Beard, Cecil James. Died 24th Apr 1915

Private Cecil Beard 24328, 13th Bn, Canadian Infantry

Cecil James Beard was born on 28th March 1894 in Brushbury in Wolverhampton, Staffordshire. His parents were Cornelius James and Gertrude Alice (nee James). Cornelius was a telegraph clerk and shortly after Cecil’s birth the family moved to Rugby. In 1901 they lived at 30 Charlotte Street. In 1911 Cecil was boarding with the Bradley family at 36 Windsor Street. He was a loco fitter’s labourer The rest of the family were at 46 Murray Road.

By the start of the war, Cecil (now known as James) was in Canada and signed up to the 13th Canadian Battalion, The Royal Highlanders of Canada, on 23rd September 1914. He was 5ft 6in tall with brown eyes and dark brown hair. He had a tattoo of clasped hands on his right forearm. On 3rd October 1914 the unit sailed for Europe.

“A telegraphic message was received on Saturday night by Mr. C. J. Beard of 46 Murray Road to the effect that his son Pte. Cecil Beard of 13th battalion of the Canadian Regiment had been killed in action. Mr Beard’s son went out to Canada and there joined a territorial force.   His employer volunteered for active service when the war broke out and Pte. Beard followed his example. He came over with the first batch of Canadians and went to the front with them. Another son of Mr. Beard, who is in the army has for some time past been a prisoner of war in Germany, and he is having by no means a pleasant time.”
Rugby Advertiser 22 May 1915

He died on 24th April 1915, probably in the Battle of Gravenstafel (22–23 April 1915), part of the Second Battle of Ypres. It was during this battle that the German Army used Chlorine gas for the first time. The battalion suffered 3,058 casualties on the 24th.

Cecil James Beard is remembered on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial