Remembrance - The Yorkshire Regiment, First World War

2nd Lieutenant Ernest F BEAL, VC

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For most conspicuous bravery and determined leading at St. Leger on the 21st and 22nd March 1918, when in command of a company detailed to occupy a certain section of a trench.   When the company was established it was found that a considerable gap of about four hundred yards existed between the left flank of the company and the neighbouring unit, and that this gap was strongly held by the enemy.   It was of vital importance that this gap should be cleared, but no troops were then available.   Organising a small party of less than a dozen men, he led them against the enemy.   On reaching an enemy machine gun Second Lieut. Beal immediately sprang forward and with his revolver killed the team and captured the gun.   Continuing along the trench, he encountered and dealt with another machine gun in the same manner, and in all captured four enemy guns and inflicted severe casualties.   Later in the evening, when a wounded man had been left in the open under heavy enemy fire, he, regardless of danger, walked up close to an enemy machine gun and brought in the wounded man on his back.   Second Lieut. Beal was killed by a shell on the following morning.
Second Lieutenant Ernest F Beal, VC

Ernest Frederick BeaI was the eldest son of John James William Beal, 55 East Street, Brighton, Sussex born on 27th January 1883.   He was an active member of the Boy's Brigade.   After Brighton Grammar School he worked in his father's stationery shop and lived with his family at 148 Lewes Road, Brighton.
On 22nd September 1914, at the age of 31 , he enlisted as a Trooper in the 2/1st Sussex Yeomanry.   By the 11th June 1915, he was promoted to Sergeant and was posted on 10th September to the l/lst Sussex Yeomanry serving in the Balkans.   Still with the rank of sergeant he was transferred to the 16th Royal Sussex Regiment on the 16th December 1916 and given the number 320206.   He served with his new unit on the Western Front.   He was recommended for a commission and was finally transferred to the 3rd Yorkshire Regiment on 25th September 1917 and posted a month later to 'D' Company 13th (Service) Battalion.
In 1918, he was engaged to Miss May F. Bundy of 37 Crescent Road, Brighton.
Second Lieutenant Ernest BeaI was awarded the posthumous VC for conspicuous bravery on 22nd March 1918 at St Leger.   Later the same day, he died of wounds, aged 35, when saving the life of one ofhis men under fire.   His name is listed on the Arras 'Memorial to the Missing' in Pas-de-Calais, France.   The announcement was made in The London Gazette on 4th June 1918 and his parents received his posthumous VC from H.M. King George V on 3rd July in Buckingham Palace.   The VC was handed onto Ernest's brother, Harold, on the death of his father and the campaign medals to May Bundy.   The medals were loaned to the Green Howards Museum in 1964 and finally bequeathed as a gift in July 1973.

Information on the medal holders on this page, and other pages relating to the regiment's WW1 VC holders, is taken from "Beyond Their Duty" by Roger Chapman.   This book was specialy written to commemorate the only occasion on which all 18 Victoria Crosses won by members of the Green Howards regiment were together (April to October 2001, in the Green Howards Museum).   The book may be purchased from the Green Howards Museum Shop.

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