King Edward’s School and the Great War

Memorial Roll of Honour 1914 - 1918


Gammell, Beaumont Edward Zacharie

Lieutenant ▪ Royal Air Force

Beaumont Edward Zacharie ‘Beau’ Gammell, born on 21st July 1895, was admitted to King Edward’s School in September 1904. His father, Hector, was Surveyor to the Urban District Council of Perry Bar, but according to Beau’s School Record Card, his father was a “nonentity”. At the time of the 1901 Census, Beau, aged 7, boarded with Mr Badcock, a school principle, at 84, Alcester Road. In 1904, Beau’s father left his job with Perry Bar Council and emigrated to Canada, presumably with the idea of finding employment there and sending for his wife and family later. However, after a year or two, his wife Maud became suspicious and, on following him to Canada with Beau’s sister, Hectorena, found that he had been unfaithful to her. She divorced him in 1907, and what happened to Hector in the years following is largely unknown. In 1911, Beau was living with his maternal grandparents on St Andrew’s Road.

At some point, Beau transferred to Bedford Grammar School, where he won his colours for fives and a Law Society Scholarship. Between 1913 and 1917, he worked as a solicitor’s articled clerk in Westminster.

Beau was commissioned straight into the newly-formed Royal Air Force in 1918 as a Lieutenant, and was sent to France later that year. He was recommended for the Croix de Guerre for service with the French army at the Marne where his machine had caught fire and, having extinguished the fire in the air, he landed his plane and carried his wounded navigator two and a half miles to the nearest Ambulance Station. Beau died on 4th September 1918 while leading a formation of seven machines. After successfully conducting a bombing raid over German lines, he was surrounded by a large number of hostile planes and was afterwards seen “spinning down.” The Law Society recorded that, “a brilliant student has been lost”. He is buried in Denain Communal Cemetery, France, where the inscription on his headstone reads: “Moriens Sed Invictus”, the motto which appears on the family crest, meaning “Dead But Unconquered”. He left his estate to his mother, who remarried.