William Beecham, was born in Hough c1864, son of James & Elizabeth Beecham. On the 1881 census (aged 18) he was listed as a groom, but when he joined the Army at Newark on 31 May 1883 (aged 17 years, 0 months) he was described as a farm labourer. He signed on for 7 years, plus 5 on the reserve. He was 5ft 5 3/4”.
He joined the Northumberland Fusiliers (regimental number 285), having previously served in the militia in 4th Battalion, Derbyshire Regiment (which became part of the Sherwood Foresters in 1881).
He was first promoted to Lance Corporal in Dec 1884 but reverted to private 4 months later. He served for 7 years in India, during which time he took part in the 1888 Black Mountain Expedition against the tribes in the Hazara area (Pakistan). He was promoted Corporal in 1888? then to Lance Sergeant in 1889 and Sergeant in 1890. Later in 1890 he signed on for 12 years with the colours. He married Mary Foster, 9 Feb 1891 at Nowshera on the North West Frontier. Then in 1893 (at Peshawa) he extended his service to 21 years before returning to Britain in Mar that year. During the Boer War he spent 15 months (Mar 1901 – May 1902) in South Africa. In 1903 he was permitted to extend beyond 21 years and completed his service with 3rd Bttn, Northumberland Fusiliers at Newcastle on Tyne in May 1907.
During this time William and Mary had 4 children: Thomas /Eleanor (born 13 Apr 1892), James (7 Oct 1895), William Charles (28 Feb? 1898) and Louisa Mary Elizabeth (30 Aug 1901).
Other members of the Beecham family lived in and around Hough on the Hill for many years. More research to follow…..
Photos from the Hough on the Hill Historical Society.