King Edward’s School and the Great War

Memorial Roll of Honour 1914 - 1918


Whitcombe, Beresford

Lance Corporal ▪ 14th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment

Beresford Whitcombe, born on 5th January 1889, was admitted to King Edward’s School in January 1903, having previously attended West House School. He lived with his father, Edmund, the renowned Medical Superintendent of Birmingham City Asylum, his mother, Emily, and several siblings at the City Asylum, Winston Green Prison. Two of his brothers, also Old Edwardians, served in the war: Douglas was severely wounded while serving in the same battalion of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment as Beresford, and Leonard served in Salonika with the Royal Berkshire Regiment. Both brothers survived the conflict.

Beresford was in the Transitus Class of the Modern School, studying a primarily scientific, rather than classical, curriculum. He was just below average in his class overall, but performed relatively well in French and drawing, coming 7th out of 15 boys in the latter. Beresford took part in the one mile flat race in July 1905; the School Chronicle records that: “At the start B Whitcombe took the lead, but found the pace too hot.” He also came second in his class gymnastics competition in March 1906. After leaving School, the 1911 Census records that Beresford became a gas engineer.

Beresford enlisted on 13th September 1914 as a Private Soldier with the 14th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment, and landed in France on 21st November 1915. Promoted to Lance Corporal, he was wounded at Delville Wood on 30th July 1916. (His brother, Douglas, also present at the battle, was so grievously wounded that he was discharged as medically unfit for military duty in 1917.) Beresford survived his wounds and returned to his battalion on 2nd September 1916. The following day, he was killed in action during the attack on Falfmont Farm, near Guillemont. His body was never recovered but he is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial. He left his estate of £836 to his brother, Edmund.