This blog post has been prepared by volunteer, Ann Eales.
On 4th January 1917 an article in the Express & Star entitled “Military Heroes” referred to soldiers mentioned in dispatches, including WJ Beddows,
The second portion was issued today of the names of officers NCOs and men mentioned by Sir Douglas Haig in connection with his recent description of the operations on the Somme in particular and the Western Front in general……
RFA Beddows Temp Cap WJ
Lt (temp C) WJ Beddows RFA mentioned in dispatches is the son of W Beddows of the firm of William Beddows & Co the timber merchants Union Mill Street. Captain Beddows’ home address is Wergs road Tettenhall.
Wolverhampton Archives has scrap books of WW1 newspaper cuttings. On page 40 of the volume of cuttings from 1914-1915, is an article which states the following:
Wolverhampton Sportsmen on Active Service. A large number of the members of the Wolverhampton Cricket Club, South Staffs Golf Club and Penn Golf Club are now on active service. WJ Beddows a Lt in the Royal Field Artillery and his brother EC Beddows a Lt in the RAMC. The latter was in the retreat from Mons.
WJ Beddows’ Medal Index Card shows that he was in France, became a Major in the RFA, and that his address was Balfour House, Finsbury Pavement, London EC2, which had changed to The Coppice, Newbridge, Wolverhampton, when he applied for his medals on 18th February 1922.
He was also featured in the Express & Star on 3 January 1916. The article stated that he had been mentioned in despatches by Field Marshal Sir John French for gallant and distinguished service in the field, and that he had fought at Mons and the Marne.
In addition to the mention in the Express & Star in January 1917, there are several further mentions of WJ Beddows in the London Gazette (LG). This includes: War Office, 25th February, 1913. TERRITORIAL FORCE – ROYAL FIELD ARTILLERY 3rd:North Midland Brigade, Royal Field Artillery; William John Beddows to be Second Lieutenant. Dated 6th February, 1913. Other items mention changes to his rank but he is mentioned in dispatches a further three times, on 15 JUNE, 1916, 11 DECEMBER 1917 and 20 MAY, 1918. He was awarded the Military Cross in 1919. See Page 23 SUPPLEMENT TO THE EDINBURGH GAZETTE, JANUARY 2, 1919. AWARDED THE MILITARY CROSS Capt. William John Beddows, R.F.A., T.F.
On page 565 of THE EDINBURGH GAZETTE, MAY 11, 1928 we read
War Office, 8th May 1928. The KING has been graciously pleased to confer the Territorial Decoration under the terms of the Royal Warrant dated 13th October 1920:— ROYAL ARTILLERY. 62nd (N. Midland) Field Bde.—Lt.-Col. (Bt. Col.) William John Beddows, M.C. The final mention found is on page 1771 of THE LG of 14 MARCH, 1939. Commissions signed by the Lord Lieutenant of the County of Stafford. Colonel William John Beddows, M.C., T.D., of Ackleton House, near Wolverhampton
The cricket website mentions W. J. Beddows, telling us that he went to Wolverhampton Grammar School, lists the matches that Beddows played in, and provides the dates of his birth and death: “William John Beddows was born at Tettenhall on 9th June 1882, and died on 6th January 1962 at the age of 69 at Wolverhampton”. He played as wicket keeper for Staffordshire, in the Minor Counties Championship, between 1903 and 1910. He also played Golf for Staffordshire. He is also mentioned in the book Wolverhampton’s Sporting Heroes, by Joey Brew, a copy of which is available at Wolverhampton Archives. He played in an interesting cricket match at Tettenhall on 21st and 22nd July 1911 between Mr GL Jessop’s XI and Mr H D Stratton’s XI. The account of the match is accompanied by a photograph of the players, including WJ Beddows, and the famous cricketer, W G Grace, who also played in the match.
In 1891 the census shows John W Beddows, age 8, living at 153 Sweetman Street, St Marks, Wolverhampton, with his parents William age 37 and Mary age 40, and his siblings Elizabeth age 7, Edmund C age 4 and George F age 3 and 2 respectively and 2 general domestic servants, Martha Gregory and Louisa Crook age 19 and age 14.
At the time of the 1901 census, the family was living at 26 Newbridge Street, St Jude’s Parish, Wolverhampton. William Beddows is a Timber Merchant age 47 and his wife May A.E. is age 50. William J is age 18 and a Timber Merchants clerk, his brothers Edward C and George F are age 14 and 13 respectively. Their sister Elizabeth J is age 17.
At the time of the 1911 census WJ Beddows age 28 was a Timber Merchants assistant, living with his parents, William age 56, a timber merchant and Mary Anne Eliza Beddows, age 59, and his 2 brothers Edward Charles age 24 a medical student, and George Frederick age 23 a Timber Merchants assistant plus a general servant age 33 Annie Yarrow, at Beulah on the Wergs Road at Tettenhall.
The Wolverhampton History site includes information from a Local Directory for 1897 about “William Beddows & Co., British and Foreign Timber Merchants, Sawing, Planing and Moulding Mills, Union Mill Street … who have owned the concern for the last twenty years, and … who employ numerous workmen. In The London Gazette of 12th January 1968 Page 555 is the following entry “Name of Company: W. BEDDOWS & CO. LIMITED. Nature of Business: TIMBER MERCHANTS. Address of ‘Registered Office: Union Mill Street, Wolverhampton. Liquidator’s Name and Address: Robert Bromley, 26A Snow Hill, Wolverhampton. Date of Appointment: 2&th July 1967. By whom Appointed: Members.(255)
On 25th October 1915 William Beddows married Esme Lisa McBean the daughter of Colonel A McBean and Eliza Ward Amatt, of Ackleton House, Ackleton, Shropshire, at St Michaels Church Tettenhall. The 1924 Kellys shows William John Beddows living at 287 Tettenhall Road Wolverhampton, and his father William living at Beulah Wergs Road Tettenhall, There were 2 children of the marriage, a son Ian Alexander born 20th October 1920 at Wolverhampton and a daughter Alison Elizabeth whose birth, according to the on line records at FreeBMD was registered in the quarter ended December 1929 at Wolverhampton, and again, in the quarter ended March 1930.
Beddows was again active in the Home Guard during the Second World War. Wolverhampton Art Gallery has a 1942 photograph (Ref M999 Date 1942) of the 20th Brigade South Staffordshire Home Guard, with this account: “Col W J Beddows MC is Sector Commander. Right from the start of the Sector there was a tremendous rush to ‘sign on’. Col. Beddows made a strong appeal to the townspeople to rally and give the LDV full support”. He expected to see between 600 to 800 on the recruiting ground, but there were 1,700 volunteers, as per the article in the Express and Star, 22nd May 1939.
The Peerage website adds the following information:
He held the office of Justice of the Peace (J.P.) for Staffordshire.3 He held the office of Deputy Lieutenant (D.L.) of Staffordshire.3 He was decorated with the award of the Territorial Decoration (T.D.).3 He lived at Ackleton House, Wolverhampton, Staffordshire, England.1 He was decorated with the award of the Military Cross (M.C.).
Esme Beddows died on 13th June 1961 at Ackleton, and William died on 6 January 1962. Soon afterwards, probate for “William John Beddows MC of Ackleton House Ackleton near Wolverhampton” was at Birmingham 22 March to Ian Alexander Beddows, his son, and David Henry Lewis OBE, and his effects were valued at £10,815 12s 8d.