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Person Details
19 Jun 1893
Known as 'Bob'. He was the son of Robert and Lavinia Beck (Ada Lavinia Beck, nee Straw) who were married in Nottingham in 1891. Robert was a coal miner. They had nine children; Maggie, Robert Henry, Harry, George William, Levina, Lily, James, Frederick and Arthur. In 1901 Robert (31) and Lavinia (26) were living at 13 Ronald Street, Old Radford, with their three children Maggie (9), Robert Henry (7) Harry (5, b. 25 September 1895) and George William (2). By 1911 they were living at 19 Duke Street, Radford, with all nine children; Robert, Harry, George, Levina, Lily, James, Frederick and Arthur (3 months). At the time of their son's death, Robert and Lavinia were living at 22 Charter Street, Old Radford, Nottingham. Robert Henry's brother, Harry, also served in the Royal Navy. He was a coal miner and enlisted on 3 July 1913, signing a 12 year engagement on 25 September 1913 when he was 18 years old. His last ship was HMS Columbine but he served in HMS Iron Duke from 10 March 1915 to 26 November 1917 and so was probably on board at the Battle of Jutland on 31 May 1916 when Iron Duke (Captain FC Dreyer) was the flagship of Admiral Sir John Jellicoe. Harry joined the Royal Fleet Reserve (RFR) on 25 September 1925 having completed his 12 year engagement.
In 1911 he was a card puncher (Jaccard).
26 Jan 1919
2753164 - CWGC Website
Stoker 1st Class
Royal Navy
His last ship was the battleship HMS Neptune, in reserve at Rosyth, Scotland. Robert joined the Royal Navy on 15 September 1911 on a 12 year engagement. He was rated Stoker 2nd Class when he joined and advanced to Stoker 1st Class on 15 September the following year. Between 1913 and 1919 he spent a significant number of periods in detention or in cells. He drowned accidentally while serving in HMS Neptune, Rosyth, and was buried in Dunfermline Cemetery, Scotland (grave ref. 2632). Ships and establishments: Victory II 15 September 1911-7 October 1911, Renown 8 October 1911-8 March 1912, Victory II 9 March 1912-10 May 1912, Sappho 7 May 1912-8 August 1912, Victory II 9 August 1912-13 November 1912, Princess Royal 14 November 1912-21 November 1913, Victory II 22 November 1913-20 April 1914 (included 111 days cells and 5 days cells), Black Prince 21 April 1914-7 July 1915 (included 14 days cells and 10 days cells), Victory II 8 July-4 November 1915 (includes 28 days detention, 4 days cells, 7 days cells), Dreadnought 24 November 1915-31 May 1916 (35 days home leave-absence), Victory II 2 July 1916-26 November 1916, Cochrane 27 November 1916-4 November 1917 (includes 14 days cells), Victory II 5 November 1917-18 February 1918 (includes 28 days detention), Neptune 19 February 1918-26 January 1919 (includes 11 days cells and 7 days cells). The list of days' detention and days in cells ends with the note ‘Run’, so it appears that initially it was thought that he had deserted. NP1749/19. 'DD 26th January 1919. Accidental drowning at Rosyth.' NL.21458.19. 'Report of investigation held by the Procurator Fiscal Dumfermline, into the death of this rating. He was last seen alive on board ship on 26 Jany 19 and his body was recovered from the (-) on 2nd June 1919. There are no suspicious circumstances and death was apparently due to asphyxia by drowning.' Note: the notice of his death appeared in the Nottingham paper on 9 May 1919 and according to the notice he was buried in Scotland on 6 May.
His mother's name, Lavinia (also Ada Lavinia), is spelt 'Lavinia' on official records but 'Levina' on the two census returns; her daughter was also 'Levina'. Nottingham Evening Post notice (abridged) 9 May 1919: 'Beck. Accidentally drowned at sea January 26th, Stoker Robert (Bob) Beck, HMS Neptune, son of Mr and Mrs Beck of 22 Charter Street. Interred Dunfermline, Scotland, May 6th 1919. Mother, father, sisters, brothers, Harry at sea.' Research Rachel Farrand
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