The King's School
Roll of Honour
|Lieutenant William Ralph Humphrey BEESTON (307780)|
Royal Armoured Corps attached to the Army Air Corps and B Squadron, 6th Airborne Armoured Reconnaissance Regiment
Date of birth: 15th April 1923
Date of death: 19th November 1944
Died aged 21
Buried at Shaftsbury Borough Cemetery Grave 820 and is commemorated on Dover War Memorial.
|He was born at Cairo on the 15th of April 1923, the only son of Humphrey Albert Beeston ARIBA, architect, and Audrey Muriel (nee Swanell) of 2 Castle Hill Road, Dover, and later of Temple, Ewell, Kent, later of 2 Castle Hill Road, Dover.
He was educated at Tormore Preparatory School, Deal, and at the King's School Canterbury from September 1936 to December 1940, where he was in Meister Omers. He was a Senior Scholar in 1940 and was appointed as a house monitor in September 1940. He gained his cricket colours in 1939 and 1940, his rugby colours in 1940 and was promoted to Lance Sergeant in the Officer Training Corps in December 1940.
After King's he had hoped to become an architect but instead he was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Royal Armoured Corps on the 23rd of January 1944.
On the 26th of February 1944 he arrived as a reinforcement at an airborne unit and served as a troop commander in B Squadron (Reconnaissance), part of 6th Airborne Armoured Reconnaissance Regiment. He was promoted to Lieutenant on the 23rd of July 1944.
He served in Normandy from where he was evacuated suffering from exposure and he died at a hospital in the UK.
His Housemaster wrote:-
"With the death on active service of Bill Beeston, once again we mourn the loss of an Old Boy who made his mark in the School and whose future was full of bright hope. Whether it was on the cricket field, with his rather untidy run up to the wicket, or walking around the Green Court with a friend, there was always an air of controlled purpose about him. He was master of himself and of his emotions in success as in failure a characteristic which gave him a deceptive aloofness. To those who found their way into his confidence he was a warm and generous friend and to many who were at school with him his death will mean much more than just another name on the Roll of Honour."
Stanley Poole wrote:-
"I got to know Bill Beeston rather well because he stayed with me in a small country rectory during the critical summer of 1940 when events suddenly swept his home in Dover into the front line. I can still see him entering the beautiful little medieval church from the rectory door and taking his place in the choir whilst the morning sun lit up the ancient chancel. But my abiding impression of him was that of intense vigour combined with intelligence and discrimination. He had a very sound judgement of people and events for he united great common sense with a full and sympathetic appreciation of other people's point of view. He himself was one of those rare people who know what they want in life and know how to get it. He had great physical courage and I can well remember his fortitude on one occasion when he was in great pain. and it is therefore no surprise to learn of the gallant and heroic fight he put up in hospital against the terrible conditions brought on by exposure in Normandy. But unhappily it was not to be. His death is a great loss to his many personal friends and a terrible tragedy for his devoted parents who now lose their only son. Our deepest sympathy goes out to them."
He is commemorated on the war memorial at Dover.