Promoted from Detective Sergeant to Superintendent

Grandad Beck was promoted to Superintendent of Blandford Division on 16 June 1915.  The local newspapers were listing the men killed or wounded in the fighting in the Great War.  Prior to being promoted he was a Detective Sergeant based at Dorchester.  It is a possibility that the promotion came very quickly, the day before Superintendent Ricketts had died.  Rickett’s had been Superintendent of Wimborne Division.  The Chief Constable, Captain Granville must have been very quick to move Superintendent Sims based at Blandford to Wimborne and promote Grandad Beck.  This was a significant promotion and was to be his last. This not only entailed moving to Blandford but he would have had a significant pay rise.  Something his wife would have appreciated, costs were rising fast, as I wrote about in last weeks post.

Two Police Superintendents
Superintendent James Sims and Superintendent (Grandad) Arthur Percy Beck

Move to Blandford Forum

Grandad Beck’s days would have been taken with up passing over his current duties and learning his new ones.  For his wife, Rebecca this would have entailed packing up the house and, I assume, moving at very short notice.  I am sure Rebecca was delighted with the promotion but must have had misgivings about the move to a new town.  The house they lived in at Dorchester had 6 rooms including the kitchen.  The neighbours were from different trades, (1911 census) none of them were Policemen, though they were not far from the Police station and other policemen lived nearby.  Blandford was very different because they were moving into the police station. Police stations at this time, housed the men and their families, any visiting policemen, the offices and other rooms used by the police, prison cells and stables.  At Blandford, the 1911 census lists a Sergeant and 2 Constables with their wives and families besides the Superintendent.  Superintendent Sims lists 7 rooms occupied by himself and his family, suggesting the accommodation was slightly larger.

A young man with a large bicyle
Lionel Howard Beck C.1915

Lionel and May

Lionel would have been 16 years of age and I would assume working.  We know he moved with the family, so he must have had to change job.  When he enrolled in the Army 2 years later he was working in a shop, so it is possible this was his job in Dorchester.  Given the circumstance of Grandad Beck’s promotion he must have had to hand his notice in very quickly, lets hope it was a job he was glad to leave.

A young girl dressed in her best cloths
May Beck C1915

May would have been 14 years old and may have still been at School.  In 1911 census is seems usual for 13 year old daughters, including those of policemen, to be still at school.  Girls 14 and older, living in the same area as the family, were usually listed without any occupation.  As the war progressed girls and young women were taking jobs to help replace the men that were called up.  We believe that May worked in Blandford telephone exchange at the end of the war.  Whether May was at School, at home or working the move to Blandford would have been an upheaval and she would have had to leave her friends behind, but it could have been exciting as well.  New places to explore and people to meet for both Lionel and May.

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Ref: Bridport News 19 July 1935

Lionel – Son, Brother and Soldier for 101 days – at Peace

On 23rd April 1917 Grandad Beck’s son Lionel joined the Royal North Devon Hussars 2/1 Battalion. His service was to last 101 days, just over 3 months.  From his discharge papers and the three letters Lionel wrote to his sister May, we find out about this time. Less than a year after he returned home,  Lionel died, his death certificate contained a surprise.

Lionel the soldier

We learn that Private Lionel Howard Beck was 5ft 6in with blue eyes and fair hair. Before his  call up, Lionel, worked as a shop assistant, most likely in Blandford where he lived at home with his parents and sister.  At this time Grandad Beck was Superintendent at Blandford and the family lived in the police station.

Supt of Police and young man in military uniform
Lionel with his father, Grandad Beck

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