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Beachcroft A L Pte  3243

Page history last edited by Lenore Frost 5 years, 2 months ago

Volunteers of Essendon and Flemington, 1914-1918


Pte Arthur Leslie Beachcroft, taken at Broadmeadows in 1915

prior to embarkation.  From the Australian War Memorial

Collection. http://cas.awm.gov.au/item/DA11551


Beachcroft A L Pte  3243    Arthur Leslie     6 Inf Bn    18    Tinsmiths Presser    Single    C of E        

Address:    Moonee Ponds, Athol St, 111    

Next of Kin:    Beachcroft, G, father, 111 Athol St, Moonee Ponds    

Enlisted:    5 Jul 1915        

Embarked:     A71 Nestor 11 Oct 1915


Relatives on Active Service:

Beachcroft E S Pte 6062  brother

Beachcroft F W Pte 7490 brother

Beachcroft D H brother Depot



Private Arthur Leslie Beachcroft

by Anne McLeish



The Beachcroft family had lived in the area  since  the 1800s.  George Beachcroft , his father, had a fruit shop at 327 Mt. Alexander Road, Ascot Vale  from 1888 to 1894. This shop was beside the bank  on the corner of Mt. Alexander and Bank Street.   From 1904 to 1920 the Beachcrofts lived at 111 Athol Street Moonee Ponds  (between Hotham and La Trobe streets).


Arthur spent his childhood around Moonee Ponds and attended Moonee Pond West Primary School as a small child. He enlisted to go to war in July 1915 and embarked for Europe in October that same year.


Because  he was only eighteen at the time his father wrote a letter supporting his enlistment. In  it George says  that they had:  “great pleasure in giving consent to our son joining….”


From Arthur's B2455 record, National Archives of Australia.


A youthful Arthur taken in 1915.  (Courtesy of Anne McLeish)


This postcard was addressed to Arthur’s mother and reads:  "To Mother from Arthur On active service".  He also marks a cross to show where he is (see white blotch on photograph.)‏  Photo courtesy of Anne McLeish.  Arthur left Melbourne on the Nestor on 11 October 1915.


The mother to whom Arthur wrote: Alice Beachcroft.  Photo courtesy of

Anne McLeish.


History of the 6th Infantry Battalion



Arthur in camp in Egypt at Christmas time in 1915.  Photo courtesy

of Anne McLeish.


Another mate - Private Finch of the 6th Battalion Broad-

meadows. Arthur has written on the reverse side: "I am

sending this  back as it will be better home than here".

Photo courtesy of Anne McLeish.  This is probably 3296

Pte Frederick Thomas Finch, 18 years, grocer of Caulfield.


The inscription reads: "Old Turkish railway across desert".  Arthur probably picked up this

postcard in Egypt.  Photo courtesy of Anne McLeish.


Arthur and some of his comrades from the 6th and 8th battalions in the trenches near Passchendaele Ypres Salient, Belgium, in October 1917. Arthur is in the front row with an 'X' marked on his hand, to the right of centre.  Photo courtesy of Anne McLeish.

 in October 1917.

Arthur trained in Egypt, and later served in Belgium and France.  In 1918 he returned to Australia on a hospital ship.  He was injured in one of the early battles in which his battalion engaged and was often ill after that.  Much of his time overseas was spent in hospital. He was finally declared unfit and shipped home with the shrapnel wounds with caused problems for the rest of his life. Arthur left the war zone in 1918 having spent over three years  overseas ill or fighting.  He was awarded three medals – in 1920 the Military Star,  in 1921 the British War Medal and in 1922 the Victory Medal.


The inscription on the rear reads:  "Down in the cellar is where we have a headquarters, a hundred yards from the front line. This was taken before it was in ruins".  The village of Vieux-Berquin is a short distance south west of Hazebrouk, France.  Photo courtesy of Anne McLeish.


This is a photograph of a cement factory in France. The inscription on the reverse side reads:  "We are billeted in the factory  Arthur 1/8/1918".  Photo courtesy of Anne McLeish.  


[In pencil] "13 Platoon   Left flank to be 100 yards from Road Frontage 200 yards".  [In ink] "The circle is put round the position where I was with Hqrs at the time of the advance. R29D9550 is our objective. I did not reach it as I was wounded between wood No 2 and 1.  R26D84 is a forward dressing station where I made my way".   The photo is taken looking  east.  Photo courtesy of Anne McLeish.   A larger version of the photo can be seen here.


At the top of this detail of an Australian Army map showing the trench positions near Herleville, the East-West Road shown in Arthur's photo can be seen, with St Denis Wood and Herleville Wood marked top right.  Map from the Australian Army World War One Primary Materials section of their website.


The back of  Arthur's photograph.  Courtesy of Anne McLeish.


On the back of the frame:  "O  The starting off point of the 6th Battalion attack at Rosieres (France) at 4.45 am, August 23 1918".   Although Arthur mentions Rosieres, in fact he was closer to Rainecourt, with Rosieres to the south (or right) of the photo.



Arthur would have been very close to the action in which Captain Joynt won a VC at Herleville Wood, at the top of the photo.


Victoria Cross awarded to Captain William Donovan Joynt, 8th Infantry Battalion.

