Dedicated to the memory of all the men and women of the Bridgnorth area who died during the two World Wars.
Hugh Beacall was born in Winnipeg, Canada, in about 1893. He was the son of Henry Mortimer Beacall who later lived at Eardington House, Bridgnorth.
In 1901, Hugh and his sister, Evelyn, were living with their grandparents, William and Maria Beacall, in Shrewsbury. William was a farmer. In 1911, Hugh was boarding at Malvern College where he was a pupil.
Hugh served with the 2nd Battalion King's Shropshire Light Infantry. He was fatally wounded at the Battle of Frezenberg Ridge. The Battalion History tells the story:
On the night of the 8th of May the battalion was ordered to hold the trenches from Bellewaerde Farm to the Railway. As this line proved to be too extensive, a portion of it, on the left, was occupied by a battalion of the Royal Fusiliers. On the 9th about 6 a.m. the enemy started shelling our line and continued until 2 p.m., all firing then ceased for about half an hour, when it suddenly recommenced with increased intensity working systematically up and down the line. Soon after four o'clock the shelling developed into an absolute furnace of fire. For twenty minutes this rain of shells continued. Shells of every description, from "Jack Johnsons" to 9-pounders, fell in and about our trenches. Suddenly it ceased. It was obvious that an infantry attack was coming, and an order to clean rifles was passed along.
Almost at once a line of Germans appeared over the crest of the hill some 250 yards in front. This line was followed by a second and then a third. On they came, shoulder to shoulder, their lines stretching right across the front. The troops hailed this apparition with deep satisfaction; here at last was something they could deal with. The enemy was met with a heavy and accurate fire. His lines melted away, some lay down, some turned and ran. Then it was seen that many of the enemy were wearing British uniform, and these came on shouting to our men. The battalion took no notice, but continued to Fire. The Royal Fusiliers, however, ceased firing, though only for some twenty seconds, but it was twenty seconds valuable time lost.
The enemy rallied and came on again over the ridge. He was again met by a heavy fire, which he could not face, but turning round fled in disorder. This brought to an end a really satisfactory infantry fight, which made up to the troops for a great deal of their sufferings under the appalling bombardment they had endured.
During this bombardment Lieut. H. Beacall, a promising young officer, was killed. He had on a previous occasion been recommended by Colonel Bridgford for the V.C., but, owing to the lack of surviving eye-witnesses to his bravery, this decoration could not be awarded him.
BRIDGNORTH OFFICER WOUNDED
[Bridgnorth Journal, Saturday 15th May, 1915]
We regret to hear that a telegram has been received at Eardington House, Bridgnorth, stating that Lieutenant Beacall has been severely wounded, and was removed to a base hospital.
As the above shows, Lieut. Beacall was not killed instantly. He died of his wounds on the 14th May at a Hospital in Boulogne. He is buried in Boulogne Eastern Cemetery.
Lieutenant Beacall was awarded the Victory and British Medals and the 1915 Star. Although he was not awarded a V.C. he was Mentioned In Despatches [London Gazette 22nd June, 1915].
This memorial has mostly been compiled from official sources. It would be good to be able to expand it with more personal material - memories, stories, photos, etc. If you have any suitable material or any corrections please contact Greg. For news of updates follow @BridgnorthHeros on Twitter.