Posts Tagged ‘John Charles Beswick’

Remembering Charles Beswick of Kew Gardens and Fota died WW1 22 April 1917

April 22, 2017

C F Ball Kew Ww1

Charlie Beswick’s name on the Kew Gardens staff war memorial WW1

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2013/07/19/such-is-the-price-of-empire-the-lost-gardeners-of-kew-in-the-first-world-war/

John Charles Beswick, 22 or 28 April 1917.
2nd Lt. John Charles Beswick, 11th battalion, Royal Lancaster Regiment (Kings Own) died 22 April 1917. He is buried in plot VII.A.2 at Cambrai East Military Cemetery, Northern France.

http://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/550735/BESWICK,%20JOHN%20CHARLES

Cambrai was in German hands for much of the war and Plot VII contains the graves of Commonwealth prisoners, relecting the fact that Beswick died as a prisoner of war. His Kew Guild Journal 1918 obituary lists his death of wounds in a German Field Hospital at Cambrai on April 28, 1917. Not far away, fellow Kewite George Douglas of the early  Tank crews is remembered on another Cambrai memorial to those with no known grave.

Born on 5 October 1888, Beswick was on the Kew staff in 1913, having entered Kew as a sub-foreman in the Temperate House, Kew, September 1912. He enlisted in 1915, joining the Royal Army Medical Corps, then transferring to the Artists Rifles with whom he embarked for France. He was given his officer commission into the Royal Lancaster Regiment.

John-Charles-Beswick-last-known-pic-circa-1917-France074

He was previously at Fota Island, Queenstown in Ireland, where his father William Beswick was Head Gardener to Lord Barrymore.  The old Fota House of the Smith-Barry family has recently been renovated by the Irish Heritage Trust and is open to the public (www.fotahouse.com). A book on Fota’s restored gardens and their history has recently been published.

According to an article in The Irish Examiner paper website: http://www.irishexaminer.com/lifestyle/features/profiles/the-secret-gardens-195831.html

“[Charlie Beswick] studied botany in Kew Gardens in London before enlisting with the King’s Own Lancashire Regiment, his two older brothers, William Jr and Arthur, already in service.

Among the letters home from the front is the last one Charlie sent as he was about to lead his platoon into action. ‘With God’s help [I] shall return safely,’ he wrote, in a more hurried version of the script of his childhood schoolbooks. ‘… if not, I shall do my duty to the best of my ability.’

Trying to drag a wounded comrade to safety, he was shot and died in a German field hospital in 1917.”

Irish-Examiner-1-June-2012

The Imperial War Museum holds some of his WW1 papers http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/1030010733

Charlie Beswick, remembered 100 years on at Kew Gardens and Fota House and Gardens.

Blog post by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens project,  Newquay Zoo.


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