Horace Anthony BECK

BECK, Horace Anthony

Service Number: 1091
Enlisted: 8 January 1915, Oaklands, South Australia
Last Rank: Bombardier
Last Unit: 4th Division Heavy and Medium Trench Mortar Batteries, AIF
Born: Watervale, South Australia, 20 February 1889
Home Town: Watervale, South Australia
Schooling: Stanley Grammar School, Watervale, South Australia
Occupation: Storekeeper
Died: Killed in Action, France, 3 May 1917, aged 28 years
Cemetery: No known grave - "Known Unto God"
His name is located at panel 19 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial, Canberra, ACT., Villers-Bretonneux Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux, Picardie, France
Memorials: Adelaide National War Memorial, Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Villers-Bretonneux Memorial (Australian National Memorial - France), Watervale War Memorial
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World War 1 Service

8 Jan 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Oaklands, South Australia
24 Jun 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, 1091, 3rd Light Horse Regiment, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1,

--- :embarkation_roll: roll_number: '1' embarkation_place: Adelaide embarkation_ship: HMAT Kanowna embarkation_ship_number: A61 public_note: ''

24 Jun 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, 1091, 3rd Light Horse Regiment, HMAT Kanowna, Adelaide
3 Nov 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, 1091, 3rd Light Horse Regiment, ANZAC / Gallipoli
29 Dec 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, 1091, 3rd Light Horse Regiment, Middle East / Mediterranean Theatre,

--- :awm_ww1_roll_of_honour_import: awm_service_number: 1091 awm_unit: 4th Division Field Artillery awm_rank: Corporal awm_died_date: 1917-05-03

21 Apr 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Gunner, 1091, 4th Field Artillery Brigade, Middle East / Mediterranean Theatre
25 Jun 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Gunner, 1091, 4th Division Heavy and Medium Trench Mortar Batteries, AIF, German Withdrawal to Hindenburg Line and Outpost Villages
24 Jul 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Bombardier, 1091, 4th Division Heavy and Medium Trench Mortar Batteries, AIF, Bullecourt (First)

A letter home. Oct/30/1915

My Dear old Auntie
I suppose you have thought long before you receive this note that I have forgotten all about you but I would never forget how good you were to me all the time i was under your roof. You will see by the heading of this that I have left that miserable place of Egypt and I was real glad to get away from it as I cant imagine anyone ever liking it although I have heard that for a civilian with plenty of spare cash it is a bonza place but we being just a common soldier only come in contact with the lower class people. The real Egyptian people are a fine race & are very little darker in colour than we are but they have nothing to do with soldiers and after the way some of our fellows carry on it cant be wondered at that they give us all a wide berth. We were having a fairly easy time of it before we left Egypt as regards to drill we used to have plenty of riding and the horses were very fresh and we could have a bonza gallop across the desert with no fences to stop us as the natives don't believe in having a fence around their little block of land.
There was a lot of locust came around our camp and when they would fly up we couldn't see the sun for them. I had no idea they were anything like they are.
Well Auntie I have had a better trip from Egypt to here than I had in the old "Kanowna" but then this is a far different boat. This one is one of the P & O new boats and has just been fitted up for troops and we have 2500 soldiers on board so you can tell that it is a good big ship. They can't want us very urgently on the Peninsular as they have kept us in here for 5 days now but I don't mind this much as we are getting well fed and have enough room to sleep so I suppose we should consider ourselves lucky. I met Roy Scott and Ted Symons on the boat. It was such a surprise to me as I never knew they were in Egypt even they were very fortunate I think as they told me they had only been in Egypt 1 month and were tired of it so I wonder how they would like to be us poor devils and put in three months there. I met Geo Vic [ indecipherable] just before I left Heliopolis he had been there 5 months and I never came across him before and all the time he was only about half a mile from me but then there are such a lot of soldiers around that it is very hard to pick out anyone. There have been quite a lot of fellows come over here that I have known & yet I could never manage to meet them. I suppose by now that the little treasure is quite a big girl and I hope she is quite well. Well Auntie I will have to come to a close , give my best regards to Miss Goss, Uncle & Kathie and don't forget Mr & Mrs Phillips & family from
your old friend


Late Cpl. H A Beck

Watervale, May 25 - Much sympathy has been expressed for Mr. and Mrs. Henry Beck and family, who have received news from the military authorities that their youngest son, Cpl. Horace A. Beck was killed in action in France on May 3,1917. The deceased, who was 28 years of age, went through the Gallipoli campaign, after which he was transferred to the artillery in France, where he was raised to the rank of corporal. He was born and educated at Watervale, and took a deep interest in literary work. He was a proficient hockey player, and for a long period was connected with the Clare Hockey Club. The deceased was of a pleasant and cheerful disposition. He was popular throughout the district.

