Lieutenant Colonel Rowland John Beech died on 30th August 1919, aged 64, whilst Commander of the Warwickshire Yeomanry. He had served in France with the 36th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery during the First World War but was invalided home in 1918.
He was born on 15th November 1853 at one of his family’s country estates, Brandon, near Coventry. His parents, James (1812-1883) and Emily Charlotte (née Madocks) (1824-1913) had six children, with Rowland being the third child and the second son. The eldest child, Cecil James Beech (1845-1850), died at the age of four, meaning that Rowland was heir to the family estates. The family had country estates at Brandon Hall near Coventry and Shawe Hall, Kingsley near Cheadle, Staffordshire, as well as leases on houses in Eaton Square in Belgravia, Cadogan Square in Chelsea, and Folkestone, Kent.
The local connection is that Rowland Beech was a member of the North Warwickshire Hunt, which met at Meriden, and also the Meriden-based Woodmen of Arden, an invitation-only company of archers.
Rowland was educated at Christ Church, Oxford, matriculating in October 1871, aged 17. After leaving university, he served in the 2nd Life Guards and was in the Camel Corps in Sudan 1884-5.
He married Adelaide Frederica Cure in 1885 and they had four children – Christabel Emily Sarah (“Kitty”) (1886-1943); Irene Frederica (1887-1947); Rowland Auriol James (“Jim”) (1888-1915); and Douglas Charles Murray (1889-1944).
He became Commander of the Warwickshire Yeomanry in June 1908 and helped to train them during the First World War. He was posted to France on 22nd February 1917, two years and one day after his eldest son, Jim, was killed on active service.
Colonel Beech died at Folkestone as a result of anterior scelerocis, cerebral softening and cardiac failures, according to information obtained by the Kingsley Remembers project. Although it doesn’t seem as if his death was directly attributable to his military service, he was a serving officer and is included in the official lists of war casualties. He is buried in the family vault at St Werburgh’s Church, Kingsley, Staffordshire and is also commemorated on a plaque in St Margaret’s Church, Wolston, Rugby.
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