoon, India, and the Northwest Frontier.  He re-enlisted on 31.8.1914 as Private, later Cpl.3/9653 with ‘D’ Company, 1st Battalion, Suffolks being posted to France from 21.4.1915, as part of 84th Brigade, 28th Division, joining his battalion in the front-line near Zonnebeke in Belgium.  Three days after his arrival his unit had its first experience of poisonous gas, which with the addition of shot and shell caused upwards of four-hundred casualties.  On the morning of 8.5.1915 German forces made a determined effort to drive a wedge into the Ypres Salient by capturing Frezenberg Ridge.  Harry’s unit was in the thick of the action withstanding an incessant bombardment of high explosive, mortar bombs and grenades followed by the insidious presence of chlorine gas.  As the official history states ‘before noon the battalion had been completely overwhelmed’.  Many had been killed or wounded with hundreds, including Corporal Beeton, falling into enemy hands.  Harry had been badly injured in the fight, taking shrapnel to his left shoulder and a gunshot wound to his left thigh, and was still receiving treatment six weeks later at a prison camp hospital in Merseburg.  By September 1916 he was incarcerated at Wittenberg before being moved to Alten-Grabbow in 1917 where he is thought to have remained until the end of the War.  He was repatriated on 18.11.1918, receiving his discharge in the following April.  Died: Lambeth, London in 1932.[1]

[1] Much of Harry’s details, date of birth, address etc., have been gleaned from his numerous Prisoner of War records, see International Committee of the Red Cross records [file refs: PA3088, PA6102, PA8212, PA12052, R51311 and R51594].  All the PoW camps mentioned are in the Saxony-Anhalt region of Germany.  For details of 1st Suffolk’s movements see War Diary [WO 95/2277/3] and Murphy, Lieutenant-Colonel C. C. R. The History of the Suffolk Regiment 1914-1927 [London: Hutchinson and Co, 1928], pp.64-70 and 75-77.  See also his Soldiers’ Documents, First World War ‘Burnt Documents’ [WO 363], Soldiers’ Documents and Pension Claims, First World War [WO 364], Service Medal and Award Rolls 1914-1918 [WO 329] and Service Medal and Award Rolls Index Cards 1914-1922 [WO 372].

Research by David Gevaux MA © 2022

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