Observer Newspaper

Showing 2 of 2 stories


Father Henry Beck  and  Mother Catherine Beck  (nee Ryan)
living at  Watervale, South Australia.

Next of kin:
Older Brother:   Francis C Beck  Waikerie, South Australia
Sister:                Ethel Beck, Watervale, South Australia

Described on enlisting as 25 years old; single; 5' 10" tall; 140 lbs; dark complexion;
blue-grey eyes; dark brown hair, Roman Catholic.

8/1/1915         Enlisted at Oaklands, South Australia
                       completed medical at Oaklands, fit for service

8/1/1915         Commanding Officer appointed Horace to:
                       Base Light Horse, 7th reinforcements, 3rd Light Horse Regiment

24/6/1915       Embarked from Outer Harbour, Port Adelaide,  on board HMAT A61 Kanowna
                       as a Private, with the 3rd Light Horse Regiment, 7th reinforcement

3/11/1915       Joined 3rd Light Horse unit in Gallipoli

20/12/1915     Disembarked per HMAT A10 Karroo  into Alexandria, Egypt, from Gallipoli 
29/12/1915     Joined Western Front Force, Alexandria Egypt, with 3rd Light Horse

Back in Egypt, the 3rd Light Horse joined the ANZAC Mounted Division.
Between January and May 1916, the regiment was deployed to protect the Nile valley from bands of pro-Turkish Senussi Arabs.

23/2/1916       sick to hospital, El Gaar, Egypt - Pyrexia
                       admitted to 1st Light Horse Field Ambulance
26/2/1916       admitted to Field Ambulance, Wadi Matuh
28/2/1916       transferred to 3rd Welsh Field Ambulance, Seli Salami
7/3/1916         discharged to duty, El Gear

10/3/1916       returned to duty, Tel-El-Kebir, with 1st Light Horse Regiment

21/4/1916       Transfer to 4th Division Artillery, Serapeum
21/4/1916       Taken on strength 4th Division Artillery Column, posted to No.2 Section, Serapeum
                       as a Gunner

6/6/1916         Proceeded to join British Expeditionary Forces, ex Alexandria, Egypt
                       on board HMAT Oriana

13/6/1916       disembarked into Marseilles, France

25/6/1916       transferred to 4th Heavy Medium Trench Mortar Battery, France
                       taken on strength V4A Trench Mortar Battery

Like Medium Mortar Batteries, Heavy Medium Trench Mortar Battery were manned by artillerymen. In 1916 one heavy trench mortar battery was formed in each division, numbered VnA where V was the letter V and not the number 5 and n was the division number, similar to the Medium Trench Mortar Batteries. The letter W was allocated for a second heavy trench mortar battery per division but these were never formed. Heavy Trench Mortar Batteries were each equipped with four 9.45 inch (240mm) mortars. In January 1918 the batteries were disbanded and a single battery of six 9.45 inch mortars was assigned to the Australian Corps Heavy Artillery.

Trench mortar crews had two polite nicknames which have been recorded "The shoot and scoot mob" and "the duckboard harriers", due to the tendency to draw retaliatory fire.  By all accounts they were very unpopular with the infantry who had to stay and wear ”the hate“.  (courtesy of Ross on 1914-1918 invisionzone).

Their development from 1916 onwards, their usage in wire cutting, trench raids, collaboration with brigade and divisional artillery as the medium batteries moved from control under Infantry brigades to the ammunition column to the divisional artillery.

24/7/1916       Promoted to Bombardier, France

11/9/1916       Promoted to Corporal, France
                       with Trench Mortar Battery

3/5/1917         Killed in action, Bullecourt, France
buried in:        No known grave

Commemorated at:   Australian National Memorial
                                 Villers-Bretonneaux, France

WWI 1914-15 Star (3257), British War Medal (14918), Victory Medal (14859)
Memorial Plaque and Memorial Scroll (323204).

Birth details: South Australian Births 1842 - 1906 Book: 432 Page: 379 District: UpW.

Sourced and sumbitted by Julianne T Ryan.  22/11/2014.  Lest we forget.