Capt Edmund William Beech may have been Birmingham’s first casualty of the war, having been killed in a mobilisation accident on August 11, 1914.

The significance of his death is that it highlights the fact that not all men were killed in the trenches of France.

Although E W Beech was a serving officer in the Royal Engineers when he was killed so tragically – trampled to death by a horse – he has no Commonwealth War Grave because he did not die on active service.

An extract from King Edward’s Old Edwardians’ Magazine, Nov 10, 1914 states: “On August 11th, Capt. E W Beech, of the First North Midland Field Company, Royal Engineers, having been called up for duty, was engaged in the collection of horses and vehicles for service with the army.

“A horse attached to a wagon bolted and in trying to stop it Captain Beech was dragged along the ground and then thrown under the wheels of the wagon, which passed over him.

The grave of Captain Edmund William Beech in Brandwood End Cemetery
The grave of Captain Edmund William Beech in Brandwood End Cemetery
 

“He sustained serious injuries to the head and body and died the same day.

“Capt Beech was an accountant. He was also one of the best judges of dogs in the country, and for some years, from 1901, was secretary of the Birmingham Dog Show.

“He leaves a widow and three children.

“E W Beech lived at the White House, Tanworth in Arden, and is buried in Brandwood End Cemetery, Kings Heath.”