|Forum Home > Black Country Heroes. > Bernard Beech. The life of a Sniper.|
It's not often that you get to learn the name of one of these soldiers, for it could be a bit of a lonely existance. The troops on the front line soon learned, that should a sniper get lucky, the enemy pounded the area with Morters, Shells, and prolonged bursts of machine gun fire. It made life a bit uncomfortable, and the poor sniper was often told, in no uncertain terms, to go away. Then there were the precautions that had to taken, for a good sniper soon became the hunted, as well as the hunter.
Bernard Beech, Private No.16847, 9th Battalion, Worcestershire Regiment, one was of these men, thanks to a keen eye, and a steady finger on the trigger. He had been born in Far Forest, near Bewdley, in 1894, the son of a Railway Carter, Charles Beech, who had moved his family into Smethwick, Staffordshire, not long after Bernards birth. Prior to the outbreak of War in 1914, the young man was working as an Art Metal Worker, but volunteered as soon as he could, signing on for the Regiment of his native County as many others did, and being asigned to the newly formed 9th Battalion. In April, 1915, he married Nellie Barrett, at St Michael and All Angels, in Smethwick, and their brief married life began, at 67, Bristnall Terrace, Rood End, Oldbury. In May, he was with the Regiment at Blackdown, Salisbury, when the order came to proceed to Valetta, Malta, then on to a Greek Island called Mudros, and then, later that month, on to a living hell on earth, Gallipoli. In a letter, written by his Company commander, he was praised for his work as a sniper, and a testament to his good character. All to no avail of course, for this letter came after his death on the 4th January,1916, barely 5 months after he first arrived. Hero's come in all shapes and sizes, the 1915 Star, British War and Victory medals can't tell the whole story, nor can I for that matter, for now, he is just another name on the Halles Memorial.
A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day. ( See my Blog entry )
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