King Edward’s School and the Great War

Memorial Roll of Honour 1914 - 1918


Beech, Edmund William

Captain ▪ 1st North Midland Field Company, Royal Engineers

Edmund William Beech, born on 2nd May 1875, was admitted to King Edward’s School in September 1887. His father was an accountant and during his time at School the family lived on Oxford Road, Moseley.

Edmund became an accountant like his father, practising in Temple Street, and was also an expert judge of dogs: from 1901 he was Secretary of the Birmingham Dog Show.

Edmund was a member of the Royal Engineer Territorial Force before the war, and upon the outbreak of hostilities was transferred to the 1st North Midland Field Company, Royal Engineers, as a Captain. An extract from The Old Edwardian’s Gazette, November 10th 1914, records: “[During mobilisation], Edmund was engaged in a collection of horses and vehicles for service with the army. A horse attached to a wagon bolted, and in trying to stop it, Captain Beech was dragged along the ground, and thrown under the wheels of the wagon, which passed over him. He sustained serious injuries to the head and body and died the same day.” He died at 4.30pm on 11th August 1914 at Birmingham Central Hospital, and is buried in Brandwood End Cemetery, King’s Heath. He is commemorated on St Mary’s Church Memorial, Moseley.

Edmund had resided at the White House, Tanworth-in-Arden, with his wife Mabel and their three children. One of his sisters was the wife of Mr William Bowater, son of Alderman Bowater, Mayor of Birmingham (and Old Edwardian). Edmund may very well have been Birmingham’s first casualty of the Great War, not even making it out of the city.