BEETON, Henry George

No.16277, Private, Henry George BEETON
Aged 21

9th Battalion, Norfolk Regiment
Killed in Action on Friday, 15th September 1916

Henry George Beeton was born in Euston on 9th November 1894 (Thetford Q1-1895 4B:399), son of Henry Thomas and Louisa Mary A. BEETON (née BERRY).

He entered Euston Free Voluntary School on 9th May 1898 and left the school on 30th March 1906

1901 census...Aged 6, he was at Barracks Yard, Euston with his father Henry BEETON [37] horseman, born Euston; his mother Louisa [30] born City of London; sister Margery [2] born Euston.

1911 census...Aged 16, a labourer at sewerage farm, he was at Mill Cottages, Pendeford, nr Lettenhall, Wolverhampton with his parents (father now foreman at sewerage farm) and sister Marjorie.

CWGC have his parents at Farm Cottage, Hindlip, Worcestershire. The pension card has them at Gas Cottages, Hindlip.

He enlisted in Wolverhampton

It was reported that on the 15th September, :- 9th Norfolks, a tank passing thro' them in the Flers-Courcelette Battle fired upon them until corrected. Later on that same day the 9th Norfolks advanced against Straight Trench and were met with heavy machine gun fire.

Lyn MacDonald in her book "Somme" wrote the following on the first tank action and how it impacted the 9th Norfolk's.
"They had planned to send three tanks into subdue the Quadrilateral 20 minutes before the troops went over at zero hour. One tank broke its tail on the way up. Another developed engine trouble. The third appeared but, unlike the solitary tank which so dramatically subdued the Germans resistance at Delville Wood, it made a tragic error. Lurching along beside what its crew took to be a Germans' front line trench they sprayed it with machine gun fire. The trench was packed with soldiers. The kill was enormous. But it was a British assembly trench and the soldiers were men of the 9th Norfolk's waiting to go over the top. It was Captain Crosse who put a stop to that. He leapt out of the trench and rushed up to the tank whose guns were still blazing. It was difficult to make himself heard above it pandemonium, but furious gesticulation was enough. The tank swung away and was last seen turning to the north, moving parallel to Straight Trench. Straight Trench was the German front line running between the triangle and the Quadrilateral."

The battalion war diary for the day states:
"Arriving trenches 1am. Took up line on the road running from Ginchy to Leuze Wood. This was our front line, the Suffolk's were occupying it. Attack launched from this point at 7.30am, objective being the quadrilateral advancing WE. 3 tanks co-operated. Held up by wire which was uncut.
Casualties on this day alone 4 Off killed, 13 Off wounded, 1 Off missing, 431 O/R".

159 other ranks were killed from the 9th Norfolks that day, 2 are buried in Guards Cemetery, 4 in Serre Road No 2 Cemetery and 29 in Guillemont Road Cemetery. The rest were never identified and are named on the Thiepval Memorial.

The Bury Free Press on 7tjh October 1916 reported:-

Prvt Harry Beeton, only son of Mr.and Mrs.Hy Beeton (late of this village) was killed in France on the 12th ult.

Henry Beeton is commemorated on the Thiepval memorial, 1C/1D

click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details