Saturday, November 15, 2014

L7572 Officer's Steward Alfred Beard, HMS Zaria

Alfred Beard appears in Chailey Parish Magazine in January 1916 in a special list of attested men.  He is possibly the same A Beard who is listed separately as an Officer’s Steward with the Royal Navy. 

He was born at Chailey on 23rd February 1893 (although his surviving naval papers state Lewes).  He appears on the 1901 census living at Granthams Cottages in North Chailey.  The household comprised Henry Beard (head, married, aged 43, an agricultural labourer), his wife Mary Ann (aged 42) and six children: Frances Mariah Beard (aged 18, a domestic servant), George Beard (aged 13, a carter boy), Alfred (reportedly aged ten although his actual age was eight), Harriet Beard (aged seven), Rosetta Beard (aged five) and Florence Mabel Beard (aged two). 

On enlistment at Portsmouth on 25th October 1915 Alfred gave his occupation as gardener.  He was five feet, eight and a quarter inches tall, had light brown hair, hazel eyes and a fresh complexion.  A number of moles on his body were noted as distinguishing features. 

Alfred was given the rating of officer’ steward and the service number L7572 and sent to the shore based HMS Victory II where he remained until 6th December that year.  On the 7th December he was transferred to MFA Zaria and remained with this ship until 5th May 1919.  He then returned to Portsmouth where he was demobbed on 18th June. 

Throughout his career in the navy, Alfred’s character was noted as very good and his ability as satisfactory.  He was awarded a good conduct badge on 24th October 1918.

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