Malvern College First World War Casualty

Lieutenant Norman Sydney Beale MC

House and time at Malvern: Sch, 1907 - 1910.

Regiment: East Surrey Regt. And R.A.F.
Died: 26 May 1922 aged 29 in United Kingdom. Died after operation.
Cemetery: Sutton Cemetery

Born 4 Nov 1893, Bedford Park, Chiswick. Son of Sydney Benjamin Beale and Elizabeth Beale (nee Davis), Sutton House, Brighton Road, Sutton.
Upper IV B Modern I.
Chartered Accountant.
Great War 1914-19 (overseas), Private Public Schools' Batt.;
2nd Lieutenant, 2nd and 4th Batt. East Surrey Regt.; (invalided);
R.A.F. (invalided) ; M.C., Legion d'Honneur.

He enrolled on the 15th September 1914 and received a commission on the 26th March 1915.
He joined the 2nd Battalion East Surrey Regiment on the 16th October 1915 which left Marseilles on the 23rd October for Alexandria and then arrived at Salonika on 30th November 1915 in the war against Bulgaria.

Extract from 2nd Battalion East Surrey War Diary:
25.5.1917
Barakli - Dzuma
Another hot day. Enemy put large shells out at 100th Battery Position that is 200 yards behind us.
In view of information being required of T trench that is in front of us, a raiding patrol was arranged for tonight. This trench consists of a long communication trench marching out from the enemy's main line trench and which ends in a fire trench. At 9.05pm our guns opened an intense bombardment on the enemy front line trenches and on the town of Ernekos for 5 mins.
The idea was that our patrol should charge the trench immediately the bombardment ceased, in the hope of catching the occupants of the trench lying down for cover. The assaulting party consisted of 10 OR under 2/Lieut N. S. BEALE and they were to get within rushing distance of the trench before the bombardment ceased.
However the going was very bad indeed as the grass is well over 6 feet high in places and the patrol must have been seen or heard as they were heavily fired upon when they had reached a point 100 yards from the enemy line.
The patrol then made 3 very gallant rushes towards T trench under heavy rifle fire, getting right up to the enemy wire where they were heavily bombed. Our men replied by throwing 30 bombs into the enemy but after 2/Lt BEALE and 8 OR had been severely wounded the patrol retired in good order having obtained valuable information and the congratulations of the Brigadier.

He had suffered a gun shot wound to the head and was sent to the 42nd General Hospital, then to Malta where he remained one month. Then to the No 2 General Hospital, London and was invalided out of the Army.

As a result of the action he received the MC with the following citation:
'For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty when in charge of a patrol.
Although severely wounded by a bomb, he continued to handle his patrol with skill and judgment, and returned with valuable information as to the enemy's dispositions.' (London Gazette, 16 Aug 1917)

The medical board found a 'Gun shot wound to head & open scar above right ear & in front of right ear. Considerable impediment in speech. Obvious difficulty in remembering dates etc.'

On the 10th June 1918 an X Ray showed 'three foreign bodies, 2 probably bone, quite superficial, the third probably metal lies deeper 1 and 1/4 inches 'from the surface'. He suffers from headaches and giddiness on the slightest exertion. He sleeps badly. His temperament is nervous. He is able to walk and lead a quiet life. On 25th May 1918 he apparently had an epileptic seizure.'

By the 28th October 1918, it was found that 'Wound is well healed but there is absence of bone just above Right Rinna about size of 2 shilling piece, at joint of wound and pulsation can be felt. He states that he has improved considerably but still suffers from headache and giddiness at times. His speech is quite good but he stammers a little.'

He joined the RAF on the 26th October 1918 but was transferred to the unemployed list on 17th April 1919.

He died on the 26th May 1922 at the Neurological Hospital, Tooting after an operation on the head wound with the official cause of death being gunshot wounds received in warfare and encephalitis.

References:
Malvern College Register (1924 edition), page 507.
Service Record East Surrey Regt: WO 339/45028
Service Record RAF: AIR 76/29/192
Medal Card: WO 372/2/55756
Unit War Diary: WO 95/4921
MC Citation in London Gazette
Legion d'Honneur Chevalier in London Gazette
Obituary at FlightGlobal
Gravestone at FindaGrave

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