Beck, James Davidson (No. 8/328)

Beck, James Davidson (James)


No. 8/328, Otago Regiment, New Zealand Expeditionary Force  

Killed in action between Saturday 1 May and Sunday 23 May 1915 (aged 24)

No known grave


Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Lone Pine Memorial, Gallipoli, Turkey (Panel 75)

Newtownards and District War Memorial

Presbyterian Church in Ireland (PCI) Roll of Honour 1914 – 1919 for

Greenwell Street Presbyterian Church Newtownards


James Davidson Beck was born on 16 May 1891 in Drumawhey and he was a son of James Davidson Beck and Mary Anne Beck (nee Kelly, sometimes Kelley) who were married on 1 October 1886 in Greenwell Street Presbyterian Church Newtownards.  James Beck from Drumawhey was a son of Thomas Beck, a labourer.  Mary Anne Kelly from Killynether was a daughter of William Kelly, a labourer.

The Beck family lived in the townland of Ballyblack, Newtownards.

James Beck Senior worked as an agricultural labourer and he and Mary Anne had nine children:

Thomas (born 3 July 1887 at Mount Stewart)

William Kelly (born 22 January 1889 in Drumawhey)

James Davidson (born 16 May 1891 in Drumawhey)

Sarah (born 14 February 1893 in Drumawhey)

Thomas (born 30 October 1894 in Drumawhey)

Anna Mary (born 1.30 pm 10 April 1901 in Ballyblack)

Margaret (born 1.45 pm 10 April 1901 in Ballyblack)

John (born 25 June 1903 in Ballyblack; died of encephalocele and spina bifida 25 June 1903 aged 7 hours)

Elizabeth (born 27 August 1905 in Ballyblack)

The children were baptised in Greenwell Street Presbyterian Church, Newtownards.

James Davidson Beck moved to New Zealand where he worked as a labourer and lived in Invercargill.  He enlisted at Invercargill on 18 August 1914 for the duration of the war and it was noted in his attestation papers that he was 5 feet 10½ inches tall with a fair complexion, blue eyes and brown hair.

James Davidson Beck served as a Private with the Otago Regiment of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force.

Private James Davidson Beck (No. 8/328) was stationed in New Zealand from 18 August 1914 until 16 October 1914 (59 days) before being posted abroad.

After 49 days at sea he arrived in Egypt on 4 December 1914.  He left Alexandria on 12 April 1915 bound for the Dardanelles.

Private James Davidson Beck (No. 8/328) was last seen on Pope’s Hill, Gallipoli on 2 May 1915.  In June 1915 his family was informed that James was missing in action at Gallipoli and they appealed for information about him.

In January 1916, after a Board of Enquiry held at Ismailia in Egypt, it was officially confirmed that Private James Beck must be presumed to have been killed in action between 1 and 23 May 1915.

In May 1916 and again in May 1917 his family placed Our Heroes – In Memoriam notices in the Newtownards Chronicle and they contained the verses:

One long and dreary year has passed

Since this great sorrow fell,

The shock that we received that day

We still remember well

It is well we can’t draw the curtain,

Or our hearts would sink with doubt,

But just as our strength can bear it

Our portion He meteth out.

Private James Davidson Beck (No. 8/328) has no known grave and he is commemorated on the Lone Pine Memorial, Gallipoli, Turkey; on Newtownards and District War Memorial and in Greenwell Street Presbyterian Church Newtownards.

Private James Beck’s medals, plaque and scroll were sent to his father in Ballyblack.

James Beck’s father died on 4 April 1929 (aged 64) and he was buried in Movilla Old Cemetery, Newtownards (Grave 4 167).