Horace BEARD
Rank: Gunner
Number: 74626
Unit: 109th Brigade ROYAL FIELD ARTILLERY
Date of Death: 11 July 1916
Age: 23
Cemetery: Euston Road Cemetery, Colincamps, Somme, France

John Beard was in his late 60s when he married Mary in the 1890s. He was a farmer and the couple would live at 61 Prospect Place, Compstall and would have two children together - Horace born in about 1894 and Edith in about 1899. John is believed to have died in 1907. He had probably been married previously and had adult children living nearby. A man also called John Beard is listed in the 1914 edition of Kelly’s Directory carrying on business as a carrier and was, presumably, a relative.

Nothing else is known of Horace’s life except that, at some point the family moved to live at Market Place in the village. He enlisted into the army at Stockport and was assigned to the artillery.

The Battle of the Somme had started on 1 July 1916, but the 24th Division, of which Horace’s unit was part, had not yet been significantly involved. On the day he died, they were a little way behind the front line preparing to go forward in due course. The Brigade’s War Diary, held at the National Archives, has no details of the day so it is impossible to know the exact circumstances in which Horace was killed. However, it is likely that their position was sought out by the enemy artillery and that he was killed by their shellfire.

   
           
   
     
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