Family Research – English, Scottish and Irish Genealogy

11/11/2011

The mother who lost five sons: On Armistice Day, the heartbreaking story of the biggest loss by a British family in the Great War

The moment Amy Beechey saw the envelope with a French postmark she feared the worst. Sent from a military hospital in Rouen, dated December 29, 1917, it brought the news she had been dreading.

Her son, 36-year-old Rifleman Leonard Beechey, wounded and gassed at the battle of Cambrai a month earlier, had died of his wounds. Tetanus set in and the doctors could do nothing to save him.

He would, the chaplain told his mother, be buried in Rouen, far from the Lincolnshire countryside where he and his seven brothers had grown up, together with five sisters (a sixth sister had died aged five).

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