James Beer was born in Newport, Monmouthshire on 30th July 1895.
The 1901 Census on Ancestry.co.uk shows that the Beer family were living at 9, Station Street, Newport, Monmouthshire. Head of the household was James Beer age 47 born in Wiltshire, England, a Brewers labourer by trade. His wife Hannah was 40 years of age born in Newport as were their children, Alice age 14, William age 11 and James age 5. There were also three Boarders at this address by the names of Joseph Hall age 36 a House Painter born in Liverpool, James Murrey age 33 and Constance Murrey age 28 both Commercial Travellers by trade.
The 1911 Census on Ancestry.co.uk has the family living at 4 Clytha Park Road, Newport, Monmouthshire. James Beer is still Head and 57 years of age, his trade is unchanged. his wife Hannah is 51 and there are two children still living at home, Alice Laura age 24 and James age 15 whose trade is shown as Messenger Boy with Great Western Railways. There is also a Visitor at the address, Frederick John Tracey age 41 born in London a Druggist’s Traveller by trade.
James Beer was employed by Great Western Railways according to this Register, from 20th March 1911 when he was 15 years of age until 30th October 1916 when he entered Army Service. During his employment he worked at Newport Station as a Messenger Boy and Telegraphist until 6th December 1913 when he was transferred to the Alexander Docks Junction as a Mileage Porter until 12th August 1914 when he again worked at Newport Station as a Porter returning to the Alexander Dock Junction as a Shunter on 21st April 1915.
The dilema I have is that I cannot find an Attestation Form for James in the records of the Canadian Library. Nor can I find any evidence that James travelled or lived in Canada and the above image of the G.W.R. Register of employees would suggest that James was conscripted in 1916 into the Royal Engineers, Railway Troops, Depot. His Regimental number is given as WR/ 2000559 but I cannot find a Medal Card or Service Record on Ancestry for the British Army, nor can I find him on Soldiers who died in the Great War.
This document of James’ Last Effects proves that he was in the British Army not The Canadian Army so I cannot explain why he is buried with Canadian Servicemen. Also his Regimental Number is shown on this document as WR/200559.
I cannot establish a cause of death but we know that James died on 18th February 1919 at 23 years of age at Kinmel Park Camp in Rhyl. After scrutinizing the War Diaries for number 9 General Hospital in Kinmel Park it appears that around 17th February to 31st of February 1919 there were a considerable amount of cases admitted to the hospital with Influenza so there is a possibility that James died as a result of contracting Influenza but I cannot at this time prove this to be a fact.
James Beer is buried in St. Margaret’s Cemetery, Bodelwyddan.
James’ brother William John Beer was a Steward on the S.S.Polvarth and must have enlisted into the Mercantile Marine. He lost his life on 20th December 1917 when his ship was torpedoed by a German U Boat, he was 28 years of age.
William John Beer is commemorated on the Tower Hill Monument in Newport.