FOR REGINALD CLIFFORD BEESTON
Beeston, Reginald's father, died from pneumonia at 27 Minerva
Avenue, Dover, on 17th June 1909. He left a widow, Maude, née
Cox, whom he had married in Gibraltar on 25th April 1894, and
four children. The family consisted of three boys,
John, 12, Leslie Phillip Edward, 10, Reginald Clifford, 8, and a
baby girl, Winnie Maude, aged 2, and before the latter two
children were born, had been living at Broadlees Cottages,
behind the Dover Castle.
originally enlisted in the Royal Marines, at London on 24
January 1887. He was then 19 and working as a warehouseman. His
father, Edward John Beeston, was then his next-of-kin, living at
34 Highgate Road.
However, on 16 April
that year, giving his age as 18 and his trade as a clerk,
Clifford enlisted in the Royal Artillery at Woolwich, as number
61905. He appears to have had an alias - "Charles Best". His
father was by then living at 35 Seagrove Road, his name given as
Edward John Best. Clifford forfeited his service in the Marines
when his re-enlistment was rediscovered, but went on to have
make a good career in the Artillery. He was promoted a number of
times, and re-engaged on 10 March 1898 to serve 21 years.
Clifford was then
permitted to serve until he reached the age of 40, and was
discharged just eight months before his death. With a medal for long service and good
conduct, he had been over eight years in Gibraltar, and over 21
years in military service. Since his discharge on 13 October
1908, he had been working at the Castle, as a clerk in the
Military Records office, and all the staff attended his
funeral on 21 June, along with the band of the RGA and members
from other branches of the services.
The coffin, bearing
the inscription "Clifford Dundas Beeston, died Jun 17th, 1909,
aged 39" was draped with the Union Flag and borne on a gun
carriage to Buckland cemetery. .
With the death of her
husband, Maude attempted to earn her living by a little
needlework and by letting apartments when required. This brought
in around ten shillings a week. Cyril was helped to find
as a coach trimmer by, it is believed, local Freemasons. His
father had been a Freemason, having been admitted to Military
Jubilee Lodge No 2195, Dover, on 26th March 1896 from
Inhabitants Lodge No 193, Gibraltar. Leslie, as the son of
benevolently admitted to the Duke of York's Royal Military
On 10th November
1910, Maude applied to the school for the admission of Reginald.
The petition was approved and Reginald entered the school on
17th July 1913. There his conduct was considered very good, and
he was said to be a smart and willing boy. He was fond of games,
and a good boxer, and played the flute well. But he was also
mischievous. Although he gained two good conduct badges, one was
temporarily removed after he had broken a pane of glass on the
roof of the lavatory. He received four strokes of the cane for
this escapade, while on another occasions he was punished for
fighting in the passage.
Reginald left the
School on 22 September 1916, on his fourteenth birthday, to join
the Royal Garrison artillery. Two years later he died at
Shoeburyness camp. His mother arranged for his body to be
brought home, and he was laid to rest on 14 November 1918 in the
same grave as his father.
Clifford and Maude Beeston, with a baby believed to be Winnie
Cyril at the coach/vehicle trimmers shop
(if you know where this shop might have been, or can identify
the people in the picture, please
Cyril in uniform (unidentified)
left: the site
of Broadlees Cottages. The foundation mound where one of the
terraced rows stood is in the left of the picture; the road to
the cottages still remains. In the
distance, through the mist
and against the setting sun, can be seen the silhouette of Dover
Castle, and, to the left, the silhouette of the church, St Mary
right: 27 Minerva Avenue. Like many houses in
Dover, it is at the top of a steep hill.
Clifford Beeston was the son of Emma and Edward Beeston, a
wholesale milk warehouseman, born in Norfolk. Clifford was born
in Middlesex, St Pancras; he was christened at St John the
Baptist, Camden on 29 May 1870. His parents were then living at
83 Churchill Road, with his father working as a warehouseman.
with grateful thanks to Angie
with grateful thanks to Michael Carson, Duke of York's Royal
with grateful thanks to Mr Taylor, Military Jubilee