Viva Brighton Issue #57 November 2017





ERNEST F BEAL (Routes 1, 12, 13)

In 1918 Ernest Frederick Beal was posthumously

awarded the Victoria Cross, the only man in

Brighton to receive the highest award for ‘gallantry

in the face of the enemy’ in World War One.

Born in Brighton on January 27, 1883, Beal attended

Brighton Grammar School (now BHASVIC) and

later worked in his father’s stationary shop in East

Street. In 1914, aged 31, he enlisted as a trooper

in the Sussex Yeomanry, and was made a sergeant

a year later. Posted to the Balkans in 1915, he then

rose to the position of second lieutenant in 13th

Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment.

In March 1918, while stationed in St Léger, in the

Pas-de-Calais region of Northern France, Beal

performed the heroics that won him his award. On

a single day he personally took out two German

machine gun teams armed only with a pistol; he

also saved the

life of one of

his men left

wounded on the

ground, hauling

the soldier on

his back to the

safety of the


Sadly, according to the London Gazette, ‘Beal was

killed by a shell on the following morning’.

Today, Lieutenant Beal is commemorated on the war

memorial at the Old Steine, on the roll of honour

held at BHASVIC, and on the Arras Memorial to

the Missing, in Calais. In 1973, his medals were

bequeathed to the Green Howards Museum in

Richmond, North Yorkshire. Saskia Solomon

Illustration by Joda (@jonydaga)

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