William Henry Beadle was born in Heybridge, served for more than twenty years in the navy before the war, married with two children, rejoined for the war, and died from disease in a Scottish hospital in March 1918. His widow lived at Grove Road after the war.

William was born in Heybridge near Maldon on 23rd April 1868, the son of William Beadle and Sophia Beadle (nee Clark). His father had been born c1833; his mother c1834, both in Heybridge. The couple had married on 22nd June 1857 at St. Andrew’s Church in Heybridge and were living at Heybridge Basin in 1861.

William was baptised in that church on 31st May 1888, at which rime his father was a porter living in Heybridge.

William’s siblings, both Heybridge-born, included Ann Jane Beadle (born c1860), and Elizabeth Beadle (born c1866).

Two year-old William was recorded by the 1871 census living with his father, sister and his grandparent’s at their home in Heybridge. His father was a waterman. By then William’s mother was an inmate at the Essex Lunatic Asylum at South Weald. She was to die their in 1875.

In 1881 the household still remained at Heybridge, with William’s father now employed as a labourer in iron works (presumably at Bentall’s). In the 1891 census 21 year-old William was recorded living with his widowed grandmother at Navigation Place in Heybridge. William was an iron moulder.

Soon after the census, on 13th August 1891, William joined the Royal Navy, initially signing up for 12 years’ service. His career with the navy was to last far longer. At his recruitment William was five feet eight inches tall (later to grow to five feet nine inches tall), had brown hair, grey eyes, and a fresh complexion.

He started as Stoker 2nd Class, and gained promotion as follows: Stoker (1 Nov 1892), Leading Stoker 2nd Class (9 Apr 1896), Leading Stoker 1st Class (2 Apr 1899), Acting Chief Stoker (9 Dec 1902), Chief Stoker (9 Dec 1903)

William's first ten years service with the Royal Navy was as follows:

H.M.S. Pembroke (shore establishment in Chatham, Kent) - 13 Aug 1891 to 15 Aug 1891

H.M.S. Wildfire (shore establishment in Sheerness, Kent) - 15 Aug 1891 to 4 Dec 1891

H.M.S. Pembroke - 5 Dec 1891 to 5 Jan 1892

H.M.S. Tyne (training ship) - 6 Jan 1892 to 15 Jul 1892

H.M.S. Pembroke - 16 Jul 1892 to 21 Feb 1894

H.M.S. Crescent (cruiser) - 22 Feb 1894 to 9 May 1894

H.M.S. Ringarooma (cruiser) - 10 May 1894 - 31 Mar 1897

H.M.S. Pembroke 2 (shore establishment in Eastchurch, Kent) - 1 Apr 1897 to 9 Mar 1899

H.M.S. Jupiter (battleship) - 10 Mar 1899 to 14 Dec 1900

H.M.S. Pembroke 2 - 15 Dec 1900  to 14 Jan 1901

H.M.S. Diana (cruiser) - 15 Jan 1901 to 6 Jun 1903

William married Bocking-born Clara Eliza (surname unknown) around 1899. The couple went on to have three children, including Winifred Clara S. Beadle (born in 1904 in Gillingham, Kent) and William Beadle (born in 1906 in Gillingham). A third would die by 1911. William’s continuing service was as follows:

H.M.S. Pembroke 2 - 7 Jun 1903 to 3rd Dec 1903

H.M.S. Wildfire - 4 Dec 1903 to 16 Dec 1903

H.M.S. Pembroke - 17 Dec 1903 to 30 Mar 1904

H.M.S. Juno (cruiser) - 31 Mar 1904 to 5 Jan 1905

H.M.S. Pembroke - 6 Jan 1905 to 15 Jan 1905

H.M.S. Illustrious (battleship) - 16 Jan 1905 to 14 Sep 1905

H.M.S. Pembroke 2 - 15 Sep 1905 to 20 Jul 1906

H.M.S. Terrible (cruiser) - 21 Jul 1906 to 18 Sep 1906

H.M.S. Astraea (cruiser) - 19 Sep 1906 to 7 Sep 1908

H.M.S. Charybdis (cruiser) 8 Sep 1908 to 22 Oct 1908


Chief Stoker, H.M.S. Pembroke, Royal Navy

H.M.S. Pembroke 2 - 23 Oct 1908 to 13 Dec 1908

H.M.S. Vindictive (cruiser) - 14 Dec 1908 to 18 Oct 1909

H.M.S. Hawke (cruiser) - 19 Oct 1909 to 10 Jan 1910

H.M.S. Tenedos (shore establishment) - 11 Jan 1910 to 12 May 1910

H.M.S. Pembroke 2 - 13 May 1910 to 30 May 1910

H.M.S. Lancaster - 31 May 1910 - 16 Dec 1911

It was while onboard H.M.S. Lancaster that William was recorded by the 1911 census serving at Chief Stoker at Malta. Meanwhile his wife and two surviving children were living at 8 Brentwood Buildings, Pier Road, Gillingham.

William’s service after leaving H.M.S. Lancaster was:

H.M.S. Pembroke 2 - 17 Dec 1911 to 9 Feb 1912

H.M.S. Andromache (cruiser/mine layer) - 10 Feb 1912 to 9 Jul 1913

H.M.S. Pembroke 2 - 15 Jul 1913 to 16 Aug 1913

On 23rd August 1913 William was placed on the Royal Fleet Reserve at Chatham.

On 2nd August 1914, two days before the start of the First World War he rejoined H.M.S. Pembroke 2. He then moved to H.M.S. Calliope on 4th May 1915. Finally, on 1st March 1918 he returned to H.M.S. Pembroke, then an accommodation centre and supply school of the Royal Navy in Chatham.

Within weeks William was dead, succumbing to the kidney disease, acute nephritis, on 8th March 1918 in hospital in Scotland while serving as Chief Stoker 162063 (R.F.R./CH./A./1961) attached to H.M.S. Pembroke.. He was aged 49. He was subsequently buried at Gillingham (Woodlands) Cemetery, Kent (grave: Naval. 28. 1471). For each of his postings William’s conduct was assessed as ‘very good’ except for one occasion when it was ‘good’.

On 15th March 1918 the Essex County Chronicle carried the following family notices:

“Beadle. - On March 8th, 1918, Naval Chief Stoker, W. H. Beadle, age 49, South Queensferry, Scotland.”

“Mrs. Beadle and family wish to return thanks for all kind sympathy shown - 34 Pier Rd,, Gillingham."

The paper included also contained a further report:

“Mrs. Beadle, of 34 Pier Road, Gillingham, has received the sad news that her husband, Chief Stoker W. H. Beadle. died on March 8th, at a naval hospital in Scotland. Choef Stoker Beadle was a well-known Heybridge man; he had served 27 years in the Navy, all practically foreign service. The internment was at Gillingham cemetery yesterday, with full navy honours."

William is commemorated on the Civic Centre Memorial, Chelmsford.

After the war, during 1923, his widow lived at 20 Grove Road, Chelmsford. She also lived for a time at 86 Rainsford Road, Chelmsford and died in 1953, aged 84.