‚ÄčRoyton Roll of Honour

LEGARD BESWICK
Age:19
Rank:Private
Service No:64235
Date of Death:04/11/1918
Regiment:Welsh Regiment
Unit:9th Bn.
Cemetery:
Cross Roads Cemetery
Grave Reference:II. B. 22.


Legard Beswick was born on 28th December 1898 in Royton.He grew up with his parents William and Elizabeth and his half sister Amy Elsworth. There was an older half brother, James Beswick, who was described by William in 1919 as being 'somewhere in Canada, he has not lived with me since 12 months old'.
At the time of the 1911 census the Beswicks were living at 56 Albert Street, they later moved to 7 Church Street..Legard was generally known as Teddy (although the Oldham Chronicle refers to him as Ledger) and worked as a piecer at the Shiloh Mill as well as attending the Haggate Wesleyan Church. Teddy signed up in Royton on September 13th,1916 at the age of 17 and was summoned by the Army in February 1917. He was first assigned to the 63rd Training Battalion. Whilst in training at Great Yarmouth he had a couple of run ins with authority - smoking on parade cost him 5 days confined to barracks and being absent from a tattoo cost him 10 days pay.
Teddy was assigned to the 2nd Battalion Welsh Regiment, reached France on January 18th 1918 and the battalion on  February 6th. On March 11th,1918 a German mustard gas shell exploded in his vicinity and suffering from the effects of the gas he first received treatment in France before ending up in hospital in Bradford on March 26th.He was discharged on May 4th and then had 10 days leave back with his family on Church Street. After saying goodbye to Royton he went to the Welsh Regiment's 3rd Battalion which was a reserve unit based in Redcar as part of the Tees Garrison. Whilst there he went absent for a day in early June, again being confined to barracks and being docked pay. On June 11th he arrived back in France, this time to join the 9th Battalion.
On November 4th with just a week to go until the end of the war and German opposition collapsing the allies launched the Battle of the Sambre. Teddy's battalion was one of the attacking units and he was to be killed that day.

His unit's war diary records that:



"19th Divn. engaged 4 November 1918 at the Battle of the Sambre ( incl. passage of the Sambre Canal and capture of Le Quesnoy).  Zero hour 6am, the battalion advanced and crossed the Petit Aunelle river under very heavy machine-gun fire, but once parties got across the enemy retired.  The 56th Brigade on their right flank was held up at Wargnies le Grand, so the 9th Welsh formed a right flank with two companies while the other two went forward, taking a ridge to their front under shellfire and MG fire from the direction of Bry village, which caused many casualties.  At 4.30pm a further attack was made to capture Bry.  This was a 1,500 yard advance down an open slope under trench-mortar and MG fire.  The village was reached and some fighting took place among the houses, clearing the village by 6.30pm.  It was held overnight, under shellfire.  One company had drifted into the south part of adjacent Eth village"

For that day the CWGC has the following men being killed alongside Teddy, note how many Lancastrians were present in this Welsh unit by the close of the war.Another local,Tom Richardson from Chadderton also fell.

BROOKES JAMES Lance Corporal 58117 from Newton,Lancs 
CLARK HENRY 23 Private 291340 from Denton    
CRIBBEN JOHN Private 80232 from Sale      
DAVIES ISAAC JAMES 22 75242 from Cardiff       
DAVIES ROBERT Private 37918 from Treherbert    
DORAN ARTHUR JOHN Private 19 56410 from Newport   
FOLLETT JOHN Private 25825 from Glamorgan    
GREEN ALBERT Le GENDRE Private 58138 from Pendleton  
GRIBBIN THOMAS HENRY Private 19 58021 from Liverpool 
GRIFFITHS JOHN Serjeant 13126 from Carmarthen   
GRIFFITHS THOMAS 23 Lance Corporal 22729 from Mardy       
JENKINS FRED Private 59801 from Swindon          
LEIGH FRANK 19 Private 56290 from Salford     
MORGAN HARRY Private 28452 from Merthyr     
McCONNELL JAMES 19 Private 61076 from Bury    
OSBORNE SAMUEL 19 Private 58092 from Bangor    
OWEN DAVID REES Private 34758 from Mardy    
POTTER ERNEST Private 58085 from Manchester    
RICHARDSON TOM Private 64699 from Chadderton   
THOMPSON FREDERICK 19 64369 from Preston    
THORNE PHILIP JAMES Corporal 11088 from Cheltenham  
YEO DAVID JOHN MM Private 63131 from Carmarthen