P.C. Beck and Family at Upwey

Grandad Beck, his wife and two children moved to Upwey, between Weymouth and Dorchester in 1903. The new house at 6 Prospect Place, a terrace of cottages was just off the main road between Dorchester and Weymouth.  The unadopted dead-end lane, with the cottages on the southern side, has recently been described as ‘one of the last few quaint terraced cottage streets left in Weymouth’.

Two uniformed policemen
P.C. No. 22 Beck (standing at back) at Portland Police Station C. 1907 by kind permission of Ian Swatridge

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P. C. Beck at Upwey 1903-1908

Policemen are often called as witnesses in court cases, this is useful for me, to trace Grandad Beck’s movements around the county.  While researching today’s post I found Grandad Beck was a witness for a case involving Upwey in July 1903.  Which means that the family moved from Lyme Regis sometime previously or possibly at the end of 1902.  I had thought they moved the following year in 1904 and this post mention the later date.  The further back I go the less information I can find, the newspaper reports are shorter and a Constable appears less often then Superintendents.

From 1903 to 1908 I have written about four cases, the first three Granddad Beck as P.C. Beck is mentioned and the last one because it was unusual.  Upwey was an interesting posting, in 1903 this was under the Portland Division which, until the New Portland Police station was built, held the divisional courts in Weymouth.  Weymouth had its own Borough Police force, this must have been a challenge for Grandad Beck.  Traffic and people moved between the two which required the two forces to work together on some cases.  In addition the railway went though Upwey, this would have been the first time Grandad Beck had a beat on a railway line.  These cases give us a good idea of the range of incidents that had to be dealt with by the police.  Portland had a large naval base and visiting sailors caused the problems in the first case.

I have chosen 2 photographs from the albums that are likely to have been taken around this time.  Unfortunately we have no clue as to where they were taken.

People in a horse drawn trap
May and Lionel going on a picnic with Mum, Dad (taking the photo) Granny and Grandad (Eli, driving and Fanny or Francis Beck)

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Playing in the sand and climbing the rock at Bowleaze Cove

At the beginning of a New Year, many of us think about booking our holidays, I am sure the Grandad Beck was no different.  Up until 1909 the only time he had off was 5 days annual holiday.  One year the family went to Bowleaze  Cove near Weymouth.  I know this because Lionel and May very kindly built a sandcastle.  Little did they know how useful this would be over 100 years later.  Thank you Granny!

2 Children on beach with chalet behind
May and Lionel playing sandcastles at Bowleaze Cove C. 1908

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3rd Dorset Regiment: Mutiny and fatal shooting at Upwey

On night of Sunday 28th November 1914 there was a mutiny at Upwey, near Weymouth. Private Wallace Williams of the 3rd Dorset Regiment was killed and Private Lane injured.  The papers report that Grandad Beck attended the Coroner’s court but gives us no information about his involvement.  The civil courts part in this was to ascertain how the death happened and if it was a criminal offence.  The war had started 4 months before.  I am sure that the investigating the incident had to be handled with care, as it involved both the military and civilian police.  It is likely that Grandad Beck, as Dorset’s only detective was involved in the investigation and liaising with the Dorset Regiment.  This may have helped to secure his promotion the following year, to Superintendent of Blandford Forum, a town with a military base nearby.

I know it is not really relevant but I couldn’t resist another picture of Lionel in uniform take in 1917.

Young man in uniform
Lionel, Grandad Beck’s son in the uniform of the Royal North Devon Hussars C. April 1917

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