BECK, Theodore David Vodden

Second Lieutenant, “B” Coy. 6th Bn., Somerset Light Infantry formerly Honourable Artillery Company.

Born

Sept 1894.
Son of William (Retd. Accountant) and Alice Mary Beck of 10, Twyford Place, Tiverton, Devon.

Education

Blundell's School, a “Day Boy” from the age of 15 in September 1909 – Summer 1912.

Service

Enlisted Feb 1915. Gazetted May 1916.

Trench Diaries

The 6st Bn. Somerset Light Infantry were part of 43rd Brigade, 14th (Light) Division. During July the Battalion saw action in the Arras area but were sent via Candas by train to Mericourt arriving on the 6th August. From there they marched 5 miles to camp on a hill overlooking Albert. They saw front line action in Delville Wood on 12th August and repelled an enemy attack during the night of the 14th August. They went to support trenches in front of Montauban Alley on the 15th but working parties were sent back to Delville wood during the nights of the 15th and 16th before moving forwards again to assembly positions in the south-east corner of Delville Wood at 3am on the 18th August and made a successful attack at 2.45p.m. with assaulting companies in German trenches by 2.50p.m. They were relieved at midnight on the 19th and sent to Fricourt. During the rest of August and the first two weeks of September, the regiment was camped or bivouacked in areas south of Albert. On 14th September they were camped at Meaulte, moved to Pommiers Redoubt on the 15th and from there took their positions between Delville wood and the Switch Line ready for the attack on the 16th. They carried out an attack on Gird Trench, north east of Fleurs at 9.25a.m. but under heavy fire from Gas Alley, the attack failed, all 17 officers and some 387 other ranks becoming casualties. What remained of the regiment withdrew just before daybreak on the 17th September first to Pommiers Redoubt and then to Fricourt Camp. They were moved back to the Arras Sector on the 27th September which ended their involvement in the Somme Campaign.

Death

16th September 1916, aged 22.
During the failed attack on Gird Trench (Somme), in which all the officers of the regiment were lost.

Burial/Commemoration

2/Lt Beck has no known grave so is commemorated on Theipval Memorial, Theipval, Somme, Pillar 2, face A

Memorial

Theipval Memorial is on the D73, off the Main Bapaume to Albert (D929).
The Memorial, 150 feet high, was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and can be seen from many of the battle sites in the surrounding area. It has sixteen piers on whose faces the names of all the men who have no known grave, is inscribed. An excellent interpretation centre has been built nearby with research facilities and an “on line” memorial to the missing which contains much valuable information. Delville Wood is also designated as a memorial to all the men who still lie within it.

Research

Commonwealth War Graves Commission - www.cwgc.org
The National Archives, Kew WO 339/
Cemeteries & Memorials in Belgium & Northern France (2004) Commonwealth War Graves Commission. 25/490
The Register of Blundell's School, Part II 1882 – 1932” (1932) MAHOOD, A.S., Ed. Entry No. 5330
“British battalions on the Somme” WESTLAKE, R. (2004) p 75, Pen and Sword
Field visit (JEA & GRY 28/7/2006)

 

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