'For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty during the attack on Herleville Wood, near Chuignes, Peronne, on 23rd August, 1918. His company commander, having been killed early in the advance, he immediately took charge of the company, which he led with courage and skill. On approaching Herleville Wood, the troops of the leading battalion which his battalion was supporting, suffered very heavy casualties and were much shaken. Lieutenant Joynt, grasping the situation, rushed forward under very heavy machine gun and artillery fire, collected and reorganized the remnant of the battalion, and kept them under cover pending the arrival of his own company. He then made a personal reconnaissance and found that the fire from the wood was checking the whole advance and causing heavy casualties to troops on his flanks. Dashing out in font of his men, he inspired and led a magnificent frontal bayonet attack on the wood. The enemy were staggered by this sudden onslaught, and a very critical situation was saved. Later at Plateau Wood, this very gallant officer again, with a small party of volunteers, rendered invaluable service, and after severe hand to hand fighting turned a stubborn defence into an abject surrender. His valour and determination was conspicuous throughout, and he continued to do magnificent work until badly wounded by a shell.'
Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 36  Date: 14 March 1919


           Guildford Castle

The inscription reads: "You will notice there are no + markings on the boat. They are done away with now".  After receiving gunshot wounds to the arm and face at Herleville Wood, Arthur was embarked for England aboard the Guildford Castle on 25 August 1918.  Photo courtesy of Anne McLeish.



V.A.D. Red Cross Hospital, Standish

Arthur’s inscription on the reverse side reads:  "I am a patient in this hospital".  Photo courtesy of Anne McLeish.


"Standish Voluntary Aid Detachment  (VAD) Hospital opened on 13th May 1915. There were 100 beds and 8 fully trained nursing sisters. The remaining staff were all Red Cross volunteers from Stonehouse and surrounding areas.   The first intake of patients was 31 wounded soldiers – 14 of them being stretcher cases.  On the ground floor, there were 3 wards – Berkeley, Painswick and Dursley – and each had 27 beds. Soldiers in these wards were the most seriously injured and many were amputees.  On the second floor there were 8 smaller wards with a total of 60 beds. These soldiers had less severe injuries and some were convalescing before being transferred onwards.  The third floor housed the operating theatre and recovery ward.  In 1915 the average intake was 47 patients a day, rising in 1916 to 77 and again in 1917 to 115. The soldiers were transported by various means – St John’s ambulance, private cars and even the Stonehouse horse ambulance..

Same postcard on eBay says it was postmarked Stonehouse, Gloucestershire, 1916".  Shirley Dicker, 2009,  http://www.newstandish.co.uk/

Further information and photos: http://www.angelfire.com/az/garethknight/redcross/standish.html


      N 3 War Hospital, Reading

Arthur’s inscription on the reverse side reads:  "I am a patient in this hospital".  This is a photograph of   War Hospital at Reading in England. The inscription reads: "Just a photo of the hospital Blighty. Arthur".  Arthur marked his ward with an 'X', just above the fenceline, near the H in Hospital.  Photo courtesy of Anne McLeish.


SS Marmari, Shaw Savill and Albion Line

Arthur Beachcroft returned home on the SS Mamari, embarking 21 December 1918.  The inscription on the rear reads: "Signatures of Battalion pals given day before leaving boat coming home  Feb 4th 1919".  Postcard courtesy of Ann McLeish.   


Ann Grant's third job took her to Melbourne where she worked for her cousin Kit O’Connor who ran a boarding house at 40 Holmes Road, Moonee Ponds.  It was here , early in the 1920s, that she Arthur Leslie Beachcroft, one of the boarders living there.  Arthur, a wood machinist, was five foot five with brown hair and blue eyes and had returned from service overseas in World War I.




The Ring Arthur bought for

Ann with his war service back

pay. (Courtesy of Ann McLeish)



Ann and Arthur married on the 29th of September 1927, in the Presbyterian Church, Ascot Vale.  A copy of the marriage registration is included in the appendix of this album.  It tells us that Arthur was  a thirty year old wood machinist and Ann a twenty one year old spinster. 

Arthur's parents George and Alice (Watson) Beachcroft of Moonee Ponds, and Ann’s parents, John and  Catherine  Grant, graziers of Chute, were all present.


The early days of their marriage were not  easy for Ann and Arthur.  The Depression hit them hard and caused Arthur to be out of work for three years.  As a result they lost the war service home at 40  Woodland Street which they had been paying off.  They then moved ,with their daughter Alyse, to a rental home in Margaret Street, Moonee Ponds  and 

Ann and Arthur in later years, on their way to attend their daughter's wedding.(Photo courtesy of Ann McLeish)


paid  17/6 per week rent .  This

became the family home in which

Alyse, Norma and Ailsa grew up.


Ann and Arthur did not quarrel much, partly because Arthur was such a placid man.  According to Alyse however, one thing was sure to make Ann “go crook” - Arthur stealing hot scones after Ann had made a batch. For this she would chase him with the broom.


Ann and Arthur started a family  early in their married life  and had four children.  The first two children Ronald and Alyse (Betty) were born close to each other while there is three years between the births of the three girls.

Ronald was born in  1929, Alyse in 1930, Norma in 1933 and Ailsa in 1936.



Mr. D. H. Beachecroft, eldest son of Mr. Geo. Beachcroft, of Athol street, Moonee Ponds, who has been employed as a railway guard at Burnley, and who is a native of Ascot Vale, has enlisted. He has a wife and three children, and considers it his duty to serve his country. Three other sons of Mr. George Beachcroft are already at the front, thus showing that the family are alive to their country's cause.


SCOTO-AUSTRALIANS HELP TO WIN THE WAR. (1917, March 29). The Essendon Gazette and Keilor, Bulla and Broadmeadows Reporter (Moonee Ponds, Vic. : 1914 - 1918), p. 6 Edition: Morning.. Retrieved May 6, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article74602118



War Service Commemorated

Essendon Town Hall A-F

Moonee Ponds West State School                        

St James Church            

St Thomas' Anglican Church                                            

Essendon Gazette Roll of Honour With the Colours


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