No. 1730A Private Harold Hope Beamish
Harold Hope Beamish was born in June 1890 in the town of Neerim, near Warrugal in Gippsland, around 100 kilometres south east of Melbourne.
His father was Henry Beamish who married Mary Ann Fitzgibbon at Victoria in 1873 (Cert.1873/165), and they had the following children:
- Elizabeth Beamish - born 1874 at Wyndham (1874/13105)
- Henry Thomas Beamish - born 1876 at Hotham (1876/10045)
- Margaret Jane Beamish - born 1878 at Wyndham (1878/20132)
- George Edward Beamish - born 1879 at Wyndham (1879/26754)
- Catherine Beamish - born 1882 at Wyndham (1882/6333)
- Herbert William Beamish - born 1884 at Neerim (1884/11686) (A.I.F. No.377)
- William Abraham Beamish - born 1886 at Werribee (1886/14719) (A.I.F. No.4364)
- Francis John Beamish - born 1888 at Neerim (1888/14021)
- Harold Hope Beamish - born 1890 at Neerim (1890/15705) (A.I.F. No.1730)
His enlistment form says that he was working as a labourer when he enlisted in the AIF at Murwillumbah, New South Wales on 11 January 1915, aged just 23 (although according to his birth records he would have been 25...not 23).
His father, Mr H.D. Beamish, was living in Werribee, Victoria.
At the age of 23 years, Private Harold Beamish embarked at Brisbane on 8 April 1915, per A15, H.M.A.T. Star of England, as a member of the 4th Reinforcements to the 9th Infantry Battalion. They sailed to Egypt, to join the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force (M.E.F.)
Harold Beamish and his mates landed at Gallipoli as reinforcements at the end of May 1915 where the Battalion helped defend the ANZAC beachhead until Gallipoli was evacuated just prior to Christmas.
Private Beamish, however, was taken sick in early December and evacuated for medical reasons to Lemnos in Greece.
The 9th Battalion was transferred to Egypt in January 1916, undergoing further training.
In March 1916, while still in Egypt, Private Beamish was transferred to the 4th Pioneer Battalion – like the 9th Battalion, primarily made up of Queenslanders.
The role of the Pioneers was to assist engineers in maintaining essential infrastructure in and around the battlefield while also being able to serve as frontline infantrymen.
The 4th Pioneer Battalion was assigned to the 4th Australian Division and was sent to France to join the British Expeditionary Force in June 1916.
After a brief stay in the so-called 'nursery' area of Armentieres, the Division found itself caught in the fighting associated with the Somme offensive that raged between 1 July and mid November 1916. It fought at Pozieres, Mouquet Farm (nicknamed Moo Cow Farm by the Diggers) and Flers.
In 1917, the 4th Division fought at the first battle of Bullecourt in April, the battle of Messines in June, and the battle of Polygon Wood in September.
Private Beamish received a shell wound to his back in October 1917 and was evacuated to England for treatment. He returned to his unit in January 1918.
It is likely that that he found himself in the thick of the fighting in the Somme once again in March 1918 as the allies attempted to stem the German spring offensive, and later in the final year of the war, at Hamel, Amiens and the assault on the Hindenburg Line.
Private Harold Hope Beamish served in France until March 1919 when he returned to Australia.
He was discharged from the army in July 1919 and subsequently received the 1914/15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. In 1967, he received the ANZAC Medallion and Lapel Badge recognising his service in the Gallipoli campaign.
Harold Beamish was presented with a local Gold Medal, at a function in the Werribee Mechanic’s Hall, on 25 June 1919.
Werribee Shire Banner, 26 June 1919, p.3.
In 1922, Harold Hope Beamish married Martha May Chaffey in Victoria. (Certificate No.11510/1922)
Harold Hope Beamish was living at 44 Hobbs Street, Footscray in 1967, and worked as a labourer. With him at that time was Ivy Miriam Beamish (home duties) [Possibly his sister in law?]
Name on the Werribee Shire Oak Board: “BEAMISH, H. H.”
Name “Beamish, Harold H., Werribee” first appeared in the Roll of Honor, Werribee Shire Banner, 3 February 1916, p.1.
Medals and Entitlements:
- 1914/15 Star
- British War Medal
- Victory Medal
Lest we forget
Service record citation: NAA: B2455, Beamish H H
4th Division history
http://www.awm.gov.au/units/unit_11394.asp - role of Pioneer Battalions
Embarkation - https://www.awm.gov.au/people/rolls/
Unit War Diary - https://www.awm.gov.au/collection
Death – ancestry.com.au
Marriage – ancestry.com.au
Victorian Pioneer Index 1837-1888 CD
Victorian Federation Index 1889-1901 CD
Victorian Edwardian Index 1902-1913 CD
Victorian Great War Index 1914-1920 CD
Victorian Marriage Index 1921-1942 CD