Ernest Beadle

KOYLIPrivate, 203871, 1/4th (Territorial) Battalion, King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry (previously 10137, Lincolnshire Regiment), died of wounds, 26th July 1917, aged 28

Born at Beverley in 1889, Ernest was the only son of (Thomas) Henry and Elizabeth (Liza) Ann Beadle (nee Baily). His father, known as Henry, was from Thorngumbald and had served in the army for a time in his youth. The family arrived in Crowle in the early 1900’s and in 1911 were living in Broad Fleet where both Ernest and his father worked as farm labourers.

Ernest enlisted in the Lincolnshire Regiment at Scunthorpe on 24th August, 1914, the day before his 24th birthday. Posted to the 6th (Service) Battalion, he was at Grantham in camp with them on 14th September 1914 when he went absent without leave, until being apprehended by the civil police on 1st October. On his return he was awarded 18 days detention, which he served out on 20th October. Thirty eight days later, and after serving a total of ninety-six days in the army, on 27th November 1914 Ernest was discharged as ‘Not being likely to become an efficient soldier’.

However such was the Army’s requirement for men as the war went on, that when Ernest re-enlisted in the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry at Goole in the week ending 2nd July 1915, he was accepted for a soldier. Although to make doubly sure his past record did not catch up with him it seems he enlisted under his father’s name and all the local newspapers reported his enlistment as H Beadle. As both his mother and father had died by the time the war memorial was constructed this error was never corrected.

During the night and early morning of 21st and 22nd July, the 1/4th KOYLI were in trenches around Nieuport (now Nieuwpoort) on the Flanders coast when the German’s launched a heavy bombardment on them, including large quantities of their new gas shells ” Blue Cross,” (Diphenylchloroarsine), a type of ‘asphyxiant’ gas and Yellow Cross,” (Dichloroethylsulphide) better known as ‘mustard gas’. A deadly and invisible weapon used for the first time only days previously, the soldiers were unprepared for the signs of new gas and it’s release caused terrible suffering and injuries among them. The immediate effect of mustard gas is a slight irritation of the nose and throat, which is followed shortly afterwards by sneezing and vomiting and the eyes becoming irritated and painful. After a short-time the victim then develops extremly painful blisters, both internally and externally, along with breathing difficulties and symptoms resembling bronchitis that last for around a week and can be fatal.

In the gas attack at Nieuport the 1/4th KOYLI lost 8 men killed, 9 wounded and 498 gassed, many of whom would subsequently die a painful death, days or weeks later. Among the gassing victims was Ernest Beadle. Taken to the 1st Canadian Casualty Clearing Station at Coxyde, Ernest died here from the effects of the mustard gas poisoning on 26th July 1917. He is buried in Coxyde Military Cemetery.

The information on his CWGC record, which states he was the brother of Fred Beadle of Baxtergate, Hedon, Hull, is also incorrect. Fred was the son of Ephraim Beadle, Henry’s brother and Ernest’s cousin. Coincidently the family were also living in Crowle, when Fred married Emily Walker of Swinefleet in 1915.