This soldier was in the Royal Engineers and although he was buried alongside the Canadian soldiers in Bodelwyddan, he was a British soldier who died in Kinmel Camp. His grave clearly states his regiment and regimental number. (See Photograph below map).
James Beer was born in Newport, Monmouthshire on 30th July 1895.
The 1901 Census on Ancestry.co.uk shows that the Beer family was 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. They were Alice aged 14, William 11 and James 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 was still Head and 57 years of age, his trade was unchanged. His wife Hannah was 51 and there were two children listed at home. Alice Laura was 24 and James was 15. He was a Messenger Boy with Great Western Railways. There was a Visitor at the address, Frederick John Tracey, 41, was a Druggist’s Traveller by trade.
James Beer was employed by Great Western Railways according to a Register of empolyees, 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. He was then 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.
This document of James’ Last Effects proves that he was in the British Army 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.